Hormonal birth control is the bomb. It can clear up acne, regulate your cycle, and prevent pregnancy. Magic. But some folks swear it messes with their mood. Here’s the 101 on BC’s link to anxiety and depression.

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Illustration by Brittany England

The answer is yes and yes. Hormonal BC switches up your natural hormonal rhythm. For some folks that’s a good thing. For others it’s bad. It really depends on the individual person.

It can improve your mood

Some peeps get great mood relief from the pill. In fact, birth control is sometimes prescribed to help with period-related depression and anxiety. It might also help with PMS anxiety.

But it can also cause problems

Other folks don’t have a great emotional reaction to the pill. For them, BC can cause more problems than it solves. Some studies show that hormonal birth control can make anxiety or depression symptoms worse. But again, everyone’s different.

And there are some risks

You might be more prone to depression and anxiety if it runs in your fam or if you’ve had traumatic life experiences.

Age may also be a factor. Adolescents seem to be more prone to mood probs than adults.

Can the pill cause depression?

Prob not. Research suggests around 2.2 out of 100 women on hormonal BC will develop depression. Meanwhile, 1.7 out of 100 women who didn’t take the pill also developed depression.

So the chance of hormonal BC being the sole cause of depression is super low.

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Most hormonal birth control and mood research focuses on anxiety and depression. But those aren’t the only two emotions that the pill can impact.

A 2018 study found that taking birth control pills helped folks feel more emotionally stable. This led to other benefits like greater relationship satisfaction.

The pill can also affect your sex drive. A 2019 review found that hormonal BC made a lot of peeps aroused AF. But other folk’s horny levels took a hit. So it’s hard to say exactly what the pill is gonna do to your sex drive.

You BC dosage might affect your mood. This might be extra true if you miss a dose or take it at different times. You should totes try to take the pill at the same time each day.

Stopping the pill can trigger a bunch of different symptoms. You might feel like you did before you started the pill. Patience is key here. It takes time for your body to reset itself.

Pro tip: You should finish your last pill pack before you quit cold turkey. If you stop in the middle it can mess with your cycle. Irregular periods are hella annoying and can make you crankier than normal. 😠

There are lots of things to consider when choosing the best birth control method for you. A major factor is what kind of hormones you want to take.

Any birth control method that contains hormones — including pills, patches, shots, implants, rings, and hormonal IUDs — can have a possible impact on your mood. If you know this isn’t your vibe you may want to stick to non-hormonal methods.

Remember: Just because BC can make you anxious or depressed doesn’t mean it will.

Nonhormonal birth control options

Copper IUDs are super effective (they have a 99 percent success rate!). The main downside is that you might have heavier bleeding and cramping during your periods. This usually improves within the first year after insertion.

You can also stick with condoms, barrier methods, natural family planning, or a combo.

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You might be more prone to BC-related anxiety or depression if you have a history of mood disorders. Some research suggests that the pill might make your symptoms worse. That said, an emotional nosedive isn’t 💯 gonna happen. Again, everyone reacts to the pill in their own way.

It might take some trial and error to figure out which BC is best for you. But don’t worry! Your doctor can help. They can help you balance the pros and cons of different brands until you find the perfect fit.

PSA: Def let your doc know if you have a history of anxiety or depression before you start a new hormonal birth control.

Pay attention to how you feel — both emotionally and physically when you start a new BC. You know yourself best!

Symptoms may resolve after your body gets used it. Talk to your doctor if things don’t improve after a few months. They might suggest another BC method.