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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Birth Control Pill = Depression?

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Author Topic: Birth Control Pill = Depression?
ohmyohmyyy
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I've been on the pill since August of this year and for the first couple of months I felt fine.

However, within a month or so I started feeling nauseous and unbearably depressed. I downgraded to a new pill with lower estrogen count this month (from Trivora to Lutera) which helped the nausea but the depression is still there.

I've had an awful couple of months but I can usually bounce back just fine. However, I've been feeling really crumby emotionally for months now which is totally unlike me. I'm trying to figure out if its emotional or if the BCP could be the cause.

Could it be the pill or am I just having a bad time?

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ohmyohmyyy
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Side note - It's only my first week on the new pill so if there is a link, is it possible that the symptoms will subside?
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Heather
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When you got the new pills, was this after discussing these symptoms with your prescribing physician?

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ohmyohmyyy
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I was originally prescribed the pill for cramps by my home doctor. I go to school in Missouri, a thousand or so miles from home so I went to the school clinic and told them I was feeling nauseous and sort of moody and thought it might be my BCP.

They prescribed the new pill.

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Heather
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Okay, so if they knew about the depression and gave you this, and you really want to be on a hormonal method, I'd try and give this one at least another month.

Not only do side effects tend to be strongest when first starting, you may also still be having some effects from your previous pill.

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ohmyohmyyy
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Blaghhh. These symptoms are so much more intense than the old ones. My fingers are crossed that they'll go away.

I can't wait until they develop a male BCP, seriously.

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Heather
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Well, you don't have to use hormonal methods if you don't want to. If you want, I can walk you through a couple combination scenarios of non-hormonals that would give you the same level of effectiveness as hormonal methods used singly.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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ohmyohmyyy
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I might take you up on that. I'm waiting to hear back from my doctor to see if there is anything they can do as I do feel much safer with hormonal protection.
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Heather
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Sure thing: you just let me know if and when it's something you want to talk about. I'll be around. [Smile]

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ohmyohmyyy
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I was thinking of starting a Vitamin B regiment for the time being to boost my mood and help with the anxiety, at least while my body is adjusting.

will this affect the effectiveness of the pill?

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Heather
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I've never seen anything to suggest that Vitamin B interacts with the pill, no. But whenever you're in doubt about something like this, the best way to get an answer is just to have your pharmacist check their database. [Smile]

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ohmyohmyyy
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It doesn't, it helped a little bit with the anxiety but after talking to my doctor, I decided it was best to go off the pill for a week to clear my head and determine whether I'm having actual emotional problems or not.

She said these symptoms were far too extreme to attribute to the pill alone. So we'll see. Maybe a triphasic with a lower progestin content would help.

I appreciate all of your help. Thanks so much.

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ohmyohmyyy
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One more thing.
If I switch to another pill within these next two weeks, how will it affect my period?

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Heather
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It's really impossible to say.

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ohmyohmyyy
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I've been off the pill three days and I've had withdrawal bleeding and everything but I'm still having anxiety attacks.
How long should this last?

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Heather
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There is no should here, and we can't say. But generally, it'll take more than days for side effects from a method to wear off. It may be a couple weeks, it may be some months: it's different for everyone.

However, are you seeing someone FOR your anxiety, in general? That may be the right person to call into about this for help managing it.

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ohmyohmyyy
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I'm not. I've never really had a huge problem with it until this first week with the new pill. Maybe it's just coincidental but this feels so external and hormonal. I have no reason to be upset but I can't even function.
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Heather
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But you were having mood issues with the previous pill as well, right?

If so, then it really sounds to me like it might be best to bring all these mood issues to your doctor. They may well all be reactions to the pills, but I think it'd be best to let a pro assess that.

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ohmyohmyyy
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I've switched pills twice since I posted this.
I am having difficulty finding anything at all that will make me not feel like a zombie that cries at the drop of a hat.
I've been on Trivora, Lutera, Ortho Cyclen and now the Nuva Ring in just the past 8 months. I am now seeing a counselor for my anxiety spells and about to be prescribed antidepressants and I just want to find a pill that won't make me insane!

My doctor is no help whatsoever. She pretty much asks me to just pick out a pill on my own.

I guess my question is: I'm on my third week of Nuva Ring. It's making me crazy. Do I wait it out in hopes that it will get better, try another method or kick hormones and get a copper IUD?

What is a birth control formulation that is better for people who have issues with depression on the pill?
And could my problem just be that I'm hormonal makeups switching so much?
I'm so sick of this stuff.

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Parapluie
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I just wanna jump in and say that I can relate to what you're going through. I've tried Marvelon, Alesse (pills) and NuvaRing. I was tempted for a while to just keep trying pills until I found the right one but I feel like I'll never find the right one. All the hormonal methods I've tried have made me extremely depressed/moody/anxious and to boot, NuvaRing killed my sex drive dead. :/

I don't mean to just come and complain with you, I just want you to know that you aren't alone. I also feel like the heathcare providers I talk to don't really know what to do with me as per the depression. They just kinda look at me as if I have 5 heads. I felt like I was going crazy for about 6 months until I realized that it was my pill(s) making me unbearably depressed.

Personally, I've decided that no hormones is my best bet right now, and I'm trying for a copper IUD. If that doesn't work, I'm gonna get a diaphragm, paired with condoms. So, there are options other than hormones if you choose. [Smile]

Heather also suggested to me in another post that progestin only pills might make a difference, so you might consider that if you haven't already.

I hope everything starts to look up for you though! I understand that finding the right birth control can be rough.

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"The truth of all predictions is always in your hands."

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ohmyohmyyy
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Yeah, I think I'm going to stick it out the three months with the Nuva Ring and see what happens? The waiting is the worst part though. I feel like I've wasted the better part of a year waiting for negative side effects to go away. My sex drive is off the charts, as it has been with every pill, so at least there's that?

If I still feel like shit, I'm going to sit down with the people at Planned Parenthood and beg for options. I don't really know what else to do. Is there any sort of hormonal test they can do to determine what hormonal formulation would work?
I don't want Paraguard, I've had awful menstrual cramps my whole life. I have symptoms of PCOS (my Mom never let me get tested as a kid so I'm not sure, I should get on that) so hormonal methods would be helpful. BLAHHH.

Sex is so good but this stinks so baddddd.

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Heather
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There's no test to figure what, if any hormonal method will be right for someone: it's just something where everyone has to keep trying to see, alas.

However, a doctor suggesting a patient pick their pill when the patient needs help doing that isn't someone doing their job well. Is it possible for you to switch to a different provider?

Again, ohmyohmyyy, not sure when you're considering IUDs why you're only thinking about the copper: why not also consider the Mirena, especially if your heavy bleeding bothers you, as it would likely help a lot with that? The hormones in the Mirena aren't the levels in other hormonal methods, plus, it's only localized. The only reason the hormone is in the Mirena IUD is to help counteract the side effects many women don't like with non-hormonal IUDs.

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ohmyohmyyy
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I switched from my university's student health center to the local Planned Parenthood this month.
Do you suggest a gynecologist?

I've read things about the Mirena affecting depression as well so I wasn't all too sure.

I'm just frustrated because nobody has answers, including me. I've been diagnosed with major depression this month and I don't know if I'm actually depressed or just hormonally imbalanced.

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Heather
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Ultimately, any hormonal method can have a potential impact on depression: I don't know of a one that claims it cannot. However, with the Mirena, where the hormone is just local, you're probably less likely to have issues than you would with a method which works BECAUSE of hormones, where they are more than local, and where the doses are far higher.

Are you taking medication for your depression?

Per what provider to see, where the providers at Planned Parenthood also not helpful with these questions?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ohmyohmyyy
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I went to Planned Parenthood certain that I wanted Nuva Ring because it helped a friend of mine who had the same problems with her BCP. I presented the idea and they were like "YEAH, usually a different way of taking the hormones into your body is helpful."
So there wasn't much discussion but the doctors were less big eyed and confused when I presented the idea of the depression and hormones being linked. They said it was common where as the nurse I see at school looked at me like I was a medical rarity. I definitely felt more comfortable at PP.

I'm actually about to see a psychiatrist to discuss medication for the depression. I'm literally sitting in the waiting room. I feel weird saying yes to antidepressants only because I feel the soul cause of this emotional aggravation is the pill. But I might take the prescription anyway. I just don't want side effects from that too. I just want to feel like myself again. But I guess it'll be better than crying all the time while my hormones even out?

Seriously, thank you for everything. You're the only people who have really been helpful. It's good to not feel like a complete freak. I don't know what I'd do without this resource.

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Heather
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To my knowledge, having serious depression ONLY from the pill is highly unusual. What's much more common is to have depression made worse by some hormonal methods of BC.

It sounds like the PP you visited may wind up being a good place for you to keep going. It also sounds like one reason there probably wasn't much discussion is that you walked in saying you wanted to try a given method. I suspect it would have been a different visit had you been asking for their suggestions, especially with a depression diagnosis in hand, you know?

Glad to be of help!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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ohmyohmyyy
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Do you recommend I go back there very soon and discuss my options or wait a bit to see how this works out with the Ring?

I just need to make progress in a positive direction. Everything I do seems to just be making it worse.

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Heather
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What I'd suggest if your depression has been severe is that you first try the medication for that, giving it around a month to see if that helps.

If it doesn't, or you feel your BC is still having an effect on your moods, then I'd suggest going back in to talk about other methods.

Of course, you always have the option to dump a hormonal method like this when you want and either stick to condoms or opt out of intercourse for a bit, too. Doing either of those things doesn't require a doctor's visit.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ohmyohmyyy
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I'm going to ditch the hormones for a bit and detox my body from all caffeine, alcohol and other chemicals to see if it helps me feel better.

My only concern now is that my boyfriend can't maintain an erection with a condom on so we're going to have to work on that. Any advice in that department would be great. [Smile]

In a month or so, I'm going to find a gyno and get Mirena. I'm actually excited about it.

I think this is the best option for me personally. I'm very against putting more chemicals in my body to cover up what might just might be the exaggerated side effects of other chemicals.

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Heather
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Has your boyfriend practiced using condoms all by himself, not just with partners when the pressure is on?

That sounds like a perfectly fine plan to me, and I totally understand your rationale with this.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ohmyohmyyy
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I'm so done.
I went to see a gyno today and she, once again, completely discounted the fact that the birth control could be contributing to my depression symptoms. I am so sick of this!

I want to get Mirena. I got a pap so that I could at the end of the month. But I don't trust her. Is it going to exacerbate my depression?
The hormones do travel through the body...

I don't know if I should make an appointment with a new gyno or just screw it and go for the IUD.

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Heather
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The hormones in the Mirena so travel through the body, but they are mostly localized and there is also far less hormone in the device released than in methods where the hormones are a method's sole operation.

Have you discussed this with the doctor treating your depression? It seems to me that talking BOTH to your healthcare provider for the depression and to your sexual healthcare provider would be the best course of action.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ohmyohmyyy
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I am seeing a new psychologist and soon, a new psychiatrist. I need to find a gynecologist that doesn't stink. When the time comes, I will definitely talk to them.

However, I've been off all forms of hormonal contraception for over a month now and I'm still experiencing anxiety and depression symptoms. I want to try to get back on something by the end of the month.

Is it safe to say the symptoms and the hormones are unrelated?\

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Heather
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If you haven't felt any difference at all, probably. Mind, it can take more than a month for your body to get all the way un-birth-controlled, but I'd still expect *some* improvement if they were the why of your depression.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ohmyohmyyy
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I feel less foggy and grumpy but I'm still definitely experiencing lots of physical anxiety and I'm super weepy.

I think I'll give it another two weeks before I make a final call. It'll be good to know so that I can more wholeheartedly treat my depression. Bleh.

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