Birth control is a tricky thing. While going on birth control can cause mood swings for some, it can have the opposite effect on others, helping them stabilize mood swings they may typically experience leading up to their period.
If you’re seeking birth control for your mood, you should speak with a healthcare professional to assess your circumstances and select the best option, as birth control can cause worsening mood symptoms for people with a history of depressive symptoms.
If your moods are all over the place when your period’s approaching, birth control might provide the mood stability you’re looking for. It just may take some experimenting to find which options work for you (and unfortunately, through trial by error, which may make them worse).
Some methods are definitely better than others when it comes to mood, so we’re digging in deep to help you find the best of the best.
Choosing birth control for mood stability is about more than just the hormones. Here are some important things to consider when narrowing down your choices.
Some methods might require a pelvic exam
Some birth control methods, for instance, intrauterine devices (IUDs), require a pelvic exam.
Pelvic exams can be a trigger for some transgender men and nonbinary folks with gender dysphoria, and they can be traumatic for survivors of sexual abuse. So this may affect your decision when considering birth control options.
You don’t have to stick to the same method forever
You want to make the right choice, but don’t stress too hard. It’s not like you need to commit to the same method forever.
If one birth control method doesn’t have the impact you’re after, causes too many side effects, or you just don’t like it, you can always switch to another.
Some — not all — methods may require a guardian’s consent
Rather not let a parent or guardian in on your birth control? We get it.
You can get birth control in most states without a guardian’s consent, but not with all healthcare professionals.
Contact a local clinic or trusted healthcare professional before making an appointment to learn more about your state’s laws. Thanks to confidentiality laws, they can’t share what you discuss.
If you’re hoping to have your birth control covered by a parent or guardian’s health insurance, call the insurance provider first to ask if the services you access will show up on your parent or guardian’s statement.
Your other option is to pay out of pocket or try to access free or lower cost birth control in your area.
Birth control costs vary widely
Birth control options for mood stability range in cost from free to well over $1,000. How much you’ll pay — if anything — depends on your location, your annual income, and any health insurance coverage you may have.
As well, some methods last longer and might be more cost-effective in the long run.
If you need help covering the cost, many family planning clinics and health centers have programs to help subsidize the cost. (Details in a minute.)
All birth control methods have something going for them, but not every method will be the cat’s pajamas for you. It comes down to different variables and which matter to you most.
Here’s how they measure up in terms of accessibility, ease of use, and more.
If accessibility is what you’re after, these options are the easiest to get your mitts on.
These options include:
Most effective at boosting mood stability
Some research shows that most hormonal birth control methods can positively impact premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, like mood swings, but those containing lower amounts of androgenic progestins may have
This — at least partly — explains why one type of birth control gets top honors as most effective for mood stability.
Yaz, a combination birth control pill, is currently the only birth control pill approved to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It contains drospirenone, a fourth generation progestin with low androgenic activity.
Other birth control methods that work well at keeping hormones — and your moods — in a steady state include:
Extended or continuous dose birth control pills win the popularity contest thanks to the long period-free intervals. No period typically means no PMS symptoms, like mood swings.
The minipill is up there, too, because it ticks a lot of boxes as far as birth control perks, like being easy to use and enjoying a lighter flow.
Every body is different, and some are more sensitive to hormones than others. Just because certain methods work wonders on mood stability for some, it doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone.
Birth control with lower amounts of androgenic progestins, like Yaz for example, may have fewer adverse effects on mood.
Asking yourself these pertinent Qs before choosing a type of birth control for mood stability will help you narrow down your options and find what’s right for you.
How well does it work for this purpose?
Finding a birth control that’s effective in the pregnancy prevention department is important, obvs.
But if mood stability is your main goal, that’s something you need to consider and mention to your healthcare professional, since not all methods have the same effect.
Is it easy to use?
Ease of use is definitely worth considering, because it can impact your ability to take as directed for the best results.
For instance, if you’re always on the go, you’d probably benefit from a method that you don’t need to remember to take daily.
And since some options involve more than popping a pill, consider how comfortable you are with a method — like, say, a birth control ring that you need to insert yourself or a birth control shot that’s administered using a needle.
What are the potential side effects?
Like any other medication, birth control can cause side effects.
Learn the potential side effects of the options you’re considering to determine if any are dealbreakers.
Does it have any other benefits?
Not all side effects are bad. Some birth control methods offer some pretty awesome perks that are worth considering.
How much does it cost?
Money matters, so remember to factor in the cost of the medication or device and any related doctor’s appointments.
Remember, you may have options to help you get your birth control for a lot less or even free, depending on:
- where you live
- if you have health insurance
- if you qualify for Medicaid or another government program
How will it affect any preexisting conditions?
If you have any preexisting conditions, you’ll want to talk with a healthcare professional about how different birth control might impact your condition or any medications you take.
This is especially important if you have a history of depression, PMS, PMDD, or another mood disorder, since some people have reported a worsening of symptoms after starting hormonal contraceptives.
A good place to start is with your healthcare professional, if you already have one you like.
You have other options, too:
Can birth control stabilize mood?
In short, yes.
But it depends on the type of birth control, the hormones involved, and how your body reacts. The best place to start may be a birth control with low androgenic activity.
It’s best to talk with a healthcare professional about your options. Make sure to specify you’re hoping for something to help with mood swings and stabilization.
Why does my period give me mood swings?
Mood swings can occur due to hormonal fluctuations throughout your cycle. Estrogen and progesterone drop when your body releases its egg during ovulation, and this can impact your serotonin levels, which play a role in your emotional and mental health.
Different people have different sensitivities to hormonal fluctuation and levels of serotonin, so some may experience more severe mood swings than others.
What are some natural remedies for mood swings during menstruation?
However, it can take several cycles for levels to build up in your body to have an impact. Regular exercise, resisting too much junk food, and getting quality sleep may also help.
Need more info? Check out these handy articles:
- “Birth Control Can Cause Mood Swings — Here’s What You Should Know” by Lauren Sharkey
- “Birth Control May Help or Even Worsen PMS — Here’s How to Deal” by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst (That’s me!)
- “How to Find the Best Birth Control Method for Your Lifestyle” by Gabrielle Kassel
- “How to Access Free or Low-Cost Birth Control in Each State” by Gabrielle Kassel
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.