Does Birth Control Make You Depressed?

A new Danish study is attracting a lot of
attention for confirming something that we’ve known for a while: hormonal birth control
is linked to an elevated risk of depression. After following more than a million women,
for research purposes, not to just be stalking creeps, the researchers found that for women
who weren’t taking any hormonal birth control, 1.7 out of 100 began taking antidepressants
in a given year, compared to 2.2 out of 100 for those who were taking some kind of hormonal
birth control. That might not sound like that big of a gap,
but once we zero in on the specific risks associated with different types of hormonal
birth control, ehh, the percentages start to get a little scarier. [Evil laughter, lightening strike]. Study participants taking a combined birth
control of estrogen and progestin had a 23% elevated risk of depression compared to those
on progestin only birth controls who showed a 34% increased risk and finally those on
hormonal IUDs like yours truly had a 40% elevated risk. Which makes me go uh oh. Far and away the most startling stat was the
80% increased risk of depression that they found for women 15 to 19 years old taking
that combined birth control of estrogen and progestin. So does this then mean that the time is approximately
panic o’clock? No. Lead study author whose Danish name contains
more consonants than I can accurately pronounce told the Washington Post that while yeah this
increased risk was not trivial, quote, ‘Most women who use them will not get depressed.’ Whew. Nor is this the first time that we’re learning
about these kinds of relationships between our reproductive health and our mental health. A recent Harvard study examining relationships
between our moods and menstrual cycles found that of women on hormonal birth control, 16%
indeed experienced worse moods after getting on the pill, compared to 12% of women who
were like hey this is actually making me feel better. While the remaining 71% were like birth control
is like taking a chill pill: no change here. Cause I’m cool as a cucumber. [Synth music plays]. Which leads me to three important caveats
when hearing about these understandably scary stats. First, as some researchers have stressed in
response to this Danish study, sex, romance and relationships that are usually associated
with why we’re taking birth control can also lead to depression. Like the old saying goes, first comes love
then comes Ortho Tri-Cyclen. Secondly, for some people hormonal birth control
can actually help stabilize certain mood disorders like PMDD. And third and finally before we go flushing
all our birth control down the toilet consider how unintended pregnancies are also linked
with postpartum and maternal depression. In other words everybody’s body is different,
so when studies like these come out it’s important yes to pay attention to them but
look at more than the headlines and decontextualized statistics and also look at other studies. Investigate all the different types of birth
control that you’ve heard about and that you might be interested in taking and be aware
of your own physical and mental health and how their potential side effects might interact
with our own unique chemistries. And if you choose to use one, be choosy. Even if a doctor is just trying to push a
convenient brand your way. Because folks, one of the healthiest things
that you can do for yourself is to be your own knowledgeable health advocate. Let’s keep this conversation going. I’m sure that a lot of you watching have
some kind of story or opinion to share about all of this so let me know in the comments

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  1. Great video! I take progestin only and I do think that my recent bouts of depression could be related to it… So thanks for possibly confirming that!

  2. yes! depressed, moody, agressive, no more desire and physically bad for you! dont give this shit to your daughters! learn them to live naturally and in contact with their bodies and feminin energy

  3. Shocker, hormones can affect your mood

    Shocking how women on mass are taken drugs that alter who they are. Make you wonder if there isn't a hidden agenda behind all of it.

    If women want to be themselves, don't take mind altering drugs.

  4. I take birth control because it really helps stabilize my moods, especially my anxiety. I'm on the lowest dose of estrogen and dang if it hasn't made a difference. Sure, I'm tightly wound and often end up stressing myself out over little things but the difference is that I can recognize when I'm doing it now and bring it back down.

  5. I went on the pill because of PCOS and the never ending, period I was on, that lead to… I am pretty certain it was severe blood loss (standing up gave me intensely painful headaches, walking across a room would wind me as bad as sprinting would).

    I definitely noticed a change in emotional state, I felt whatever I was feeling was super intense. And then the week leading up to a period, my self-esteem would plummet to where I am worthless, everyone hates me, why do I even bother getting up in the morning.

    I took a while for me to figure out what it was, but I didn't think changing the type of pill would do anything. So I stuck it out for a few years. Lost a bunch of weight, and asked my doctor if I could go off the pill (her theory was that estrogen had been stored in my fat cells), she said I could try.

    I did, and regular periods since, and though I still get sad leading up to my period, it is no where near as bad.

  6. currently considering different birth control options and they all seem so scary! maybe no sex is just the way for me…

  7. I've been on the pill since I was 20, so 5 years. With one hiatus of about 5 months last year. I noticed I lost some weight during those months off. And maybe I was a tad lass anxious and moody, but it's really hard to tell. For me the benefits of an easily trackable period without worrying about the pregnancy risk outweighs gaining a bit of weight, a few headaches and the mood thing, which I believe may not be entirely related for me. You just have to find what works for you. This is good study to raise awareness for sure

  8. I've been on the combined pill for about four years and it has actually helped with my depression. But I have been on ones that made it worse so unfortunately it's a case of trial and error.

  9. I started taking birth control just over one year ago, at the beginning of my first serious relationship. However because I also was just starting university I can't be sure whether my unhappiness and my sudden tendency to burst into tears is stemming from uni stress, little dips in my relationship or the hormones. Too many variables.

  10. I like the video, but I have a couple critiques. 1) You showed a copper IUD when talking about a hormonal one and 2) this was pretty heavy on the moving graphics in a way I felt was distracting from what you were talking about. Other than that, awesome as always!

  11. I've found that taking birth control makes diagnosis for any mental health issues and sometimes other bodily health issues more difficult. Things like "is my mood down because of the new birth control, or is it other factors?" Or "does my stomach hurt because of birth control cramping, or do I have a kidney infection?" So be careful! And tell your therapist and doctor if you switch birth control!

  12. The birth control bar that i have idk the name its in my arm and lasts 3 yrs, is kinda shitty. Its great at preventing pregnancy and trust me i know…but it makes me bloat like crazy, it makes me hormonal, and sad and my period is unpredictable. I'm just waiting for the day a male birth control comes out. It makes way more sense to take the bullets out of a gun than to repeatedly shoot a bullet proof vest and hope for the best

  13. I have experienced depression on the pill, but I also experienced depression long before the pill. It's hard to say whether I was any moodier (prone to crash) once I started the pill or not. I was always moodiest the day before my period, and if anything the pill made that day more predictable by regulating my cycle.
    Once I started taking an antidepressant that worked, it evened the whole thing out, pill or no pill.

    The pills I've taken have all been combo estrogen/progestin types.

  14. Yes! As a birth control pill user who already had depression and was taking medication, this makes a lot of sense. The pill was a life saver, and while it didn't fix everything, it definitely helped.

  15. I Had major depression ever since the first week I took birth control when I was 15 but it's slowly improving at 21 lmao

  16. I find it interesting to look at the statistics as I am in my mid teens and suffer with severe depression.
    However for me my period has become waaay more manageable after starting on birth control, making my life considerably easier. My mood was a concern when I started on the pill but I haven't noticed a difference (though it may be harder to tell due to other circumstances.)

    Also BE CAREFUL WHEN PICKING YOUR BIRTH CONTROL, look into concerns and risk factors you may have!!
    My doctor changed me to a pill which turns out wasn't meant to be used as a contraceptive, also by pushing my doctor about the pain I still experience I was able to get an ultrasound and found out that I have an ovarian cyst! which can cause a lot of pain throughout the menstrual cycle.

  17. I feel like I've had a really positive experience with the pill. I'm probably on combined, but I'm not sure. Right now I've been on a pill that is seasonal periods, where your cycle lasts for 3 months, and your periods comes 4 times a year instead of every month. It's so much better! I think it's funny because I literally started when spring officially began around March 20, so my period comes every time the season officially changes.

    Another note, I don't believe birth control pills have affected my mood. I already had depression before going on it and nothing changed when I started. I don't remember anything drastic ever changing anytime I switched pills. My boobs did get a little bigger once though. Haha ūüėú

  18. I have seen bc do wonders for many friends, but I knew it was time for me to stop taking it when I saw a car drive by and I thought "jumping in front of that would be a good idea" I also was terribly mean.

  19. The pill gave me all sorts of side effects including depressive moods, but I've never been sure if the depression was just because of the pill because I was also in a long-distance relationship at the time which was a very tough time emotionally. At the very least, I'm sure the pill wasn't helping matters. Since then I've avoided hormonal birth control like the plague, but the copper IUD also didn't work out for me so now it's natural cycle tracking and condoms for me.

  20. Well, I have depression and anxiety and all that exploted about one of two months later of taking the pill. I was 17. I don't know if it has a really relation, but in my case, is true.

  21. i remember life before birth control it was a never ending period literally if I did stop it was for 2-7 days before it start up again for 3-4 weeks at a time with NO BREAK it was hell so my doctor was like no period for u so even though I have my tubes tied (for personal reasons) I have to be on not only a mirena IUD I also have to be on jolivette a progesterone only birth control pill to stop me from ovulating because without that little pill I was having dehabilitating cramping that seemed to never end but then again my body is very very weird luckily all women r not like me and yes I have pcos to on top of all those woman issues

  22. I think another point is how many women feel pressured to take the pill because their partners won't use condoms or whatever. To anyone in that situation I would just say that's not love. I don't know what's going on in your relationship but it's not love. If they guy isn't willing to compromise… meaning your health vs using condoms. Then it's time to ditch him.

  23. When I first started trying to get help for my mental health issues, it was repeatedly asked whether it was because of my birth control or not. Ruling out other possible causes is a key part of mental health diagnosis and treatment. But considering the symptoms have been lifelong, over periods of on/off birth control w/ a variety of pills and the patch, I think in my case, maybe not. But it did worry me a lot when I first saw this headline even though I'm less concerned about it now. Because I mean who wants to be told to choose between depression or heavy flow and cramps (my birth control has always been to limit periods)? Now living happily w/ mental health treatment and an arm implant which has by far been my favorite method of birth control. And boy have I tried a lot of methods. Not here to singlehandedly determine the validity of the study, but just hope that the more experiences people know about, the more informed they can be of just how many options and outcomes there are. Don't feel stuck between a rock and a hard place if you're considering coming on or off birth control of some sort. And know that plenty of other people have been through similar decisions.

  24. I've been on some kind of hormonal contraceptive for over 10 years now and every different type/brand has brought it's own flavour to the party. I would say it's been a positive experience in the long haul, but there have been some not-so-fun times that's for sure! I would encourage every woman to experiment to find out what works for her and to listen to your body.

  25. I was twice on hormonal birth control, and both times it made me sooo moodish and blue. I cried without a reason, want to sleep all day.. + headache. I don't want third kind of hormons :/.. I thinking about cooper IUD, but I haven't been pregnant and doctors warn me (I'm 26 and really don't want to be mother..can't imagine that will change any soon)

  26. I've been on the pill for almost a year and am under 20 and hav e suffered from depression for several years. However the pill actually helped me feel mentally better to a small but significant extent.

  27. I had a hormonal disbalance (high levels of testosterone). Took two kinds of pills (one after another). I loved the effects of both – my skin got healthier, for the first time in my life I was able to grow out my hair (I used to have a crazy problem of split ends), I loved the control over my period and that I stopped experiencing any cramps at all. I had never had mood swings and the pills didn't affect that. However, the first pill killed my libido entirely. Yet, when I went on the second more mild type, it all came back to me. I have no intension of going off this pill, I'm actually scared that if I do, all of the problems would come back.

  28. I went on the pill as a teenager for cramps. Then the injection every 3 months. I have several diagnosed mental illnesses & I would become very suicidal leading up to my period & end up in hospital every 3 months for a while. In correlation to when the hbc wore off. Since I was 21 (24 now) I've had an implamon. This stops periods for me & obviously keep me at a more continuous hormone level which has improved my mental health significantly. Obviously I've gotten older and done a lot of therapy but I strongly believe that it's helped me manage my mental health.

  29. I've actually got a friend who, over six years, experienced all the negative side-effects of the implant.
    For myself, however, depression runs in the family.

  30. Hi Cristen! speaking of mental and sexual health relations… Recently I have found myself in an odd situation. I have been in a relationship with my fiance for 9 years and sex was never an issue, but right now I am going through a stressful situation at work that is making me really depressed. Somehow this is affecting my sexual life, my sexual desire is very low and that is frustrating me. I have talked to my fiance about it to make sure he understands what I am going through, but I still feel like this pressing issue is affecting our life together. Could you please make a video about how mood swings can impact on sexual desire? Thank you very much!

  31. Definitely second being an advocate for your own health. I was on hormonal birth control for almost ten years and was majorly depressed and taking anti depressants for those same ten years and my doctor(s) never once told me that there could be a link. About 6 months after I stopped taking birth control my moods finally got to the point where I didn't even need anti depressants any more. I put too much trust in my doctor that they would tell me if the medication I was taking could be a factor and they didn't. Do your own research.

  32. I'm trying to find a solution to this issue. If I'm not on the pill (combined), my mood swings are really bad with a lot of highs and lows – no order. On birth control, I am kinda sad most of the time, but mostly stable. My therapist suggested taking the supplement 5HTP (a natural chemical that quickens seratinin reactions, resulting in feeling happier) and trying out different brands. Does anyone know different brands to try without much of a side-effect of depression ?

  33. Hey Cristyn! I have another interesting question for you! Earlier today my girlfriend said that she was in favor of an open relationship, I was curious about the idea in the past, but now I'm not so sure. Can you do a video about open relationships?

  34. Why would someone get the hormonal IUD? I'm a dude, so this obviously does not apply to me. That said, I am 100% certain that if I had a uterus, I'd have a copper IUD installed. The copper ones last three times longer than the hormonal ones.

  35. I've been on various contraceptives – tried the injection and various different pills. I just happened to start taking pills while I was going through a rough relationship which lead to depression, so I'll never know if that was linked to the pills or just a coincidence. Either way my general/social anxiety worsened over the years and I completely lost all sexual interest. Considering before I started taking contraceptives I was very ready to have a sexual mature relationship and since then I've gradually lost interest down to zero. Thing is I really only took these contraceptives because I wanted to avoid natural periods or periods altogether because mine were so heavy, painful and long. I avoided them for 7 years. Recently come off the pill (and antidepressants, though they were for neurological facial pain) and I feel better already. I had no idea that how I was feeling was because of or partially because of the hormones I was taking. All this time I was like why am I so unhappy? Why am I so socially anxious and anxious about everything all the time? Why am I always stressed and easily get into depressed episodes? May take a while to heal but even just a week off the pill I started feeling better and started natural periods again and they seem pretty normal now so.. things are looking up. Doesn't mean contraceptives are bad just.. I shouldn't have been on them, and it took me 7 years to realise it but I've made the change now and we will see if I improve further.

  36. I think it's also important when looking at percentages to consider percentage of what. A rise of 30% sounds scary, but 30% more of a very low number is probably still a very low number.

  37. i actually got prescribed birth control by my doctor so i wouldn't be as depressed during my periods as i usually would be without them

  38. I've tried several pills, arm implant and IUD. Some got me depressed, some did not. Everyone of them had depression listed as a possible side effect. Just change it if it doesn't work for you – another brand or type might work, and there's no way to know before you try. What works for other women might not work for you.

  39. Hormonal birth control really fucked up my brain, I've tried 3 different types of pills. One gave me depression, one gave me mood swings and the other worked pretty well but was far too expensive for me to use. I've also got general anxiety, PMDD and am at risk of depression because of a chemical imbalance in my brain.
    So other words, my brain is a super annoying puzzle that's taking for ages to level out but I'll get there!!!

  40. I feel like in highschool, for me anyways, they pushed BC like it was no big deal. Like it was the only way to not get pregnant. I had depression and anxiety but went on BC at age 15 having no idea what it would do to my body. I had the worst mood swings and bouts of depression but had no idea why. Finally at 20 I am done with this hormonal BC journey and took my nuvaring out and threw it in the trash one day randomly. I couldn't take it anymore. Now I feel like I'm wandering around lost. Not sure if I should restart the journey or give up.

  41. literally went to the doctors today to try birth control for menstrual pain. interesting I happened to see this today.

  42. Oh wow! I started taking birth control when I was 17. I started on orthro-cyclyn the progesterone and estrogen one. I loved that pill! I went to the free clinic on medicaid well because I was a teenager that didn't want to tell my conservative parents I was having sex. Then the clinic started changing it up with generic brands (which did not make me feel so well although the stressed it was "the same thing"). Then, I got this bitch NP who when I asked about a hormone free IUD insisted IUDs only came with hormones (not true, I have the copper one now!) and basically told me if I wanted that I HAD to get the birth control shot (which I was not interested in doing but was basically bullied into it because "that is the same hormones you should try it out") it contained no estrogen. I was CONSTANTLY craving things with estrogen like soy products! That same bitch tried to persuade me to get the progesterone only pills when I said I wanted back on the pill I was on. They made me feel wonderful! Now I'm back to my old lazy self with the copper IUD. I feel bloated all the time with this thing inside me. I've had it for a year. I think I want to be on the pill again! …or better yet get that Essure thing that is basically like having your tubes tied without surgery. I don't want kids ever!

  43. the deptession comes from the money females lose from men not having to pay child support on all the money they lost and the female actully had to work god forbid

  44. A girl I know has been taking birth control for a while but didn't know it was birth control, her parents didn't tell her anything about it

  45. As someone who already has anxiety and depression and just started taking the pill I'll admit to being quite nervous about how I'm gonna react. But I'll be very mindful of my emotions. The reason I am going on the pill is to help regulate and calm my hormones because I feel like a hormonal imbalance is a big part of my depression. So hopefully the pills actually help my mood and not make it worse but if they do make my mood worse I'll switch brands and if all else fails ditch them all together.

  46. I've been taking birth control pills (the combined pill) since christmas now, which is right around the time my doctor told me it's likely I'm a depressed (im 19). Do you know the what my next step should be to better my sitation, but not end up pregnant too?

  47. my exGF would say that it makes you depressed,

    since she puts on weight and can't get pregnant , and all she cares about is getting pregnant

  48. I had been on Nuva Ring (estrogen and progesterone) for several years but I was no longer eligible to assistance from Planned Parenthood. The nurse practitioner prescribed a much cheaper birth control but it made me extremely suicidal. I had to quit birth control because it was a life or death decision. My libido went way up and I lost 5 Lbs (not desirable side effects for me). I miss my birth control

  49. I am a trans guy and ever since I have watched YouTuber Hannah Witton's Hormone Diaries, I have been considering the progesterone only pill because it has potential to stop my periods. While flow stopping isn't a guarantee, it is less risky than with testosterone and less expensive in America (for now). I was concerned about the depression aspect because I have clinical depression BUT, I know it would help me if I could find a way to stop Aunt Flo especially as I am not ready to take T.
    Anyone who has thoughts, anecdotes, and opinions can leave them down in the comments. I a, pretty new to how hormones work.

  50. This freaked out my mom when she found this study. I suffer from an anxiety disorder and have some depression that became slightly more severe when I changed birth controls. She wants me to talk to my doctor and ask if my birth control could have something to do with it. This video made me more willing to take her advice and talk with my doctor about this the next time I see her. Thanks Kristin

  51. Was wondering if you have a boyfriend  or husband   ? or girlfriend or wife? or if you even want one or the other? Your shirt  Property of no one    what does that mean?  if its just a shirt   cool.  but if your wearing it to make a statement  what is the statement?  does it mean you are not the property of any one  meaning you are single?   because just because a woman is in a relationship does not mean she is someone's property, or  does it mean you are in a relationship  but your no ones property? Anyway   love your take on life  and your vids.  . and I'm probably over thinking it    I do that  to much. Thanks for the videos.  I learn a lot about life  from your vids.

  52. I have personally found that taking a combined hormonal birth control pill drastically helped my depression. I still have fairly bad anxiety, but depression is almost a non-issue for me now. My family has a history of hormonal depression, and finding the right hormone combination and dose for each person has seemed to help. Sometimes, however, if this isn't quite right it has made it worse. Really does depend on if your method and dose are right for your body.

  53. 80%?? That's absolutely ridiculous!!
    Young girls should NOT be put under that risk. I understand the other points, but jeez!!

  54. I didn't realize this was even a question. I went on progesterone-only birth control and that fucked with my mood so bad I ended up in an eating disorder clinic.

  55. Women make different mate choices depending on whether they are on hormonal birth control or not. Perhaps this was a factor in the massive divorce rates of the 1970's-1990's?

  56. The synthetic hormones in BC basically shut down your own hormones. Your natural hormones do a zillion things in your body and one of those things is to help maintain mood. Estrogen and serotonin are directly linked- low estrogen=low serotonin. Progesterone (the natural stuff not synthetic progestins) are linked with gaba which help keep your mood calm and stable. No progesterone= anxiety. Please check out Dr. Phyllis Bronson's book "Moods, Emotions & Aging: Hormones and the Mind Body Connection." Great book a woman of any age. Also see "The Period Repair Manual" by Lara Briden. Also "The Female Brain Gone Insane" by Mia Lundin and "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross. These are amazing books! And yes, I'm a bit crazy:)

  57. last month I got my hormonal birth control taken out. I started to notice afterwards I was less emotional, anxious and depressed. I had these feelings throughout my life so thought it was me but now realise it was the iud. Even the people around me noticed the huge difference in my attitude.

  58. i took the pill for years when i was in high school/ middle school. i have severe depressoin when i was 14 but i dont think its related because im not on the pill anymore and still deal with depression. im trying to limit the amount of meds i take because im already on antidepressents so i decieded to stop taking the pill. but being on the pill was not fun because of all its annoying side afffects

  59. At least the pill can reduce period pain. Before I went on the pill my period pain was agony, but now I hardly ever get any period pain at all!

  60. I was wondering if you have to take birth control. I know it isn't mandatory but it does help. Cause there are different options (I was planning on using spermicide, condoms and the pullout method btw never tried yet, not ashamed.) to do to prevent.pregnancy. I hope I got this question out right

  61. To all the men who think this is just some excuse for women to act shitty, IT'S NOT. Okay? Got it? With the amount of women complaining about this, it should be taken seriously. I am so so so so so so so so so so so so sick of being on this goddamn pill and having to pay for therapy because of it. The medical field needs to take some responsibility. But noooo. The world is run by men who think it's okay to prescribe something that will make a person go crazy and even end their life. And with the Copenhagen study they're still saying, "ohhhh MAYBE it causes depression." YOU HAVE THE RESULTS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES HOW CAN YOU NOT READ?????!!!!!!!! DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.

  62. I'm so SO thankful I am not the only one who experienced an increase of anxiety on the pill. I had to go off them because I had one of the worst rebounds I've ever had while taking a low estrogen pill (the higher estrogen pill was giving me headaches). I'm now off the pill completely but it took me months to recover. Look, the anxiety may not have been caused by the pill but I'm wondering if it was the source. Thanks for your openness, ladies!

  63. Yes it does… the nurses wouldn't up me on a type of birth control because I already had depression. All depends on which one type

  64. When I first started birth control (Ortho Cyclen) my mood became better. My anxiety levels dropped and I was stable. I have now been on it for almost a year and the last 4 months I have noticed an increase in my anxiety, mood swings like I never had before, and depression to the point of not wanting to get out of bed a few days out of the month. Not sure what to do at this point.

  65. Been trying out different birth control to try and help my anxiety and depression. The combined one spiked my anxiety waaay high and I had to stop taking it and now I'm on the progesterone only one which seems to be helping my anxiety but worsening my depression. I just can't win lol

  66. I appreciate the good public service you're doing here by providing readily accessible information about birth control… but like… please tone down the whole "relating to the youth" vibe, it's very transparent and grating and not at all engaging, coming from an actual youth :/

  67. I'm not sexually active, but I've been taking hormonal birth control to regulate my menstral cycle. In 2016 I was on my period for 3 weeks (Yes, my parents were informed about my heavy period after the first week. By the 3rd I was pale and weak asf so they then decided to take me to the hospital) and I needed a blood transfusion. The doctors gave me the BC, iron and vitamin c pills. I'm saying this cause I wanna know if there's other women out there taking the pills for period reasons. I feel weird popping birth control everyday and I'm not controlling a birth.

  68. My girlfriend is taking diane-35 for acne and every since she started taking it she's become completely irrational and because it does help her with her acne she denies her very obvious and extreme mood swings

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