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Is Anxiety a Side Effect of Birth Control?

Hormonal birth control methods can cause mental health side effects that include anxiety, nervousness, and depression. Though rare, these feelings may be the result of the contraceptives you’re using.

How Does Hormonal Birth Control Work?

Hormonal birth control methods such as the pill give your body a steady dose of hormones such as estrogen or progesterone. These trick your body into thinking that it’s pregnant so it will stop ovulating. The period that you get on birth control pills is actually breakthrough bleeding, not an actual period. Besides these physical changes, this flood of hormones may cause a variety of mental health side effects that can include anxiety.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Anxiety?

Your body’s hormone levels can affect your mental state, so when these levels change, so can your feelings. It’s uncommon, but some women may experience a change in their emotional state while on the pill.

One study indicated that the part of the brain that regulates emotions is thinner in women using birth control pills. The part of the brain responsible for evaluating one’s state of mind was thinner in this study as well. Though the evidence is not yet conclusive, this could explain some of the emotional changes women can experience when using the birth control pill.

What Is the Best Pill for Women With Anxiety?

If you’re prone to anxiety and depression, certain types of birth control may make this problem worse. Combination oral contraceptives and progesterone-only minipills are associated with depression and anxiety more than other options. If you’re concerned about anxiety as a side effect of birth control, speak with your Nurx™ healthcare provider to find the birth control pill that’s best suited to your needs.

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