Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on January 4th, 2021

Use birth control to stabilize your hormones. Get your birth control delivered to your mailbox by signing up for Pandia Health’s FREE delivery services of birth control = #PandiaPeaceOfMind.

Did you know you can use birth control to stabilize your hormones? Get your birth control delivered to your mailbox by signing up for Pandia Health’s FREE delivery services of birth control = #PandiaPeaceOfMind.

Around 264 million people worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder. And women are nearly 5 times as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men. Anxiety can cause many significant problems in daily functioning, and severely impact a person’s quality of life.

A common question we’re asked is, ‘Can taking hormonal birth control cause or alleviate the symptoms of anxiety for women?’ This article will explore what an anxiety disorder is and if birth control has any impact on anxiety.

Can birth control impact anxiety and depression?

Firstly, it’s important to understand how hormonal birth control works to fully appreciate its effects on emotions and moods.

During the menstrual cycle, the hormones progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone are continuously rising and falling. The rise and fall of each of these hormones trigger different biological responses, including ovulation and menstruation.

When a woman starts taking hormonal birth control, hormones are prevented from rising and falling continuously, and in most cases, the hormones should be pretty stable. The body is exposed to a continuous level of hormones to trick the body into thinking it is already pregnant, thus preventing ovulation from occurring. If a woman takes monthly hormonal birth control pills, she will get a withdrawal bleed which mimics a period at the end of each month. Women on regular birth control pills can choose to skip the monthly bleed by skipping the last week of pills of a 4-week pack and going straight into the next pack.

Hormonal birth control can cause some side effects, such as decreased libido, spotting, and nausea. Also, there are mental health side effects that can occur, including mood swings, depression, and increased feelings of nervousness or anxiety. However, most people do not experience changes in mood or any adverse side effects while taking hormonal birth control, though it is a risk.

Both progesterone and estrogen are known to affect mood, and the hormonal birth control pill contains synthetic versions of these hormones. Research has found that women with a history of depression are at increased risk of experiencing mood swings and anxiety when taking hormonal birth control.

Can hormonal birth control alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression?

TL;DR: Yes, hormonal birth control can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Hormones are complicated, and the impact of hormonal birth control will vary significantly from woman to woman. This can also be dependent on what is causing a woman’s anxiety. Notably, many women are anxious about their birth control! Here are some examples:

  • Some women are especially anxious about unwanted pregnancies. Birth control would decrease that type of anxiety.
  • However, some women experience “pill anxiety”, which covers the fear of running out of birth control and the stress of having to run to the pharmacy each month to get their birth control. Pandia Health takes care of this by providing FREE delivery and automatic refills and reminders.
  • Those with uteruses who choose to use the birth control pill, patch, or ring may also be anxious about having to remember to take their medication every day, every week, or every month, respectively.
  • Estrogen increases serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which generally causes positive mood and emotional well-being. However, too much serotonin can cause increased anxiety.

Essentially, hormonal birth control can help decrease many forms of anxiety experienced by women. When choosing which method of birth control is right for you, it’s important to note that hormonal contraceptives regulate your hormone levels and can therefore impact your mood and emotions. Talk to a Pandia Health doctor to find which hormone birth control is right for you to help ease your anxiety! 

Should women who have a history of depression or anxiety steer clear of hormonal birth control?

TL;DR: No. Most women benefit from the stable level of hormone brought on by hormonal birth control compared to the ups and downs that many experience when they are not on hormonal birth control.

When you are not on hormonal birth control, your hormones cycle up and down. When you are on monophasic birth control, then your hormones are maintained. And if you skip the optional bleeding week, they can be even smoother.

However, it should be noted that the research into whether hormonal birth control pills make symptoms worse in women who are prone to anxiety and depression is still not clear.

The 2017 Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that there are no contraindications to hormonal contraception for women with depression, citing a lack of evidence supporting a causal relationship.

One study indicated that women who take combination oral contraceptives or progesterone-only minipills were more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than women who did not take these types of contraceptives. However, this link could be due to other factors. For example, women on birth control are more likely to be in a relationship and at risk of pregnancy, both of which can cause depression and anxiety.

What is an anxiety disorder?

Feeling anxious, or having anxiety, is a typical response to a stressful situation, and it can sometimes be beneficial. Anxiety alerts an individual to danger, potentially compelling them to take action to keep themselves out of harm’s way or remove themselves from an uncomfortable situation. But an anxiety disorder is a different matter entirely.

Someone who feels intense fear or stress about a future concern may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. They are usually characterized by avoidant behaviors and physical symptoms that interfere with a person’s daily functioning. An anxiety disorder can cause someone to avoid normal situations and the symptoms can significantly interfere with a person’s work, school, and personal relationships.

women crying

For a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, their fears must be considered out-of-proportion to the situation, not age-appropriate, and also impair the person’s ability to function normally. There are many different types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia

Anxiety disorders are incredibly common and will affect up to 30% of all U.S. adults at some point in their lives. Though anxiety disorders are common and often debilitating, they are highly treatable. A combination of medication and talking therapy can go a long way to treating most cases of anxiety. Medications commonly used to treat depression, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, are also used to treat anxiety disorders.

However, it’s crucial that anxiety sufferers know and understand what triggers their symptoms and how to cope with stressful situations to prevent their anxiety from getting out of hand.

gif bad vibes

The causes of anxiety are not completely understood, but genetic factors, temperament, and unique biochemical characteristics can increase a person’s risk of experiencing symptoms of anxiety. Mental health conditions like anxiety cannot be cured, but they can be effectively managed, and people can live symptom-free for life.

Emotional Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

The primary emotional side effects cited by those on birth control are anxiety, anger, and depression. However, the limited research conducted on the subject has led to no conclusive evidence linking birth control and emotional changes. In fact, emotional side effects are not one of the common side effects listed for any form of birth control. The reason some women may experience emotional side effects when using birth control is due to the introduction of hormones to the body.

What contraceptives are recommended to women who are prone to anxiety?

TL;DR: Women who have anxiety and depression can use all forms of contraception. Each woman is different and will have a unique response to hormones.

Cooper IUD, implants condoms

No formal connection between the use of non-hormonal methods of birth control such as the copper IUD or condoms and increased risk of depression and anxiety has been made. However, some women who use the copper IUD have anecdotally reported copper toxicity, with symptoms of “brain fog and fatigue”, decreased energy, and increased levels of depression and irritability which have been resolved once the copper IUD has been removed.

IUDs and implants are long-acting, reversible birth control methods that can be removed when a woman wishes to become pregnant. IUDs and implants are also relatively easy to remove in case a woman has an adverse reaction to the hormones present. The copper IUD does not use hormones and is effective for up to 10 years.

Progestin-only

Existing research is mixed on progestin-only methods such as the IUD with hormone, implant, and progestin-only pills.

In 2016, a study of 1 million Dutch women suggested that women on hormonal birth control (the pill, patch, ring, IUD with hormone, implant) had a 2.2% chance of being prescribed antidepressants vs 1.7% of those not on hormonal birth control — an increased chance of 0.5%. One notable flaw in the study was that it didn’t take into account that you can have depression and not be prescribed medications, or. refuse medications in favor of talking therapy. Perhaps, those not using hormonal birth control generally take an anti-medication stance and also refused anti-depressant prescriptions.

A 2018 review of 26 studies concluded there was no increase in depression with progestin-only contraceptives.

For women with a history of anxiety, there are many different birth control options available to try. It’s common for women to try several different types of birth control before settling on an option that fits with both their lifestyle and specific biochemistry. For the birth control pill alone, there are 8 different types of progestins with at least 2 different levels available. It’s always important to talk to your provider about any history of depression or anxiety before trying a new hormonal contraceptive method.

What can you do about your anxiety?

Whether you think your current birth control is contributing to your anxiety, or you want to explore how to use birth control to stabilize your hormones, Pandia Health is here to help.

If you are experiencing anxiety, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible to discuss what your options are, and what may be causing your anxiety. Before prescribing talking therapy or medications, your doctor may suggest changing your birth control.

If your doctor is not a birth control expert, Pandia Health is here to help. Our expert birth control doctors are available to prescribe the best birth control for you – and it’s so easy to get started.

At Pandia Health, we take pride in prescribing birth control based on several factors, including age, ethnicity, BMI, and general health — including mental health.

All these factors can influence your body’s reaction to birth control, which your doctor will consider when reviewing the best options for you. With just one $20 payment a year, you can get access to our expert doctors (available in these states) for 364 days.

If you suspect your current prescription could be causing you anxiety, get in touch to change your birth control today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can going off birth control cause depression and anxiety?

As birth control introduces hormones into the body, it may affect levels of depression and anxiety in some users. However, there is no specific evidence available that proves birth control causes either an increase or decrease in symptoms of these conditions.

Does birth control help anxiety?

These hormones introduced to the body by birth control can play a role in a person’s overall mood and mental state. However, there is no data that proves that birth control has either a positive or a negative effect on anxiety. It is always important to remember that different people will experience different effects.

Can birth control make you emotional or cry?

Birth control introduces hormones to the body which directly impact a person’s mood. While there is no way to know how your individual mood will be affected by birth control, it generally stabilizes fluctuations in hormones and makes a person less emotional.

Is my birth control making me depressed?

Birth control introduces hormones into the body which may affect the levels of depression and anxiety experienced by some users. However, there is no specific evidence available that proves birth control causes either an increase or decrease in symptoms of these conditions.

Can birth control cause insomnia?

There is no evidence that birth control causes insomnia. Some types of birth control that contain only isolated progestagen may improve a person’s quality of sleep, as progestagen is a sleep-inducing hormone.

Can progesterone cause anxiety?

Yes, progesterone can cause anxiety by increasing the activity of the amygdala. Progesterone is a naturally produced hormone shortly after ovulation and is also a main ingredient in most forms of birth control.

Do antidepressants such as Lexapro affect birth control?

No, antidepressants such as Lexapro do not affect birth control. However, if you are taking any other medication, it is critical you talk to your doctor before starting birth control to avoid any negative reactions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

 

For a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, their fears must be considered out-of-proportion to the situation, not age-appropriate, and also impair the person’s ability to function normally. There are many different types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia

Anxiety disorders are incredibly common and will affect up to 30% of all U.S. adults at some point in their lives. Though anxiety disorders are common and often debilitating, they are highly treatable. A combination of medication and talking therapy can go a long way to treating most cases of anxiety. Medications commonly used to treat depression, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, are also used to treat anxiety disorders.

However, it’s crucial that anxiety sufferers know and understand what triggers their symptoms and how to cope with stressful situations to prevent their anxiety from getting out of hand.

gif bad vibes

The causes of anxiety are not completely understood, but genetic factors, temperament, and unique biochemical characteristics can increase a person’s risk of experiencing symptoms of anxiety. Mental health conditions like anxiety cannot be cured, but they can be effectively managed, and people can live symptom-free for life.

Emotional Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

The primary emotional side effects cited by those on birth control are anxiety, anger, and depression. However, the limited research conducted on the subject has led to no conclusive evidence linking birth control and emotional changes. In fact, emotional side effects are not one of the common side effects listed for any form of birth control. The reason some women may experience emotional side effects when using birth control is due to the introduction of hormones to the body.

What contraceptives are recommended to women who are prone to anxiety?

TL;DR: Women who have anxiety and depression can use all forms of contraception. Each woman is different and will have a unique response to hormones.

Cooper IUD, implants condoms

No formal connection between the use of non-hormonal methods of birth control such as the copper IUD or condoms and increased risk of depression and anxiety has been made. However, some women who use the copper IUD have anecdotally reported copper toxicity, with symptoms of “brain fog and fatigue”, decreased energy, and increased levels of depression and irritability which have been resolved once the copper IUD has been removed.

IUDs and implants are long-acting, reversible birth control methods that can be removed when a woman wishes to become pregnant. IUDs and implants are also relatively easy to remove in case a woman has an adverse reaction to the hormones present. The copper IUD does not use hormones and is effective for up to 10 years.

Progestin-only

Existing research is mixed on progestin-only methods such as the IUD with hormone, implant, and progestin-only pills.

In 2016, a study of 1 million Dutch women suggested that women on hormonal birth control (the pill, patch, ring, IUD with hormone, implant) had a 2.2% chance of being prescribed antidepressants vs 1.7% of those not on hormonal birth control — an increased chance of 0.5%. One notable flaw in the study was that it didn’t take into account that you can have depression and not be prescribed medications, or. refuse medications in favor of talking therapy. Perhaps, those not using hormonal birth control generally take an anti-medication stance and also refused anti-depressant prescriptions.

A 2018 review of 26 studies concluded there was no increase in depression with progestin-only contraceptives.

For women with a history of anxiety, there are many different birth control options available to try. It’s common for women to try several different types of birth control before settling on an option that fits with both their lifestyle and specific biochemistry. For the birth control pill alone, there are 8 different types of progestins with at least 2 different levels available. It’s always important to talk to your provider about any history of depression or anxiety before trying a new hormonal contraceptive method.

What can you do about your anxiety?

Whether you think your current birth control is contributing to your anxiety, or you want to explore how to use birth control to stabilize your hormones, Pandia Health is here to help.

If you are experiencing anxiety, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible to discuss what your options are, and what may be causing your anxiety. Before prescribing talking therapy or medications, your doctor may suggest changing your birth control.

If your doctor is not a birth control expert, Pandia Health is here to help. Our expert birth control doctors are available to prescribe the best birth control for you – and it’s so easy to get started.

At Pandia Health, we take pride in prescribing birth control based on several factors, including age, ethnicity, BMI, and general health — including mental health.

All these factors can influence your body’s reaction to birth control, which your doctor will consider when reviewing the best options for you. With just one $20 payment a year, you can get access to our expert doctors (available in these states) for 364 days.

If you suspect your current prescription could be causing you anxiety, get in touch to change your birth control today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can going off birth control cause depression and anxiety?

As birth control introduces hormones into the body, it may affect levels of depression and anxiety in some users. However, there is no specific evidence available that proves birth control causes either an increase or decrease in symptoms of these conditions.

Does birth control help anxiety?

These hormones introduced to the body by birth control can play a role in a person’s overall mood and mental state. However, there is no data that proves that birth control has either a positive or a negative effect on anxiety. It is always important to remember that different people will experience different effects.

Can birth control make you emotional or cry?

Birth control introduces hormones to the body which directly impact a person’s mood. While there is no way to know how your individual mood will be affected by birth control, it generally stabilizes fluctuations in hormones and makes a person less emotional.

Is my birth control making me depressed?

Birth control introduces hormones into the body which may affect the levels of depression and anxiety experienced by some users. However, there is no specific evidence available that proves birth control causes either an increase or decrease in symptoms of these conditions.

Can birth control cause insomnia?

There is no evidence that birth control causes insomnia. Some types of birth control that contain only isolated progestagen may improve a person’s quality of sleep, as progestagen is a sleep-inducing hormone.

Can progesterone cause anxiety?

Yes, progesterone can cause anxiety by increasing the activity of the amygdala. Progesterone is a naturally produced hormone shortly after ovulation and is also a main ingredient in most forms of birth control.

Do antidepressants such as Lexapro affect birth control?

No, antidepressants such as Lexapro do not affect birth control. However, if you are taking any other medication, it is critical you talk to your doctor before starting birth control to avoid any negative reactions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.