Is it normal to experience depression while taking birth control?

Have any moms experienced depression while taking birth control or know of someone who has?

40  Answers

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Yes, I stopped taking birth control after a few months after I was married because I just wasn't the same afterward, changed my personality too.

Also, EVERY mom that has given birth should have their hormones checked. I wish someone had told me this after the birth of my son, he is now 8YO. 1 1/2 years ago, I did a ZYTO.com scan from a Homepathic Dr. it ONLY cost me $50 (suggested I take this BioActive Homeopathic Drainage afterwards) and it was revealed that my Hormones were WAY OFF, and once my Hormones went put back to normal ranges, within a day, my depression went away, my sugars dropped from 280 to 140 levels and I lost 4 lbs immediately that month(I wasn't even on a diet!). I feel better today than I ever had. I hope this helps!

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Read the following account of what happened when a pharmacist substituted a generic birth control pill instead of the one prescribed. http://nanahood.com/when-the-one-percent-is-someone-you-love

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YES! I went on the mini pill 8 weeks after I had my first child. 2 weeks later, I realized I started to feel depressed. I mainly just felt detached from my emotions. I would look at my daughter and know in my head I loved her, but not feel it anymore. I was worried I would harm her. All of this came on AFTER I started using the pill. I went to the doctor and mentioned it to her. I told her I thought it was because of the pill as depression is on the list of side effects. She completely disregarded my thoughts and told me I had postpartum depression. She prescribed Zoloft to me. I was concerned about taking it because I was breast feeding, but felt I didn't have a choice. It helped me feel better. 9 months after having the baby, I decided to wean myself off the Zoloft. I started feeling the depression symptoms return, so I decided to stop taking the pill. After I stopped taking the pill, I felt fine! I was so frustrated that the doctor didn't listen to me because I was RIGHT! Later I talked with other women who's emotions would get completely out of wack by taking the pill. I just hope to let other people know so they won't blindly listen to their doctors like I did if they have a similar situation.

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Sandy, I hope you don't return to that doc...I've learned that if they dismiss you once, it will continue!! Post partum depression is a real issue, but often docs chalk the hormone imbalance to 'just part partum depression'. I had a friend who was experiencing bizarre symptoms after her 3rd child, and several doctors told her she had post partum depression (didn't with first two). After some serious pushing and fit throwing, they learned my friend had a severe neurological reaction to Reglan...

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I understand all the previous responses, and I respect everyone who has had these experiences, but I need to point out that there are those of us whose lives were a living nightmare every day UNTIL going on the pill. I didn't go on the pill for birth control, I used the diaphragm quite successfully and happily for years and years. I went on the pill to get some normalcy for my periods and hormones after trying natural therapies with a holistic doctor for many years. Luckily my holistic doctor was also a medical MD who used both modalities and encouraged me to go on the pill after all else had failed. I am here to say for ME personally, given my health issues, the pill has been nothing short of an absolute miracle. For me depression et all went AWAY. In fact trying to go off the pill to conceive a third child was such a depression nightmare that I chose not to have a third child and went back on the pill for quality of life reasons. I resisted going on the pill for a long long time because of all the known negative press, but I think that women, doctors, holistic practitioners etc. need to recognize: the pill isn't evil, it has uses that saves quality of life, it just isn't for everyone, and perhaps it shouldn't even be primarily for birth control. For me, birth control is merely and only a wonderful side benefit of something that returned my quality of life years ago, and continues to do so today.

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I think that's what the comment up higher is important about checking your hormone levels... we are all different. So glad for you that life is better! :)

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It depends on you, the type of birth control you take, and the reason that you are taking it. Some birth controls have higher estrogen and progesterone levels than others and they can really mess with your natural hormones. This can cause depression and manic behavior in some cases. I have been placed on many different kinds of birth control and finding the one that works the best for you is extremely hard to do. If you are taking it for medical necessity then stick with it. Report anything that you feel is unnatural to your doctor. If you have a good doctor they will even give you samples of the birth control to get you started out on it to see if it is right for you.

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I am a midwife with over 12 years of experience serving the women of my community. Although I haven't actually counted it up, I estimate that 80-90% of my patients who have been on hormonal contraceptives report depression as a significant side effect. Yep, folks 80-90%.

My patients are having better luck with IUDs, diaphragms and natural family planning.

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Natural family planning is the way to go!!!!!! Why put drugs/hormones in your body? There is a link to breast cancer! Ever wonder why so many people have breast cancer now? Contraceptives have so many bad side effects, and killing a relationship is one of them. Natural family planning requires both partners to participate and make decisions, drawing the couple closer.

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I was on birth control for my whole adult life until I decided to try and have a child. I didn't realize how lousy I felt until after I stopped taking the pill. What a difference in my personality and just all round feeling. I felt happier, more content, not so irritable. I have had two children now and have not gone back on the pill. I will never take it again!

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After my twin boys were born, the hospital gave me the shot in the buttocks which caused me to be overly sensitive and angry all the time. Since I had tried every pill (all of which caused massive cysts on my ovaries, my doctor suggested an IUD...Mirena. I had it in for two years and felt angry, moody, depressed, anxious, and very low tolerance for everything. It wasn't supposed to have those side effects, but it did. I finally had it removed when it caused an infection in my liver. For me, condoms are the only birth control my husband and I use. We have actually been trying for another baby, with no prevail, for about a year now. Amd I am considering getting tested for fear that the Minera messed up my uterus. My advice, get off the pill and use a condom. The pills, ect., are just not worth what I am going through.

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I take birth control pills and notice depression too, but take it to regulate my hormones and periods...what should you take if not those?

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I haven't ever had depression because of the pill. Although recently, I did have about a two-year period where I was definitely depressed. When I talked to my obgyn about it, she did blood work to check Vitamin D levels. It turns out that I was severely deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can cause depression as well as other things. If you are investigating depression, make sure to have your Vitamin D levels checked. My doctor reported more and more cases of the deficiency since we are not out in the 10-2pm sun or, if we are, we have high spf sunscreens on which impedes the process of Vitamin D absorption.

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Hi Melissa....Did the Dr. put you on 50,000 mg of vitamin D you had to take Once a week for 12 Wks? Or what did you do to actually get your levels up? I found out that my vitamin D levels are low also.

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So after reading eveyone's comments I was shocked at some of the reactions to the pill and did some research I found a lot has been done. Yes they do say it can be one of the side effects but not only that it is unnatural. Dr Mercola was explaining how they work and basically they just up your estrogen so much that you body thinks it is already pregnant. How ever having such high levels of estrogen constantly can have many side effects and health risks, like increased risk of breast cancer, Heart attack, stroke, the list goes on. But personally I would just look that the quality of life you are able to lead while on them. I definitely cried more during my pregnancies than any other time in my life! Talk about moodiness! So I can't imagine being like that 24'7 with the other side effects.

Here is Dr Mercola's response for a natural alternative. All the best, just remember life is meant to be enjoyed, not suffered.
Finally, I highly recommend the Creighton Model Fertility Care System (CrM). It uses the science-based modality of NaPro Technology (NaPro), a women's health science that evolved from interpreting the biomarkers of the menstrual and fertility cycle, mainly, all the stages of cervical mucus and the length and intensity of the menstrual flow.

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Oh yes, when I was on them, after every time I had my period I had about 10 days of "morning sickness"... Basically, after taking the sugar pills the week of my period and going back on the hormone pills, my body thought it was pregnant and so most of my month was either being sick or having my period. Never again.

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i had been on the same birth control pills for years before and after my two children. 2 years ago i became short tempered and liable to mood swings, i initially blamed delayed grief for my mums passing 2years previous and marital issues. after breaking down in my doctors office when there for a routine check up itt was suggested that i try councelling, both me and my husband attended for 6 months, once a month and although this did help it became really obvious when the councilling came to end and at the same time i ran out of my pill. . . me and my husband decided to give it a break to see if it helped, the difference i my mood was obvious from month 1 and i've never looked back for the two years i've been off them. i guess the point i'm making is that just beecause something has workked without issue for a long time it doesn't mean that it is okay for you now, just give yourself a month or two off and see how you feel - it's got to better than becoming reliant on anti-depressants!?

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I'm sorry but I could not disagree more. I've been on the pill for 16 years- only stopping twice in order to have my two sons and subsequently nurse them. I feel absolutely great on the pill- both physically and emotionally. Also, one should look at the research and become well informed. There is absolutely no link between breast cancer and the pill. I've asked numerous reputable and top doctors in the US and Europe as well as have done plenty of research on this issue. There was some concern regarding this 30-40 years when the pills had substantial amounts of progesterone in them. This is no longer the case with the current pills that are in the market. In fact, the most pills today, have mostly estrogen and some progestin. As far as the other health risks you mention, such as, heart attack, it needs to be put into context. The possible increased risk of heart attack, stroke or deep vein thrombosis only applies to smokers, severly overweight women and women with other related medical conditions. There are all clearly explained in the packaging. Unfortunately, many women are not honest and forthright with their doctors and this can lead to serious and sometimes tragic consequences. Lastly, none of you have mentioned all the benefits of the pill- and there plenty. Women who take the pill, even for just a brief period, decrease their chance of developing cervical cancer. In fact, (I dont remember the exact data so please double check), but if I recall correctly, if a woman has taken the pill for 5 years or more, their chance of developing cervical cancer is lowered by 70%. The pill also protects a woman from colon cancer as well.
The pill also helps with conditions such as policystic ovaries and endomitriosis. And on a more vain note, it helps reduce eradicate acne, doing wonders for a woman's complexion. I am saddened to hear that so many of you experienced depression while on the pill. Depression has been linked to high levels of progesterone, which is why the old pill (30-40 years ago) used to contribute to this. As a result, these older versions, have been replaced with newer lower dose alternatives. However, apparently some of these older, outdated pills are still on the market.

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That is a lie. There is absolutely a clear link between Breast Cancer and the Pill. Ask Dr. Joel Brind or any honest MD. I personally know of many young women (30 - 45) who have stage 3 breast cancer and had used the Pill for many years. Those who escape cancer are very lucky.

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I have been on antidepressants most of my life due to issues in my childhood. My doctor added Birth control within the last year, because my migraines and periods were getting really bad and the migraines were just around my period. I tried staying off of the BC last month and it made my depression much worse. For me, I have to be on BC to survive.

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I found that when I was on the pill, I would have different effects. Different pills will do that to you, but so does your hormones. Our hormones are constantly changing, and so we need to monitor the pill when we are on it. I believe that is why the Doctor won't give us more than a certain amount of prescriptions for it in a row.

I noticed when I was on it, I not only was depressed, but also higher stress levels, and a non existent sex drive... I mean I know it's birth control, but come on!

I am pretty sure it is normal. I also feel like it wasn't as much of a problem before I had my son as it was after.

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Is it possible to become depressed after coming off of the pill?I have been very sad lately, I only took the pill for two months and just stopped taking it 3 days ago and I feel so down! I hate it! I seriously think I'm done taking BC, it seriously screwed up my body/cycle and made things more ennoying than regular!

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I say absolutely. I've tried BC pills various times throughout my adult life. They all had weird effects on me. However, after baby #2, I decided to try Mirena. 1.5yrs later and my husband wondering if I wanted a divorce, I decided to have it removed. It took about 6 mo, but I finally got back to "normal". I will never go on BC again. It's just not for me. I would suggest getting off of it for a while and see how you feel. It can't hurt.

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Actually, taking Yasmin lessened my depression! Actually, I had been severely depressed for over 10 years (among other serious symptoms) and doctors could not figure out what was wrong. The kept sending me to psych docs and wanting me to take all sorts of ant-depressants. I knew something else was wrong. I practically missed my 30s. Then, I went to one last doctor - a reproductive endocrinologist. He tested my hormone levels and lo and behold, I barely produce estrogen! He put me on estradiol and viola - all cured! That easy! Wasted over 10 years of my life being severely depressed fatigued and many problems. Just one simple hormone test and I could have had a life all those years! Anyway - also take Yasmin and it further helps the depression AND I can also "control" my periods (doc says this is okay.) I only have 4 a year! I urge ALL women, regardless of age, who suffer from depression or any other unexplained chronic symptoms, to demand to have their hormones checked! I would hate for others to go through what I have.

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Though studies seem to show the opposite, we're all individuals and have different hormonal levels to begin with. It seems to be the exception more than the norm, but my personal experience is that BCPs evened out my hormone levels. I had horrible, life-changing depression during my teen years, and it wasn't until I took BCPs that I felt more normal. I discovered this on my own and only in hindsight, and I believe my younger sister has found this to be true for herself as well. My advice is to listen to your body in consultation with a doc that you trust. If they don't work for you, then don't take them. I may be in the minority, but BCPs have actually helped me steer clear from depression and keep my life on track.

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A good alternative is Napro Technology http://www.naprotechnology.com/. We've been using it for almost 7 years and so far it has been 100% accurate. No artificial birth control (pills, IUD, Diaphram, etc...) for me. I enjoy life better by decreasing my chances of having-Depression, blood clots, rashes, allergic reactions, abortions (prevention of a fertilized egg to implant) and cancer. Check it out yourself http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_IARC_Group_1_carcinogens Why is it that doctors don't tell you the impact of the side affects with as much importance as we are warned about smoking? Oh yes the mighty dollar. The more they push the drugs the more they make in kickbacks from the drug companies. Ladies educate yourself and your daughters. There are alternatives for our daughters as well trying to avoid painful or irregular periods. The pill is a quick fix that only hides the problem instead of solving it. Have a great life without artificial contraception.

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I have a couple friends that use this meathod. They have all gotten pregnant since they started. It's an interesting alternative, but as a woman that studies sexology, it's really not as effective as it's advertised to be.

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Yes, i was on it a few years ago, shortly after i had my daughter and could feel myself starting to go into a depression. I stopped taking them after a few months because it was too much. Unfortunately the damage had been done so to speak, and it became harder to become "un-depressed". I started them again in April, and i thought i was doing good, but ive noticed within the last 2months or so that i can feel myself trying to fight off the new depression thats trying to set in. I'm tempted to stop taking them again, but i have other issues that make it necessary for me to continue taking them.

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The Pill def caused depression in me,I realised this fairy early around 18/19 yrs old ,once on the pill I would litterally have battles in my brain over whether I wanted to kill myself. would be totally fine when this thought would just pop in my head .after that the doctor told me I should avoid taking the pill altogether.

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After reading these various posts, I decided to share my experience. I am in my late 50's and was on b/c for many years prior to my 2 pregnancies at 30 and 33. I began b/c pills after the 2nd pregnancy and stayed on them well into my 50's. I realize that the post partum depression I had was after the birth of the first child and again another depression when I began going thru menopause. Defintely these were times when I was not on b/c pill that I had the depression surface. I still experience mood swings and therefore stay on a very mild SSRI and it helps emmensely.
p.s. I also experienced no hot flashes, or weight gain or irritability during the menopause.

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It can. I would strongly urge you to go back to your doctor. Perhaps a lower dose would help.

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Anything that affects your hormones has a chance of causing depression. It is definitly one of the most common side effects of hormonal birthcontrol.

I would really suggest bringing it up with your doctor. They can either change your birthcontrol or give you meds to help you cope with the depression.

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Yes. It messes with your hormones. I would talk to the doctor about this if you are experiencing depression. They may want to tweak the dose or find something different that works for you.

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It's never "normal" to experience depression. You should definitely tell your doctor what you are experiencing. Some drugs affect different people in different ways. You may just need to be on a different dosage, or even an alternate type of birth control.

Good luck!

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I am a 60 year old mental health therapist with adult children, not a new mom. However, I have advanced training and professional experience with this issue. There are many types of birth control pills, containing many types of estrogen and progesterone products. (Not all estrogens are made from "horse urine", but "Premarin" and its generics are!) Since the woman's health initiative study was published in 2000 (a very poorly interpreted study), doctors have shied away from larger amounts of estrogen in hormonal products. Hence, many women get "low dose" birth control pills, which translates to low or non-existent amounts of estrogen and (relatively) higher amounts of synthetic progesterones. Depo shots are progesterone only based contraceptives as are POP pills (progesterone only pills.."the only ones you can take while you are breast feeding.") and Implanon inserts. Mirena IUD's emit progesterone locally, but some woman are even sensitive to that local absorption. However, progesterone, and especially synthetic types combined with low or non-existent estrogen CAN CAUSE DEPRESSION, ANXIETY,IRRITABILITY AND MOOD SWINGS. I have had many women go to no symptoms at all when their hormonal products have been changed to a high estrogen product or the offending product was discontinued. For women experiencing those issues, I always recommend HIGH ESTROGEN, MONO-PHASIC (no changing levels of progesterone with each week of the cycle, like "tri" labeled pills). For some women with PMS types of mood symptoms off the pill, sometimes going on a high estrogen pill can regulate things to fix the natural imbalances. (Products like Yaz, Yasmine, Beyaz and generics fall in this category, however the combo drug drosipromine in them has a slightly higher risk of causing blood clots. If you take them, seek medical care immediately for swelling or pain in your legs, but other than that precaution, they are fairly safe.) There are also changes in sex drive mostly based on high progesterone, low estrogen types of products. If you are having issues, go to a knowledgeable physician. Try checking the National Menopause Society membership....at least those OB-GYNS are interested in hormonal products and are often more knowledgeable. Keep trying. Read some of the books written by Dr. Elizabeth Vliet, MD, an internal medicine physician who completed a full psychiatry residency at John's Hopkins and practices women's health in Texas and Arizona. She is my "guru" for hormonal connections to other health problems. Her book, "Screaming to be Heard: Hormonal problems woman suspect and doctors STILL Ignore" (2000 revised edition) is still up to date on this subject and accurate. I have dealt with many women, some who have even been mis-labeled and treated in a psychiatric hospital, who have improved rapidly with proper attention paid to their hormonal issues. Do not stop taking any of your medications without medical guidance, but just do not forget that no one doctor can know all things and keep looking until you find one that listens to you.

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Actually, the latest on YAZ is that it is significantly linked to a higher risk of blot clots. Lots, and lots of cases. This is newer information than the post above...

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Implenon causes depression in post natal and breast feeding mums. My ob/ gynae won't prescribe it anymore!

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Yes, I was taking Yaz and shortly after I started feeling really depressed to the point I felt suicidal even tho I knew I'd never hurt myself because I love my children and want to be here for them but if was such a horrible feeling. I went to the doc about it and he basically said that's nonsense and that birth control doesn't cause depression and he advised I didn't stop taking it so I just decided on my own to stop taking it and within the month I was feeling like myself again. I'm 3 weeks post partum with my 3rd baby and I'm thinking of starting birth control but I'm afraid after that experience so I'm not sure what I'll do.

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Yes, I've taken combined and progesterin pills in the past. I was depressed and had trouble sleeping. Told nurses and doctors thinking it was postpartum depression after the birth of my three children. They said it wasn't because the symptoms showed up months after they were born. I claimed that it might be a side effect of the pill (this is one of the side effects listed) by a nurse dismissed it and thought I was ridiculous. I was extremely moody and mean when I took birth control pills. Eventually got off of them. The depression got sooo bad when I stopped taking them. I also gained a lot of weight. Think the pills affected my thyroid. I have read that birth control pills cause cancer. I believe in natural health now. I try to avoid medications for me and my family.

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I also had issues with the pill. It was after taking it for years so I didn't suspect it. I was depressed, thought my husband didnt love me, thought my kids would be better off without me... I finally talked to my husband about my feelings and he suggested I talk to my doctor. I love my husband so much for being so in tune with the change in me and I finally went to the doctor and he, yes he, listened and suggested either a lower dose of hormones or get off of the pills altogether. I took the lower dose and within a few weeks felt a world of difference in my mind and my body. This was about 3 years ago. I'm now off the pill completely and although I worry about having child #3 after 40, I've never felt better.
My suggestion, go see you doctor and be honest about how you are feeling. Take care... Angela

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Why load up your body with drugs that make your body believe you are pregnant?
Natural family planning is as effective as birth control, and can help couples improve their communication in intimacy. Couples who practice natural family planning have a lower divorce rate.
Learn more about it: www.ccli.org

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o my gosh yes . after i had my kids they said i had post pardum then it became general depression then clinical deporession then anxiety was added to it . the whole tie i was on boirth control pills . once i stopped taking them the depression slowly went away . definately belive theres a link. it is why the dr said he recomended me off them because they can cause depression.

im only one person in many though and also had my tubed done if you dont have the signs dont worry and if you do do not come off them cold turkey see a professional before comming off any meds that may be there to help you. also don't give up . Your not alone .

hopes thats helped .

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I was on Depo (the jab) for about 2 years and it just about ended my relationship. I got into such a deep depression that I would lay in bed and feel like I was stuck in a hole with no way out. I heard a rumour that the jab could cause depression so I decided to come off it and I can't believe the difference in myself. Me and my now husband refer to that time as when I was crazy (all in fun of course). I thought it may only be the jab that made people depressed but a friend of mine is on the pill and she is really depressed and alienating everyone around her. Any ideas of how you bring that up in conversation??? :P
I am 6 months pregnant and starting to think about contraceptive for when I've had the baby and a Mirena has been suggested but I'm worried that it could do the same thing.

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I had severe depression and wild mood swings after having the Mirena inserted. I know every women is different, but if you were sensitive to other forms of hormones, definitely check with your doctor before having it inserted.

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Yes, my most recent attempt at the birth control pill sent me into a mild depression. I can say "mild" because I've been diagnosed clinically depressed and KNOW that I wasn't quite there on the pill, but it was definitely a milder form of depression and I was happy to stop taking them. I'm looking into more natural options now.

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I started birth control when i was 18 and only took it for 6 months. It made me depressed, i had severe anxiety attacks, which i still get 3 years later for some reason. It made me angry and violent and a terrible person to be around. I asked my doctor and he switched the brand i was on...which made it worse. So i finally stopped taking it all together. After 6 months, i was back to normal. I still have issues with depression and anxiety but it is slowly getting better!

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It is quite normal to feel depressed when on birth control. The hormones in it can cause mood swings or your level to be "off" from what your body is used to. I was on birth control and on anti-depressants at the same time.

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Most definetley.

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Yeah, it's a common side effect. You could try a different drug, but if i were you I'd skip hormonal bc altogether

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yeah I went crazy, and became truly evil. Within two weeks of stopping I was back to normal. It's terrible stuff, especially pops

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I have never experienced depression, but I can see how some would. Birth control pills use hormones to regulate your periods. Different hormones are used in different brands/types and sometimes it takes some testing in order to get yourself on the right one. I once tried the "4 periods a year" pill and it was pretty awful to be honest. It gave me headaches (i think because of the higher level of hormone) so I tried the "low" version and the headaches were still there- just muffled a bit. Finding the right pill for you might take a few tries, but it's completely worth it in the end because there are many benefits to them, granted you take them the right way, don't smoke, all those things the doc tells you. I personally stoped using my preferred bc pill (yaz) because of the higher risk of blood clots, thrombosis and heart attack. I may be young, but I don't want to put myself at risk for serious things like that just to avoid getting pregnant/have normal periods. I once thought about using mirena- however I've heard enough bad things about it that I don't even want a piece of plastic inside my body for that period of time.....it just doesn't seem safe to me.

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Progesterone only like the mini pill, implant and Mirena coil have all affected my moods quite significantly in the past. The combined pill suits me much better.

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