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The Effect of Birth Control on Mental Health

Nearly 65% of girls and women are on birth control in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But this protection can come at a cost, like developing depression.

Is it the birth control? 

In one study of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 34, researchers examined hormonal birth control use and subsequent depression. The results showed that there is a small risk of developing depression with all forms of hormonal birth control and a slightly higher risk with progesterone-only forms, like an IUD.

But even without birth control, we know hormones play a role in a person’s mood. The menstrual cycle can create dramatic hormonal changes, leading to conditions like premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. According to the Mayo Clinic, as many as three out of every four menstruating women experience PMS, with symptoms like mood swings, depressed mood, irritability, and crying. 

If you’re worried your depressed moods or irritability may not be a once-a-month occurrence, taking a depression screening and talking to your therapist or physician can help you create a plan to feel better in the long run.

If it is the birth control

For mood symptoms brought on by birth control, exercising, eating healthy, relaxing, and getting enough sleep can bring relief. If you’re worried about long-lasting side effects, talk with your doctor to see what’s the best option for you based on your medical and sexual history.

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