Are Mood Swings Common in Birth Control? Find Out Why

Rohan Mathew

Since the advent of the birth control pill in 1960, there have been correlations made between hormone therapy for birth control and changes in mood. 

Hormone Therapy Birth Control & Mood Swings

Since the pill has been around since 1960, there have been sixty years to refine the hormone therapy to get maximum results with minimum side effects. There have been complaints since the beginning of oral contraception from women about mood swings, anxiety, and depression that they have related to the initiation of taking birth control. Even so, it has always been reliable, so it continues to be a popular type of birth control. 

In a normal menstrual cycle, most women have peak estrogen levels on day 14 of their cycle (fourteen days after the first day of menstruation). That is when many women feel most emotionally stable and physically good. Because birth control pills smooth out peaks of estrogen and change this cycle, depressed feelings and other mood swings can happen. During the final seven days of the cycle, when these hormone levels all plunge, there can be significant mood swings and even physical symptoms. 

Some research has suggested that women who use birth control, when compared with women who don’t use any kind of hormonal birth control, report increased depressive symptoms, anxiety, and angry feelings during their monthly cycle. Even so, this common complaint does not make the official list of “common side effects” of oral birth control.

There are studies that suggest that the psychiatric symptoms experienced by women on birth control are not actually associated with the pill, and that these women would have the exact same symptoms with a placebo. The documentation of this research probably requires further modern research, as the concept seems to adhere to archaic and patriarchal ideas about women and “hysterics”, openly discounting what generations of women have reported as physical and mental changes they have experienced with the use of birth control pills. 

Other Hormonal Birth Control Types

Besides oral contraceptives, there are lots of other types of hormone-based birth controls, because they are the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy (not to prevent STD). The patch and the vaginal contraceptive ring are both very safe methods that do not use estrogen, so they are less apt to cause some mood swings that are reported with other types of hormone therapy. 

The Depo shot is reported to only have an instance between 1% and 5% of mood changes with use, however  there are a vocal group of bloggers who question the science behind these numbers, and report very severe problems, mainly with mood swings, when coming off of the Depo Provera shot. Although this is not the official stance, it doesn’t hurt to research some ratings and opinions of any kind of birth control type before deciding to begin. 

The IUD faced a PR nightmare in the 1980s with the Dalkon Shield group action lawsuit that made the news on a daily basis, and terrified girls and women everywhere. In 1970, the Dalkon Shield IUD was introduced to the public. It looked a little like a tiny horseshoe crab with a string attached, when compared to the T-shaped IUD in modern use. This IUD caused a number of deaths after it became evident that it led to pelvic infections, including septic pregnancies. This leads to a loss of fertility in many women. 300,000 women sued the company that made the shield.

Today’s IUD is far less risky, but the hormonal-aided IUD, including the brand Kyleena, can cause hormone-related side effects. The incidence of Kyleena mood swings is well documented, and the manufacturers are very transparent about potential issues with its use. 

Always Consult Your Doctor

If you are having trouble deciding on birth control, adding your health practitioner to the conversation is always a good idea. They have a working knowledge of your health history and can help you make an informed decision.