Does Birth Control Make You Moody?

Do you feel like a different person while you’re on the pill? 

Some people may find that taking hormonal birth control improves their mood. 

Others, however, report a detrimental impact on their mental health.

You are not imagining things if you believe your contraception is making you depressed to anxious. 

Most women know one or two other women who have had an adverse reaction to the pill.

Birth control and depression or anxiety are widespread. 

Almost half of all women who start on the pill stop taking their birth control within the first year due to intolerable side effects, the most common of which is mood swings. 

Sometimes it’s unbearable anxiety, depression, or both at the exact moment.

Even though some people tell them that mood swings and birth control aren’t real or significant, a growing body of data suggests otherwise. 

We will explore how birth control makes you feel, why you may feel moody, and how to manage mood swings with birth control.

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How Birth Control Can Affect Your Mood

Since the pill’s introduction in 1960, women have complained about mood-related changes such as anxiety and depression. 

Hormone doses are lower in the newer generation of pills. But despite this, a significant number of women discontinue the pill due to adverse effects.

For women, there are numerous types of birth control tablets available. Some contain only progestogen, whereas others contain both estrogen and progestogen.  

Estrogen levels peak around day 14 of a typical 28-day menstrual cycle. Many women feel their best emotionally and physically at this time.

For the first 21 days, most hormonal contraceptives level this mountain-shaped hormonal cycle into an even line. The levels of estrogen and progestin then plummet during the next seven days.

So, if you’re wondering why birth control makes you angry, hormones are the culprit. These are the primary cause of mood disorders and depression caused by birth control. And it is critical to understand what is causing these issues.

Because of high cortisol levels, the pills can affect the HPA-Axis in the brain. High cortisol levels decrease the ability to deal with stress, leading to the mental health issues many people experience while taking the pills. 

Hormones also influence brain function and chemistry, such as activating chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters.

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What Causes Mood Swings While On Birth Control?

The potential emotional consequences of hormonal contraception remain a mystery, necessitating additional investigation. 

However, much of the study has concentrated on the pill. So, how can birth control pills make you depressed or happy?

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows communication to produce a calming effect. It is released when its receptors are triggered by substances such as alcohol and a natural steroid created in the body as progesterone breaks down.

This is significant since all kinds of birth control hormones and contraception contain a synthetic version of progesterone. 

However, unlike natural progesterone, synthetic progesterone does not appear to have the same effect on GABA receptors. GABA deficiency has also been linked to depression and PMS.

Pills can influence mood and mental state by decreasing the stimulation of GABA receptors in the brain, which are responsible for relaxation and reducing brain activity to allow people to decompress. 

Low GABA stimulation is commonly associated with mental health concerns such as panic disorder, sadness, and mood-related symptoms of PMS.

Other neurotransmitters, such as the levels of the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, may be influenced by birth control hormones. 

This may be because progesterone has the power to make good things feel less satisfying. This reduced reward response has been observed in hormonal contraception users, but additional research is needed.

The pill’s low estrogen dose can impair the reward mechanism in the brain, which can result in any of these issues. 

You are more likely to experience mood-related issues when using the birth control pill if:

  • You have a history of mental illness or depression.
  • Your mother or other family members have mental health side effects due to taking birth control pills.
  • You are taking only progestin pills (mini-pills).
  • Your pill has a multiphasic dose (i.e., a rising hormone dosage throughout the cycle).

What Helps Control Mood Swings While On The Pill?

Some lifestyle modifications can help manage your mood, but it’s always best to seek personalized guidance from a healthcare practitioner. 

Here are some easy steps you can do to help with mood swings when you’re on the pill:


You can try doing regular exercise to release those feel-good hormones. Exercise can improve your mental health in several ways, such as:

  • When you exercise, the chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, stress hormones, and endorphins, change.
  • Exercise regularly can help you sleep better. And getting enough sleep can help you manage your mood.
  • Exercise can help you gain your sense of control, enhance your coping skills, and boost your self-esteem. People who exercise regularly frequently express how nice it feels to achieve a goal.
  • Exercise can help divert you from negative thoughts while providing opportunities to try new things.
  • If you exercise with others, you will have the opportunity to socialize and receive social support.
  • Exercising boosts your energy levels.
  • Physical activity might help you release your frustrations.
  • Exercise can help you feel more relaxed by reducing skeletal muscle tension.

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Aim for an 8-hour sleep schedule every night. Consider how you feel the next day after a bad night’s sleep or not getting enough sleep. 

Many of us are unhappy and irritable, finding concentrating difficult and lacking energy. We tend to overreact when things don’t go our way, and we may get less excited when things go our way. So, it’s easy to understand how chronic sleep deprivation could be a concern.

Sleep deprivation is associated with increased negative moods (impatience, anger, irritation, sadness) and decreased pleasant moods. 

In addition, sleep deprivation is usually a symptom of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. 

It can also increase the likelihood of and even contribute to certain mood disorders’ development.

If you’ve been having difficulties obtaining enough quality sleep, the good news is that there are numerous ways to enhance your sleeping habits. 

Consider the following tips: 

  • Make a sleep routine for yourself and stick to it. Try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Coffee and alcohol should not be consumed too close to bedtime. And complete your meal at least two hours before you go to bed.
  • Keep televisions and iPads away from your bedroom.
  • Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Check that your bed is comfortable. As you prepare to go to bed, turn out the lights. Use a bedside light to read.
  • Try simple meditation techniques, such as closing your eyes for 5-10 minutes and focusing on deep, steady breaths.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Don’t keep checking the time. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider getting up and reading a book for 30 minutes before going back to bed.

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What you eat impacts your physical health, emotions, and mental well-being. There is no single superfood that enhances mood; instead, it is essential to eat a balanced, healthy diet.

A varied, balanced diet enhances memory and concentration, boosting your optimism and protecting you from depression. 

Overeating highly processed, fried foods or sugary foods and drinks, on the other hand, has been demonstrated to raise the chance of anxiety and the risk of getting depression.

So, change your diet to include fewer foods and beverages that can produce natural highs and lows and more complete foods. 

Consider reducing coffee, sugar, and alcohol while increasing your vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seafood intake.


Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, can also be beneficial if your stress levels affect your mood. 

Taking a few minutes each day to focus your thoughts can help you minimize stress, depression, pain, and other symptoms.

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, tranquility, and balance, enhancing your emotional well-being and general health. 

You can also use it to relieve stress and relax by concentrating on something calming. Meditation can help you stay balanced and at peace within yourself.

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There is no definitive checklist to tick off because no cause-and-effect relationship between birth control and mood swings has been established. 

However, keeping track of your feelings is a good idea after you begin using hormonal contraception.

You can track changes in your mood with daily diary entries and ask a close relative or friend to notify you if they notice any changes in your behavior. 

If you’re having more bad days than good ones, it’s time to see a doctor or other healthcare expert.


You may believe that your mood swings or sadness are an unavoidable side effect of birth control, but you should consult your doctor to see whether the drug you’re taking is good for you or if you should try something different. 

If your mood swings and depression are too much to handle, your doctor may prescribe a different type.

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  1. Sanders, Stephanie A., et al. “A prospective study of the effects of oral contraceptives on sexuality and well-being and their relationship to discontinuation.” Contraception 64.1 (2001): 51-58.
  2. Mu, Eveline, and Jayashri Kulkarni. “Hormonal contraception and mood disorders.” Australian Prescriber 45.3 (2022): 75.
  3. Del Río, Juan Pablo, et al. “Steroid hormones and their action in women’s brains: the importance of hormonal balance.” Frontiers in public health (2018): 141.
  4. Follesa, Paolo, et al. “Changes in GABAA receptor γ2 subunit gene expression induced by long-term administration of oral contraceptives in rats.” Neuropharmacology 42.3 (2002): 325-336.
  5. Rapkin, Andrea J., Giovanni Biggio, and Alessandra Concas. “Oral contraceptives and neuroactive steroids.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 84.4 (2006): 628-634.

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