Mood

We all know someone who swears that birth control completely wrecked their mood. Whether it was making them feel anxious, depressed or like a crazy, jealous mad woman, there’s no denying there’s a link between birth control and mood swings or mood changes.

Those include headache, nausea, breast tenderness, or spotting between periods. Even though the side effects are mild, “some women are so annoyed by it that theyll discontinue using that method,” says Dr. Foster-Rosales. (She adds, however, that women who get migraines with an aura—meaning that they see spots or lights—should not use combined progestin-estrogen hormonal methods.)

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Other side effects are more than annoying. Depression or mood swings are widely reported, and some say the Pill lowers their sex drive. “For some women, the Pill does affect libido,” says Hilda Hutcherson, MD, an ob-gyn professor at Columbia University.

The other two studies actually found positive mood effects associated with hormonal birth control. A 2011 population-based study in Finland looked at psychological effects while using birth control pills or the IUD.

They found that any mental health effects were modest and mostly positive. And the most recent one was a 2013 population-based study in the U.S., which found that birth control users had lower levels of depressive symptoms on average compared to other women, and they were less likely to report a suicide attempt in the last year. They concluded that hormonal birth control may reduce depressive symptoms.

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