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Someone Asked Us: Can birth control cause depression?

While some researchers have found a connection between hormonal birth control and depression, most people don’t develop depression while using hormonal birth control. 

Hormonal birth control methods like the pill, patch, and ring release combinations of the hormones progestin and estrogen. These hormones change your body’s natural hormone levels to prevent pregnancy. These hormonal changes can impact your mood and cause you to feel a range of emotions, including occasional sadness. However, depression is a condition that comes with constant feelings of sadness. Depression can stop you from being able to do everyday activities like eating, sleeping, taking a shower, hanging out with friends, or going to school/work, and affects your life in a negative way. 

You may be more likely to experience depression while using hormonal birth control if you already have depression, have a family history of depression, or you’ve had depression in the past. If you start to feel the signs and symptoms of depression or you think you may have higher chances of depression while taking birth control, talk to your nurse or doctor about your birth control options. It may be helpful to track your mood and symptoms using a birth control and period tracker

It’s important to know that many people don’t have any symptoms at all while using hormonal birth control. And some people use hormonal birth control to help relieve depression symptoms and mood swings that are experienced with conditions like premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). For many people, birth control can help their mental health.

If you have any questions or concerns about how birth control can affect your mood, the best thing to do is speak with your nurse or doctor, like the ones at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center. They can help you explore your options and how they might relate to your mental health. 

If you’re having symptoms that are getting in the way of your daily life to the point where you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, call 988 to speak to someone 24-hours a day, 7 days a week through the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.