Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on January 4th, 2021
What’s the best birth control for mood stability?
Before starting any new birth control, it’s necessary to consult a doctor in order to determine which type is best for you. In terms of regulating your mood, the IUD and the mini pill are great options, as they contain a low level of hormones.
Taking a continuous pill that allows you to skip your period may also help reduce mood swings by preventing the hormone fluctuation that comes with a period.
Birth control can cause mood swings or depression. However the likelihood is low. It’s more likely if you have a history of depression. If you notice this effect, please talk to your doctor. For some birth control users, their mood is improved by having stable hormones on the birth control pill.
How can birth control relieve PMDD symptoms?
When a woman is not taking the pill, her body naturally produces estrogen, the female hormone, within the first half of the menstrual cycle. During this time, the uterus creates a lining for a fertilized egg to implant and form the placenta, which protects the fetus during pregnancy. When estrogen hits peak levels, one of the ovaries releases an egg, causing the body to produce progesterone hormones. This prevents the body from releasing more eggs.
If the egg is not fertilized, progesterone and estrogen levels fall. Once this decrease occurs, the uterus sheds its lining, resulting in a period. Some women are more sensitive to these changes in hormones and will experience PMS and/or PMDD symptoms.
Thankfully, oral contraceptives can help decrease the severity of symptoms. Birth control pills help to regulate hormones so that women are not subjected to sudden fluctuations that impact their quality of life.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals secreted by the endocrine glands that function as the messengers of the body. They help to maintain homeostasis, or balance, by regulating the physical and physiological changes that occur in the body.
How do hormones impact mood?
There is often a negative stigma associated with the way women’s moods change around their period. What people are often unknowingly referring to when making jokes is premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This is a condition that many women deal with in the week leading up to their period. PMS is no joke; the symptoms can be quite unpleasant and may include:
- Feelings of anxiety or depression
- Anger or irritability
- Appetite changes
- Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep)
- Poor concentration
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
Some women may experience symptoms that are so intense that their daily lives are disrupted. This could be due to premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Unlike PMS, PMDD is a debilitating condition that can severely impact a woman’s mood and even increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.
The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS but are typically more intense. If you regularly notice any of the following symptoms in addition to PMS symptoms in the two weeks leading up to your period, consult a doctor:
- Poor self-image
- Crying spells
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pelvic heaviness
- Skin inflammation
- Muscle spasms
- Decreased coordination
Symptoms usually start in a woman’s twenties and may worsen during perimenopause, the transition into menopause.
What causes PMDD?
While the exact cause of PMDD is unknown, it may be linked to a deficiency in serotonin (AKA, the feel-good hormone) during the menstrual cycle. This naturally-occurring neurotransmitter regulates feelings of mood and well-being. A lack of serotonin can also be seen in people who experience depression.
Who is at risk of experiencing PMDD?
Any individual who has a uterus and is of child-bearing age may experience PMDD. However, those who have a history of severe PMS symptoms and/or a family history of depression may be at higher risk of developing the condition.
What is the difference between PMS and PMDD?
For most women, PMS symptoms are mild and don’t interrupt their day-to-day lives. On the other hand, PMDD is accompanied by symptoms that are intense enough to create disruptions to one’s daily life.
A doctor will need to establish a pattern of symptoms to determine if PMDD is present. Other physical or psychiatric symptoms that can mimic its symptoms will also need to be ruled out.
Can PMDD be cured?
Unfortunately, there is no simple treatment for PMDD. However, there are many approaches that can be taken to help alleviate symptoms, including:
- Getting regular exercise (the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes per week)
- Managing stress (try mindfulness meditation, journaling, or listening to music)
- Eating a nutritious and varied diet (eating from all food groups)
- Speaking with a therapist (check out Better Help for online counseling)
- Taking medication (antidepressants, hormonal birth control, etc.)
How does the pill change hormone cycles?
The pill works by releasing steady doses of estrogen with no peak levels, so the ovaries don’t receive a signal to release an egg. The pill also delivers a regular dose of progesterone to prevent the growth of the uterine lining. This means that not only is an egg not released, but the uterus becomes inhospitable to implantation.
Some pill packs include placebo pills that are taken during the final week of a cycle to induce a bleed. This is referred to as withdrawal bleeding because it is the body’s reaction to a loss of hormones. When the placebo pills are not taken, and pill packets are taken back to back, hormone levels remain steady which can help prevent mood swings.
Does birth control make you moody?
Women with a history of depression may have a higher chance of experiencing mood swings when taking an oral contraceptive. For this reason, it’s crucial that women let their doctors know if they have a history of depression before trying the pill or switching contraception.
How can I balance my hormones while on birth control?
The best way to ensure that your birth control pill will help regulate your hormones is to take it around the same time every day. Not only will this make it more effective, but it will also help you get into a routine of taking it every day. Forgetting to take the pill regularly put you at risk of unplanned pregnancy and stops you from gaining any health benefits.
How Pandia Health can help!
Pandia Health is here to help you find a birth control method that’s safe and effective for you. The right type of birth control for you will depend on your health history, your lifestyle, and your hormone levels. Sign up to Pandia Health today to get access to our knowledgeable, helpful doctors and FREE delivery of your birth control directly to your mailbox.
With just one $25 payment a year, you can get access to our expert doctors for 364 days (available if you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, NV, TX, WA, or WY). That means unlimited questions and advice, which is especially important if you want to try a new type of birth control to help stabilize your moods. Get started to begin your birth control journey today!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for hormones to balance after starting birth control?
Your hormones should be more balanced after two to three months of taking the pill.
Does birth control make you emotional?
In most cases, low-dose combination birth control pills will not cause mood swings. In fact, many women report feeling less anxious and depressed once they begin taking the pill. However, if you do feel more emotional after starting birth control, contact your doctor.
What does birth control do to your hormones?
Birth control can help to regulate your mood by releasing a steady dose of hormones. This regulates the hormones which would otherwise fluctuate in response to menstruation.
What hormones are in birth control pills?
The combination pill contains estrogen and progesterone, which help regulate a woman’s reproductive health when they are in balance. The mini-pill only contains progesterone.
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.