Is anxiety a side effect of birth control?

As someone who is familiar with anxiety, I was curious to know if birth control could be causing some anxious side effects in its users. After browsing through various forums and health websites, it seems that there are mixed opinions on this issue. Some women claim that their anxiety worsened after beginning a new form of birth control while others state that they did not experience any changes in their mental health. So what’s the deal? Let’s dive in deeper to explore whether or not anxiety is indeed a side effect of birth control.

A Brief Overview

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s take a step back and understand what exactly birth control does. Essentially, it prevents pregnancy by altering hormones in your body (specifically estrogen and progesterone). Hormones affect so many aspects of our wellbeing – from our moods to our appetite – so it makes sense that changing these can potentially lead to changes in mental health.

The Debate: Does Birth Control cause Anxiety?

As previously mentioned, there have been conflicting reports about whether or not birth control causes anxiety. While some women may notice more intense feelings of stress or nervousness after starting hormonal contraception (which one specifically?), some experts argue that there isn’t enough evidence supporting this correlation across all types of hormonal contraceptives.

Types Of Birth Control

There are several different types of hormonal contraceptives available today each with varying hormone levels:

Combination Pills:

One type combines both estrogen and progesterone which either prevents ovulation altogether (progesterone only) or slows down egg release while thickening cervical mucus secretion (combination pill).

Progesterone Only Contraceptive Methods:

The other opts for just progesterone preventing fertilization by keeping cervix closed throughout menstrual cycle . These methods include injections(such as Depo-Provera) as well as intrauterine devices or IUDs.


There is also a subdermal implant called Nexplanon that emits progestin hormones over three years inhibiting ovulation, thickening cervical mucus secretions and changing the lining of uterus rendering it unsuitable for an embryo’s attachment thereby preventing fertilization.

Impact on Mental Health

Some experts believe that hormonal contraceptives might indirectly impact one’s emotional stability by exacerbating underlying anxiety disorders rather than them being root cause. Women with a predisposition to developing anxiety may experience symptoms intensifying on birth control. Moreover, in some cases Birth control (specifically combination pills ) can decrease testosterone levels potentially leading to decreased libido (1).

The Importance of Timing

It’s important to note that when starting a new form of birth control ,it commonly takes at least several months(3)for one’s body adjust entirely to the new routine . This means that any initial increase in anxiousness could potentially fade over time as your system regulates itself .

Potential Solutions

If you think your hormonal contraceptive method may be causing your increased anxiety then consider switching methods and consulting with your health care provider. For instance, it has been noted that progesterone only options have less psychological adverse effects compared to combined use containing estrogen due its lack of effect on cortisol hormone (2). Additionally mindfulness practice regularly coupled with counseling sessions known as cognitive behavioral therapy are proven solutions greatly reducing episodes associated with premenstrual syndrome(PMS)(4). These alternatives can effectively allow women not feel deprived while still attaining pregnancy prevention benefits.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion: Is Anxiety a Side Effect of Birth Control?.. It depends! Hormones obviously impact everyone differently so there isn’t just one best fit solution for anybody seeking contraception. Women should bear in mind their physical past medical history and potential predispositions before making this life-changing decision irrespective of social pressures. It is best to regularly communicate with a healthcare provider regarding what pills or methods work best for one’s body and circumstances ultimately helping find that perfect balance between taking control of pregnancy prevention whilst staying calm, cool, and collected.

So go on ladies…don’t sweat the small stuff. Just keep calm & contraceptive on!


1- Birth Control Pills: Can They Affect Sex Drive?(source Healthline gasp)
2-Alanora Brobby Pinamang , Charles Antwi-Boasiako ,Eric Gyamerah Ofori et al., “ Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptive Use among Ghanaian Women: A Cross-Sectional Study,” Obstetrics and Gynecology International, vol 2019.
3-The majority percent of women describe at least some side effects when they begin using hormonal contraceptives(source American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
4-Huanle Yang et al., “Mindfulness-based interventions for premenstrual syndrome (PMS): a systematic review and meta-analysis,” BMC Complementary Medicine & Therapies vol 21(13)

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