Pros & Cons: Can Birth Control Cause Depression?

image001The contraceptive pill may be very effective at contraception, but does this come at a certain cost to our health and general wellbeing? Many women wonder why they become hyper-sensitive while on the pill and they usually do not know the adverse side effects of this drug such as anxiety and depression. Very useful information will be provided in this article which will throw more light on the use of this pill and help women make better choices as regards their health.

Pros of Birth Control Pills Cause Depression

1. Studies with Positive Results

Studies have indicated that one in four women between the ages of 18-49 take contraceptive pills, and one in four such women develop depression. Reports in a pilot study conducted by the Alfred hospital have also shown that women who are on the pill show significantly higher levels of depression than those who are not.

Contraceptive pills are known to disrupt estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, replacing them with synthetic versions. They also increase the body’s need for protein drastically and cause deficiencies in vitamins such as vitamin B and C. Protein in the body breaks down into amino acids, which have important functions such as mood regulation and ability to cope in stressful situations, especially Tryptophan and Phenylalanine.

Tryptophan is the known precursor of the hormone Serotonin which helps regulate mood, sleep and anxiety. While Phenylalanine is the precursor of Noradrenaline and Adrenaline which are released to help the body cope in stressful periods. Since vitamins B and C are needed to help convert proteins to amino acids, a combination of protein and vitamins B and C deficiency may create or increase a state of depression.

2. Signs and Symptoms to Watch out For

Not everyone shows the same symptoms, but most women do not know that the symptoms they are having could be as a result of taking the pill. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Breasts become sore or more sensitive
  • Easy bruising and bleeding gums (Lack of vitamin C)
  • Headaches, weight gain and breakthrough bleeding (spotting)
  • Lack of appetite, altered taste and delayed wound healing (lack of Zinc)
  • Muscle cramps and spasms (lack of Magnesium)

3. Other Alternatives

For contraceptive reasons, the condom is a better alternative and it also helps in preventing the spread of STDS when used properly unless for people with latex allergies. Another way is for a woman to pay proper attention to the changes in her body, knowing when she ovulates and abstaining from sex 3 days before and 3 days after ovulation period. The problem with this method is that it is usually not done properly, so proper assistance should be sought from your local physician on the best methods for you. Using birth control shots or implants will give you the same results as using the pill; hence, it is not a viable option.

4. Our Suggestion

With the information given, it is left for you to make the right decision for yourself. If you decide to terminate your use of the pill, it is advised to wait till the end of your 28 day cycle of usage. But if you decide to continue using the pill, have supplement with proper vitamins and increase your protein intake. See your nutritionist for best advice on food supplements to take.

Want to know a personal experience of someone who had depression and anxiety linked to birth control pills? Check out the video below:

Cons of Birth Control Pills Cause Depression

1. Studies with Negative Results

There are conflicting reports on whether birth control pills have a direct effect on mood swings and depression. Larger studies have not directly linked depression or mood swings with birth control pills while some studies which only considered short-term effects report that these pills have negative effects on mood. It is assumed that many birth control users are already less likely to suffer from depression and/or desist from taking the pill if they feel any side effects. Some studies also link the pill to reduced depression, but taking it does not mean it is the reason for your happy mood.

Some women may feel that taking the pill makes them go insane. There have been reports linking the pill with minor irritations or mood swings, but nothing as serious as full blown depression or insanity. The side effects most people experience usually subside when they get used to the pill.

Many women feel depressed due to daily stress of life and the fact that they may be on contraceptives at such a time is just a mere coincidence. Furthermore, studies show that women as opposed to men are more likely to feel depressed at one point in their lives and this is not necessary because of taking the pill. Though more research needs to be conducted, scientific evidence available leans to the point that birth control pills are not directly linked to depression.

2. No Absolute Truth

  • Be flexible with birth control pills. A simple fact is that birth control pills affect certain individuals differently, although not necessarily causing depression. If you find that you are feeling depressed or more anxious than usual while on the pill, you can stop it for a while and observe your body. If your mood improves after stopping the pill, you may conclude that the pill caused your mood change.
  • Share with others. For a fact, birth control pills have not been proven to cause depression and studies only show simple correlations which are conflicting at best. How the pill affects you in particular is the most important thing and it is very helpful to share your experience with others as most people prefer first-hand knowledge. Questions such as “Did you observe mood changes while on the pill? How were you affected by it? Did your mood change significantly when your switched birth control pills or stopped it totally?” if are answered in the comments section will help others cope.
  • Trust yourself. Everyone reacts to birth control pills in different ways and you are the only one that knows how your body reacts to certain conditions. If you feel the pill elicits negative reactions from your body such as depression and mood swings, seek proper advice from your doctor.

This video shows a woman who is back to taking her birth control pills which makes her feel better.

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