Is Birth Control Depressing the Hell Out of You?

You are not alone.


It took me around seven years of navigating shitty side effects and just as many forms of hormonal birth control before I settled on not taking the pill, full stop. Each new prescription brought on a new symptom, from the somewhat mild (acne, weight gain, mood swings) to the truly life-altering (dizziness, migraines, depression). What’s perhaps more impressive than the length of my BC battle is how far into it I journeyed before I got really fucking angry.

Yesterday, a new study came out from JAMA Psychiatry that links use of hormonal contraceptives to subsequent use of anti-depressants. “They found that women who used combination oral contraceptives, a.k.a. the pill, were 23 percent more likely to take an antidepressant than women who didn’t use hormonal birth control,” reports The Cut. The study goes on to unearth further complexity — that in some cases the depression dropped off after a few years, for instance — but the conclusion remains. And it’s one most of us have always known sans proof: birth control does galaxies more to your body than stop pregnancy.

Some of the effects are positive. I know plenty of women for whom the pill relieved terrible struggles (debilitating periods, for instance). And in no parallel universe, let alone ours, would I vote to pass legislation that makes access to contraception more difficult. But the burden of hormonal BC needs to be more widely recognized. Swallowing a pill every day only to watch as your body revolts is a special kind of demoralizing. Far worse is being told by your doctor that the misery you’re feeling is normal and may or may not disappear in half a year. The right pill for you, we’re told, might ruin your life until it settles into your system.

True, reproductive health and family planning is incredibly important. Also true: the onus for the latter often falls on women.

One doctor thinks we ought not to overreact to JAMA’s findings. “An unintended and unwanted pregnancy far outweighs all the other side effects that could occur from a contraceptive,” Dr. Cora Breuner, a Seattle pediatrician and chair of the committee on adolescents for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told Kaiser Health News.

I’m loathe to call “GASLIGHTING” on a female pediatrician, but I can’t help but feel frustrated with this line of thinking. It’s the very same mindset that kept me from prioritizing my own health, both physical and mental, for so many years in my own journey to stopping a baby from growing in me. The socio-economical consequences of unwanted pregnancies are not to be discounted, but neither are the often crippling consequences of hormonal birth control.

The normalization of birth control’s side effects kept me suffering quietly for far too long. We need more studies like these and we need more options for both women and men. Are you on hormonal birth control? Have you felt marginalized or isolated by the experience or have you been unaffected?

Photographed by Susan Wood via Getty Images.


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  • Maddie

    An unwanted/unplanned pregnancy is way worse than any debilitating symptom that can come from birth control? That is so offensive! Prioritize your own health standards. I think practicing safe sex is very important, however there are other methods that don’t effect your mood or body in the aggressive way that BC does. I was depressed, overweight and highly emotional when I was on the pill, which consumed my life in an extremely negative way. I would take an unplanned pregnancy over that ANY day.

    • Haley Nahman

      For sure offensive!!

    • Natalie

      Amen, sista!

  • Claire Simonis

    Thank you for doing a feature on this!!! I had the exact same experience, Haley. From weight gain, to serious chin acne (isolated to that pesky hormonal area thankfully but still painful and disheartening) and, most scarily, depression. I didn’t realise how muted everything felt until I went off the Pill and started feeling things again.
    I hate the notion that I am deemed “irresponsible” for choosing not to go on the Pill. Choosing my own physical and mental health feels very responsible to me.
    This may be wayyyy too personal, but if you don’t mind sharing, what do you use as contraception? Condoms alone, natural family planning, ye olde coitus interruptus?

    • Haley Nahman

      A variety!

  • Molly D

    On the flip side, some doctors say the pill can regulate mood and women may feel better ON it. There are just so many variables and so many combinations of hormones in these pills so the whole thing kind of feels like an experimental crap-shoot.

    A good friend recently said, “I am fucked up on birth control, and I am fucked up off birth control.” Either way, it’s good to have something to blame.

    • Haley Nahman

      Cosigning experimental crap-shoot

  • tricar

    I’m currently dealing with this. I’m in a relationship and, being the compulsive planner that I am, would like to utilize birth control, but how many rounds of new pills with different side effects do I need to go through? The anxiety of having to figure it out through trial and error is enough to make me crazy, but adding migraines, nausea, and very unwelcome body changes have me feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin. Plainly, it sucks. We should just jump on Jill Soloway’s quest to topple the patriarchy and make this shit easier.

    • Haley Nahman

      The trial and error. UGH. So so daunting.

  • Alicia Carolina Meichtry

    I experienced many negatives consequences from taking “the pill”. The first one I took brought me nausea (you don´t want to feel that way EVERY DAY), I even left the gynecologist that prescribed me those without any questions or exams for not taking proper notice of my complaints about it. The nausea stopped with other pills, but everyone gave me lack of lust and desire for sexual intercourse (and what´s the reason for taking them, then?), circulatory issues with notorious increase of celulitis, and general body swelling. None of these symptons were told before they ocurred by my ginecologists. I rely in comdons ever since.

    • Haley Nahman

      YEP. So. many. side effects.

      • Leslie Price

        When I had weird symptoms I asked if they were related to BC and my doctor was like “there are so many symptoms of BC that it could be, there are thousands.” Seemed fucked up. I got melasma. I know someone who got a blood clot on a plane and now has to be really careful; BC increases your risk.

        • Alicia Carolina Meichtry

          YES. I forgot the worst: I friend´s cousin had a brain stroke who resulted in her death -after many months in coma- in the middle of her thirties. She did not had the healthiest eating habits, was a little bit overweight, and did no excercise. But the doctors pointed the pill as a huge risk factor in this kind of diseases, for people with circulation disfunctions: she shouldn´t have been taking them in her condition. I find that, at least in my country, doctors prescribe those BC methods far too freely as if they were harmless, and without proper tests previously.

  • romina_c

    Thank you for sparking a conversation that is so important for both men and women. I’ve been thinking about this lately and not many people agrees with me on thinking the pill ruins your day-to-day life. Besides contraception, I need pills to control my period, but I hope I can find a method that makes me feel safe and OK at the same time. I feel women make their bodies suffer to not suffer an unwanted pregnancy. So much suffering everywhere it’s ridiculous, and it’s always our fault no matter what we choose. We need more women in science!

    • Haley Nahman


  • Alana Schwartz

    I HATE BEING A SLAVE TO A SMALL FLECK OF HORMONES!! Has anyone loved/had horror stories about the non-hormonal copper IUD? I love the concept but I don’t know if that would open Pandora’s box of teenage acne and inconsistent periods?

    • Haley Nahman

      I haven’t! But have heard mixed reviews. I did try Mirena for a while, but it made me depressed. And the insertion was some of the first pain I’ve ever felt (they said it mimics childbirth). Sigh.

    • Rhia B.

      After years of Depo, I finally got sick of the weight gain and feeling like a total slug, and switched to the copper IUD. I wanted no more artificial hormones in my body, thank you very much. It was painful as hell to get put in (I might have passed out for a sec), and I felt like I’d been kicked HARD in the uterus for a few days. After about a month I started to feel normal, started getting my period again (didn’t get it for years while on depo). It took a bit longer to feel like I wasn’t gaining weight anymore or feeling like a slug. But I didn’t get acne, my period comes every 26 days, and I only notice the thing when I go looking for it.

      Tips: 1) go to a women’s clinic where they put them in all of the time, NOT your regular doctor. You want someone with a boatload of experience to do the procedure, and 2) don’t give up during that shitty month where you feel pretty terrible, and get it taken out. It WILL get better.

    • CayC

      I have the copper IUD. It is amazing. Best decision I have made.

      Copper IUDs don’t generally cause acne or inconsistent periods, because they don’t affect your hormones – they can cause heavier periods for the first six or so months. I was concerned about this, but talked to my doctor and she was basically like “it’ll be heavier for a few months, but I have literally never had one person come back to me and ask me to take it out because of that.”

      It did hurt a bit when I got it inserted, but if that was the most painful event of my life, as some people seem to say, then I will consider myself EXTREMELY lucky. I would try to time it with your period, as it is easier to dilate your cervix then. I did take a half day off of work to get it done, which I would recommend, but I went out that night and was fine.

      Most of my friends (who are in their 20s, living in NYC) have IUDs at this point, and not one woman I know has regretted it – which is a much better track record than I’ve seen (anecdotally) for the Pill.

      But I would really recommend getting yourself a trusted OB/GYN and having a candid conversation with them, if it’s possible, about your concerns and what route is best for your body.

    • Natalie

      I switched from hormonal contraceptive pills (Loestrin 24 Fe) to the Paraguard (copper, non-hormonal) IUD in February 2016. I’d love to tell you that I’m 100% in love with my decision, but that’s simply not true yet. 7 months in, and I’m still not sure I’ll keep the IUD.

      Yes, the initial insertion was PAINFUL. But short-lived. The worst part for me is the effects that came after. My period went from non-existent/very light to a much heavier 7-10 day flow. I also have some new hormonal acne popping up up on my chin. The worst part is the terribly painful cramps I experience before and during my period. I also get ovulation cramping (technically called mittleschmerz, who knew?). And sometimes I cramp after intercourse (usually only if we go longer, harder or deeper though). So even though I’m off hormonal pills, I’m popping ibuprofen a bit more that I’d like to at the moment.

      My plan is to stick it out for an entire year, as the period cramping seems to get a little better every month. Many women love the coppper IUD, and I hope one day I will too!

      All in all, I think it’s something you’ll need to discuss with your doctor. Every woman is different, so perhaps your doctor (as well as some outside research) can help you make this decision. All the best on your contraception journey!

  • Molly D

    Chastity is another alternative except the side effects are mood swings.

    • Haley Nahman


  • AJ

    I find it really frustrating when we equate birth control with combined hormonal pills. There are so many different contraceptives right now, each with different side effect profiles and potential benefits. The rise in popularity of other options, such as IUDs and implants, is beginning to shift the conversation, but so many providers still aren’t taking the time to sit down with their patients and really discuss their life priorities, the non-contraceptive benefits of different birth control options, what potential side effects they would or would not tolerate, and how those change across the lifespan. I do think that one step everyone can take to normalize other forms of contraception is to be careful with our language and not use the umbrella term “birth control” when we really mean one subset of that category.

    • Haley Nahman

      Really interesting point! Duly noted going forward.

      • AJ

        Thanks 🙂 Those side effects can really suck and women should be informed about all options in order to make the best decision for themselves!

  • Gwyn

    crap i’ve been on BC for 3 years because of horrible periods and had to go on prozac earlier this year….

    • annie holland

      me too.

    • Emily Gregor


  • annie holland

    THIS IS ESSENTIAL!!!!!!!! I literally cried when I read this article because I have been through hell and back the last 10 years dealing with birth control. The pill, the nuva ring, to the IUD, back to the pill. I started taking antidepressants three months ago. Some days I feel fine, but mostly depressed and confused as to why I feel so anxiety ridden and sad. It makes me beyond disheartened and pissed off at the healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies that have shoved birth control down the throats of women since they were teenagers. We are told by society AND OUR DOCTORS that having an unplanned pregnancy makes us irresponsible, but feeling suicidal is normal and that it will pass if we keep taking the pill. Or being told we are “crazy and irrational” when we experience mood swing from the hormones that are being pumped into our bodies. It is not okay. Thank you Haley for sharing this with us. The Man Repeller community stands united!

  • Andrea

    I also wonder if women who use prescription birth control are also more likely to seek out mental health treatment, accounting for some of the correlation? The study also notes that women on BC ended up with lower rates of depression than non-BC-users after 4-7 years.

    not to discount your experiences! I am very lucky to have dealt with few side effects from 7 years on the pill, but I recently switched to the Nuvaring after getting tired of taking a pill every day and was frustrated that I was spotting for weeks on end. (It’s now under control!) I don’t know how I would have felt about sex during my years on the pill if the act of protecting myself from pregnancy felt nauseating.

    • Rebekah

      This is a REALLY great point, the line between correlation and causation is sometimes hard to see. Maybe women on hormonal birth control see their doctors more often? Maybe it’s a matter of having the insurance to see a gyno in the first place, thus making it easier for them to also see doctors for their mental health, a luxury uninsured women likely can’t afford? Then again it might be that messing around with a delicate balance of hormones really does trigger depression in some women. Maybe a mix of both. There are a lot of factors to consider here.

  • Taste of France

    After living in France for a while, I was at my gynecologist to renew my prescription for the pill. “Why don’t you get an IUD?” she asked. I shuddered. She said “Oh, right, you’re American. Americans have an unfounded fear of IUDs.” A week later, I was back to get an IUD. She basically shamed me into doing it. I left her office feeling like Angelica Huston’s character after getting beaten with bags of oranges in the movie “The Grifters.” But….two days later, I was fine. And that continued for 10 GLORIOUS YEARS of NO PERIODS and NO PILLS. Not even quadruple chocolate ice cream with croissants, éclairs and pumpkin pie spice somehow integrated can top NO PERIODS. I had a Mirena, which emits a teeny tiny amount of progesterone, and which is responsible for NO PERIODS. I thought IUDs were appropriate only for women who had had children BUT I discovered that my French friends had gotten their teenage daughters to insert IUDs as fail-safe birth control. My info was out of date.
    All that said, a friend, who along with her twin sister are the product of the Catholic rhythm method, was having terrible migraines and stopped the pill. She uses fertility awareness method, which isn’t too far from rhythm, but really more for getting pregnant than not, but it can work either way. It takes a lot of guts, determination and cooperation, however.
    All that said, she has periods and I didn’t. For TEN GLORIOUS YEARS. That extends to no PMS. Pure heaven.

    • Taste of France

      BTW, if you want good scientific info about birth control, consult the Guttmacher Institute.

    • PlaidandPrejudice

      I am so jealous. I had Mirena for 6 months and it was non-stop bleeding for me. I had it checked out to make sure it was in right (it was) and they discovered it had caused me to develop ovarian cysts! They weren’t causing the bleeding, but I decided that was the final straw and had it removed. It was a very expensive mistake for me to get the IUD. I know a lot of people have great luck with it, but man, when it goes wrong, it really goes wrong.

      • Taste of France

        Wow! The copper-T, which has no hormones, can cause more bleeding but usually the Mirena makes bleeding stop. Honestly, despite the great advances in health care under Obamacare, the U.S. is in the dark ages, especially regarding contraception. In France, you go in, you pay 1/3 of the cost to the doctor (which comes to about €7) and you don’t pay for the contraception. An IUD is cheaper in the long run for everybody, but because in the U.S. women have to pay upfront, it seems expensive. And if it doesn’t work out, as for you, ouch. Totally unfair. Sex takes two (and if you’re lesbians, you don’t need contraception). Where do guys pay their share? They are free riders in the U.S.

        • PlaidandPrejudice

          My insurance paid for the cost of insertion and the IUD itself, but the additional appointments to get it checked out and removed, and the ultrasound to see if it was in place cost me nearly a thousand dollars out of pocket. Yeah, I really wanted it to work, based on my friends’ recommendations, but my body just hated it.

          • I’m sorry to hear that happened to you! That’s probably the shittiest aspect to birth control – one size definitely does NOT fit all, and it can be a long, painful process to find what does work! I hope you find something that works better for you!

    • Ah, the French…they know their shit, apparently! I’ve lived in 2 different states in the U.S. and had VERY different conversations with doctors about IUDs.

      One state wouldn’t even entertain the idea of giving me one because I was married with no kids. They even said I’d have to get my husband to sign off that he’s cool with the possibility of never having kids (because I guess that’s a potential side effect?). Oh, and they refused to put in a claim to my insurance for it, and even lied and said my insurance wouldn’t cover it (they would…I checked). Way to make a girl feel like she’s in control of her own life!

      The other state has already told me it’s perfectly safe, covered by insurance, and they could do the procedure that day if I really wanted. They also didn’t give a shit whether I was married or had kids already. In fact, my doctor still wants me to consider it because I had high blood pressure the last time I went in, and I might.

      Thankfully the fear-mongering over IUDs is getting better, and conversations like these are a great place to start!

      • Taste of France

        That’s insane. In fact, the great thing about IUDs (aside from no periods with the Mirena), and not having to remember to take a pill every day is that when you want to have kids, you just have it taken out. It takes two minutes. No side effects. Completely reversible.

        • I know, it’s absolutely nuts the way some people still treat women about their bodies. I’m seriously considering the IUD option, and I’m so glad that I live somewhere that is more open to discussing it with me!

  • CayC

    You are equating birth control and the Pill in this article, and they are not one and the same. A copper IUD is birth control and does not have much in the way of a chemical impact on your whole body. Even a hormonal IUD does not have the widespread impact that some people have with the Pill, as its hormonal dose is localized. A condom is birth control, and that does basically nothing to your body (and a condom is ALWAYS a fairly reliable option, which seems to be overlooked, if you do not want to be on hormonal birth control).

    You also need to realize that a doctor who is a pediatrician is likely seeing pregnancy in one of THE worst ways it presents itself – in children, i.e. teenagers under the age of 18, where it is life-altering in an often devastating way. So let’s give her a break, because pediatricians in this country often have to fight tooth-and-nail against a culture that still widely promotes abstinence-only sex education, because they see the effects of it first-hand. Also, it seems like, having read the article, she is talking more generally about birth control’s positive impact on our society, which does outweigh the individual cases of side-effects (which certainly happen and must be treated/dealt with).

    I think that the main issue with this is that doctors need to be better at working with their patients on identifying what method of birth control is right for them. But we need to put this in perspective. We can trace so many advances we have made as women back to the Pill and having a reliable method of family planning – there is a reason why women’s rights escalated so rapidly starting in the 60s. So I would actually say the doctor is not wrong – the benefits of controlling pregnancies do, as a whole for our society, outweigh the negatives. You need to find the birth control method that is right for you, and we are lucky, these days, to have so many options.

    I would have loved to have seen a few more expert opinions in this article, maybe from an actual OB/GYN or a representative from Planned Parenthood, as they prescribe birth control to so many women and see the effects of it firsthand.

  • Bethany

    I stopped having suicidal urges after going on BC, so that was nice.

  • Emma

    For women taking birth control pills solely as contraception, I definitely think it’s wise to consider options that won’t tamper with your body chemistry. But I started using hormonal birth control to correct a hard wired, likely genetic hormonal imbalance– which meant I often wasn’t getting periods at all, and the anxiety from that alone was significant. I can’t say with certainty that the pill doesn’t contribute to my emotional ups and downs, but I do know that I had plenty of those before. And at least now I feel more in control of my body. I guess that part is key– if the pill is more debilitating than it is empowering, seek an alternative!

  • MT

    Long story short, a few different experiments with using hormonal birth control pills all made me perfectly happy to use condoms forever in my monogamous, child-free by choice marriage. This has been sanctioned by my healthcare provider who said, and I’m quoting here, “Honestly the most statistically effective birth control I see around here is condoms combined with natural family planning.” The pill exacerbated my anxiety in a remarkable way while also completely eliminating my sex drive, the net result of which was paying $50 a month to be cray and never have sex. No, thanks.

  • Andrea Raymer

    I recently started thinking about this after one of my friends told me that she is afraid to take hormonal birth control after she was told that another friend experienced a lot of mood changes while on it. I had never considered this before. I have been taking hormones to treat ovarian cysts for 8 years. I am not, nor have I ever been sexually active but have been on the pill for such a long time, regardless. I have also struggled with depression for quite a while and never thought the two could be correlated.

    I recently switched my prescription and went about two months without it and definitely didn’t feel more like myself. Suddenly I was crying every single time I saw a puppy or a baby. I think my body had gotten so used to the hormones that without them it suddenly thought it was time to reproduce.

    • Kar

      Same here! Have been taking birth control pills as a treatment for PCO for the last 6 years and now I am thinking about trying a different medication for it. But I am so afraid of how my body, and mind, will react to the change!

  • Anni

    This is why I have mixed feelings on CA’s new BC law that will allow you to get over the counter BC (the monthly pill) without a doctor’s note; I want to make it easier for women without insurance, women who live in households where they cannot let others know they are sexually active, women who live in rural areas to get BC, but I don’t love the idea that it could drastically drop the number of gyno visits (let’s face it, a lot of people only go to the doctor’s to refill a prescription/urgent visit, especially if they don’t have health insurance), and I don’t like you wouldn’t get the consultancy you usually get when you sit down with a actual doctor.

    I’m really lucky in that the standardized hormone dosage for what I take is perfect, and that I get 0 negative side effects but I know so many other women that are on the opposite end and they only get it right after a few different trials of different dosages and medicine and these alterations do need to be prescribed.

    • Taste of France

      In many (third world) countries, women choose Depo Provera and other long-term methods exactly because they have less risk of being found out. However, it seems that Depo, for example, can be difficult because one is getting a big shot of hormones at once. it does seem better to have something that is at a very low level every day, whether that’s a pill, an implant that releases hormones slowly, or an IUD. Which makes sense–tweaking a little all the time would be less disruptive than a big, occasional readjustment.
      One of the completely non-hormonal methods, which if used CORRECTLY can be effective, is the condom. But it requires the cooperation of the man.

  • Rebekah

    Isn’t the rollercoaster of side effects the best part? I went on the pill in my mid-twenties to help with really heavy periods and a bevy of hormonal issues I guess I was so used to that I never noticed that they were a problem. My painful seemingly uncontrollable acne cleared up within a month, and over the course of the next couple of years my periods were three days long and I lost four dress sizes without trying. I had more energy, songbirds helped me get dressed in the morning, it was a magical time. Then out of nowhere I started getting really terrible headaches, and my gyno casually told me that I was so hypertensive that I was easily at risk of having a stroke right there in her office. So, new pill, this time the mini pill. My blood pressure went back down, my acne came roaring back, my periods were suddenly unpredictable, and icing on the cake, my hair started falling out. After about two months I decided enough was enough and quit taking hormonal bc entirely. It’s been about three years now with no bc and I’m right back where I was before I ever started it. Ridiculous constant acne, heavy periods, and all the weight I lost on the pill came right back. I always hear about the hard time women have with the pill but honestly, if it weren’t for the hypertension it caused I’d be back on it in a heartbeat. Maybe my natural hormones are just a nightmare but I felt 100% better on it and have considered during especially bad periods if it would be worth it to go back on the pill and just take medication for the blood pressure issues I know it’ll cause.

    • the fox forgot

      Dude!! I totally relate to your story.

      They took me off the combo pill because of my (unrelated, hereditary,life long) migraines. Put me on mini pill. Acne galore! They tried to put me on another pill to treat the acne (spironolactone) and I could not deal with the pee- inducing side effects.

      So I took to the internet and ordered the combo pill, because my insurance won’t let me go back to it.

  • Brittni

    I took hormonal BC pill from ages 17-24. Those years were an emotional rollercoaster. I just assumed it was because I was at a transitional age and that everyone feels like that. I was depressed and riddled with anxiety, seeing a therapist and taking Prozac. After being single for a few years I decided to stop taking the pill as I became less sexually active. This was the best decision of my life. After a few months I felt like a sheet had been lifted off me, allowing me to see the world as a normal human. I experience normal ups and downs, but the ups are more frequent and the lows aren’t as low. Quitting birth control gave me my life back! Although I still do not want to become pregnant, I have thought about getting an IUD but since my life and moods and health has been so good I don’t know if I want to risk anything now!

  • Kelsi

    Copper IUD 7 years and counting. Yes, I bleed like a Quentin Tarantino film every month, but at least I know my moods are because of real life events and lifestyle, not synthetic drugs.

  • M

    Here’s my story in case anyone can relate- I was on a low hormone birth control for 11+ years from age 18 to 30. I decided to go off of it in March of last year at the age of 30 to start trying for a baby. By the time June rolled around I started have full on panic disorder that made me feel like I was slowly being tortured and was sucking all of the life out of me. I was getting so anxious I’d vomit, feel like I was literally going crazy, shake uncontrollably and lots of other fun symptoms. I started going to therapy and tried as many alternatives as I could: acupuncture, exercise, essential oils (silly but I was desperate), diet (I was vegetarian and started eating meat thinking maybe my body lacked vitamins and minerals I needed), blood tests, etc… I obsessively started researching and fully believe that it was triggered by going off of birth control and my hormones adjusting to having to now balance themselves on their own after 11 years of being balanced with a medication. I found other people that were experiencing the same thing. After 9 long months of torment I finally succumbed to taking medication. I just couldn’t go on like that. I am now on a low dose of anxiety medicine and have been on it for 6 months. I feel like myself again and the foggy lenses have been cleared. I don’t intend to be on it forever, but just until I feel that my body has balanced out. It has been a savior to me and I wish I didn’t fight going on medication for so long. I almost fully blame the birth control for this and will never ever ever take it again.

  • Lo

    Amen to all of this. I was at the gyno a few months back, lamenting the fact that my teeny tiny loloestrin fe pill was killing my libido (oh, the irony..) and making me feel like a crazy person, among other things. On my previous visit I expressed interest in a non-hormonal birth control method like the copper IUD, but was quickly discouraged because the doctor said most people have horrible periods, and that the hormonal forms were much better. On this visit, I explained that I thought the loloestrin was giving me the aforementioned side effects (I had been taking it for almost 2 years, putting up with the side effects because it seemed to be working okay, trying to look on the bright side of clear skin and no weight gain) so she gave me another prescription for another pill, I jokingly asked if it would cost a million dollars, to which she laughingly replied with a comment about how bad her insurance was and it was free for her, i accepted this and I was on my way, filled with optimism. All the while I was thinking back to the visit, and how it seemed evident that not taking birth control or having an IUD was completely out of the question…

    You know where this is going. The specific form of pill she prescribed was shockingly high, but a generic form was less (but still) expensive. I had asked in the office earlier if she would take the generic version and she said no, because the percentage that must be the same as the brand name pill is apparently very low..meaning you could have adverse reactions to the other ingredients, I assume, but I’m no doctor. The whole point of being prescribed this specific pill and dosage was to side step my exact side effects. Every body is completely different, so why should I be forced to take something that my insurance company covers even though it could be a bad choice for me. After talking to the insurance company, apparently I had to WRITE AND MAIL A LETTER requesting for my specific prescription to be covered, and if it was, I would find out within 14 business days, and it would only be covered for 3 months then I would have to repeat this appeal process over and over again…

    Don’t even get me started on the lack of transparency from insurance companies. I am grateful to be “well insured” by my employer, but it’s so frustrating to think that as an intelligent and educated individual, I felt like a needed an entire class on the ins and outs of health insurance. After a dozen phone calls with insurance company, my doctor, two conversations with the pharmacist, I literally was so angry at how difficult it was, that I just gave up and decided to pursue what I had known to do all along – nurture my body and allow it to get back to normal, whatever that may be, and just let myself “be” for awhile. I feel like now, it is a matter of principal, and that condoms should not be so stigmatized, particularly for people in long term monogamous relationships. Pardon my rant, but sometimes, it’s so hard to be a woman!

  • Sarsh

    I know people have different experiences, but I hate how comments on articles like this so quickly turn into pile-ons about the evils of hormonal birth control. My own experience is that from 14 to 24 I suffered from debilitating cramps and PMS symptoms including severe depression and anxiety, but whenever my doctor suggested hormonal birth control, I said “no” partly because of conversations like these. When I started developing unbearable migraines that coordinated with my periods, I finally agreed to give the pill a try. It changed my life. I can’t even begin to describe the positive effects it has had.

    Again, plenty of people have different, negative experiences with hormonal birth control, and we should all be given the opportunity to share those experiences and have them listened to, but please, please, please, please, please remember that there may be young women like I was reading and making decisions based on what we write, so let’s avoid speaking in absolutes.

    • Haley Nahman

      I agree — it does a lot of good for women too. Maybe the lesson is: pay attention to how it makes YOU feel, and trust that.

      • Agree 100%. It’s most important to listen to your body and be your own health advocate. It’s always helpful for me to hear other people’s experiences so I can see where I fall. Thanks for sharing, Haley!

      • Kayla Butler

        Absolutely! The fist couple of pills I tried were not good for me. I had terrible mood swings and was a psychotic monster. I talked to my doctor and we tried a few different things and eventually found the right one. It’s about knowing your body and having a good relationship with your doctor. They can’t help you if you don’t tell them what’s going on.

    • BK

      Excellent point! I was terrified of taking the pill when I first started it, namely because of all the internet stories/old wives’ tales I heard about it – and it turned out I had a perfectly ordinary experience on the cheapest available option. Also yes – v. v. important to keep in mind the young, highly influenced and inexperienced women out there embarking on their birth control voyage.

    • annie holland

      I agree that it does do good for a lot of women. However, it is important to give voice and support for the women who have suffered due to hormonal birth control. I do not think that it is speaking in absolutes to share the stories of women who had horrible experiences. I think Man Repeller is the perfect forum for all of us to share our stories, I wish I would have heard these stories before I spent ten years of my life struggling on birth control. Perhaps I would not have felt so alone.

    • Alice

      So true! Also, thinking quitting hormonal birth control would solve my depression and weight gain was a very naive thought. I remained depressed and gaining weight, but on top of that got acne (which made it even more difficult to leave the house)and my horrible yet completely random periods returned. I once bled through 2 pairs of pants in under an hour.

      I do think it’s very important to find the right one and not be afraid to voice our concerns to our doctors. I had terrible migraines while on several brands until I find one that didn’t cause them. Having predictable and mild periods is life changing.

    • A

      The author clearly addressed this within the body of the article.

      Also many other factors that lead a young woman to choose birth control. Availability helps.

  • Alice

    This is super duper cool to read this on MR, thanks y’all! I wish people were much more aware of the negative side birth control can have on some. Although, obvs it’s existence in the first place is phenomenal for women’s rights.. not saying no uterus, no opinion or anything but also not not saying that.

  • Emma

    I was on Sprintec for over a year and felt like dying everyday. Had no energy, I was helpless, crying, overweight, and stopped talking to my friends. By the time it was getting worse, decided to research online and found one of the side effects was depression. I really didn’t know what to do, it took me a couple of days to stop taking it. My biggest fear was to get pregnant on this mental state.
    The obgyn I had was not my favorite, and felt stupid going back to her with this news. I opened up to a nurse and found the right doctor. She told me that it was my pill and decided that I shouldn’t take any hormones. I completely agree and wear a copper paragard now and feel like myself again, which is the most important thing to me.

  • Thanks for sharing this Haley! I’ve been on the pill since I started dating my now-husband in 2014 and my side effects have ranged from increased bleeding (um why?) to weight gain, to decreased libido and just crazy out-of-body experiences at the beginning of the month. I don’t hate the pill, but the last two side effects can honestly be kinda scary. At the same time though, I’m even more terrified of the body and all type of envasiveness that I associate with the IUD. After telling my doctor about the situation and squirming my way through my last annual she suggested sticking to the pill, and I have. I wish that there was a happy medium – something that you don’t have to physically insert or have inserted inside yourself that also doesn’t make me feel like a crazy person 2 weeks a month.

    • Natalie

      Condoms! Like you, my body didn’t agree with the pill, and I wasn’t super interested in an IUD. So, my husband and I just use condoms and have for a while with no issues, not even any close calls. I think condoms are often touted as ineffective because of the opportunity for human error, but if you’re careful and use them correctly every time (which really isn’t that difficult), they’re actually very effective. We keep plan b handy just in case, but so far haven’t even come close to needed to use it. I was super nervous about using condoms only, thanks in part, I think, to abstinence only education which tries to scare kids by telling them how “ineffective” condoms are. But it’s been a few years and we’ve had no issues. And, honestly, after putting up with everything the pill entails – not just side effects but trips to the pharmacy, remembering to have my prescription refilled, etc. etc. – for YEARS, I figure my husband can deal/be in charge of our birth control now 😉

  • Abbsdabbs

    To echo/reinforce several comments, hormonal birth control pills are not the only form of birth control. (And there are many formulations of both single-hormone and combination pills, which will all have different effects on different people.) Condoms and copper IUDs are both totally hormone free, with IUDs being even more effective than having your tubes tied for preventing pregnancy (!!!!!) and condoms doing double duty preventing giving and getting many STIs. There are rings, patches, vaginal sponges, implants, several kinds of iuds, internal condoms, external condoms… THE BIRTH CONTROL WORLD IS HUGE! WONDERFUL! CONTAINING THE RIGHT METHOD FOR EVERY PERSON!

  • Jolie

    Hmmm, this is really interesting. I went on the pill 2.5 years ago after spending years suffering from debilitating periods, including cramps that made me pass out every month. I was nauseous everyday for two weeks and then it stopped, but I’ve been very prone to nausea since then, everything now makes me nauseous. I thought the pill was a miracle because my cramps went away, I could skip periods, I lost weight, and my sex drive improved dramatically.

    However, these past 2.5 years have been the most dramatic of my life, and the past year especially has been chock-full of depression, anxiety, and stress. It’s gotten so intense that I’ve gained weight, had panic attacks, had tons of medical problems, and sought out therapy. I don’t really have a good reason to be depressed, honestly, other than the fact that I’ve been looking for full-time employment since January. But I have part-time jobs and am doing okay with money, so why am I so depressed and stressed out that it’s affecting me physically?

    I never thought to connect it to my birth control but will absolutely talk to my gyno about this. I don’t feel like myself anymore and maybe this could be a contributing factor. Thanks for writing about this!!!

  • I went on birth control for a month and I hated it. I got terribly moody and got these giant pimples on my forehead which were pretty much impossible to hide. It was a ring and I got so crazy that I took it out earlier than I had to. Luckily no unwanted pregnancies then or since then. I don’t really want to take the pill or anything else because my experience was so horrible.

    • I wouldn’t discount other options if you really want to use contraception! Most of my friends who tried the ring absolutely hated it, and most gave up on it shortly after using it for the first time.

      There are so many options out there that if the ring didn’t work, something else definitely will!

  • Rachel Neilson

    I always love reading pieces like this because it gives me a new perspective on birth control issues. I gave up on the pill after two years because I tried 4 different types of pills which all had different side effects. Also dealing with my doctor and going every 3-6 months became such a hassle. It got to the point where I didn’t feel like me anymore on the pill and I hated having all these extra hormones that did not need to be in me. It’s often annoying having society make you feel like you’re being irresponsible for not using a secondary method of birth control (other than condoms) but I think you just really have to do what’s right for you when it comes to birth control.

  • BK

    A comment to not discredit, but level, the others on here : I was put on Levlen (not sure about the US but in Australia it’s like the bargain-basement level of contraceptive pill) when I first went to the doctor for contraceptive options because it was the cheapest option for a poor student – and it worked. I had no symptoms, it did as it was told and I’ve felt no difference in my time off of the pill as I have on it. So for any teenage girls/birth control pill newcomers reading all the comments on here: I can’t speak for other people, and I’m definitely not trying to downplay the experiences other women have on the pill, and I don’t work for “big pharma” or anything, but am just offering a caveat – it’s not all doom and gloom. On the right variety of pill, you could have a great experience. Or it might be really rough and you opt for a different form of birth control, or none at all! Best bet – don’t put all stock in Internet articles and comments. Find a physician with solid experience in women’s health who you trust and feel comfortable with, ask them every question you don’t have an answer to and good luck.

  • Grace b

    Do you know of Alissa Vitti? I don’t live in my “flo” all the time but I found her book pretty helpful and her website is definitely up your alley Haley.

  • YouandWhoseArmy

    I went on a pill form of birth control in my early 20’s that magically worked like a charm for years with no trial and error, and even resulted in my period disappearing for a lot of them; however taking it now into my 30’s, I started retaining a noticeable amount of water, to the point where my jeans won’t fit and it’s almost as if I have my period all the time, so I’ve gone off it.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the Implanon implant?

  • Phoebe

    Thank you thank you THANK YOU for making this point. It is one of my biggest annoyances that most men have no idea how big a sacrifice so many women make for the obviously mutual benefit. Its just yet another thing that we simply accept, because it is one of the best options available and we are so used to having to make compromises. I really believe that if it was men who had to take birth control pills there is no way that something better would have been invented by now/everyone would be very aware of the side effects and doctors/society would not be so quick to dismiss them. I only wish this point could be made on more websites, potentially ones not called man repeller so more men might read it haha!!

  • Lanatria Brackett Ellis

    I am 28 years old.Married with one child and always thought about birth control but never fully went with it.It’s nothing I am bragging on, I just don’t trust my reproductive system in that hands of big pharma. Don’t get me wrong, I will take meds if I have to but I just don’t want to have it in my system daily or deal with possible weight gain.I suffered from debilitating pain every month,and the one thing that truly helped was changing my diet.I limited sweets and began drinking fruit and veggie smoothies daily.It made a pretty siginificant impact.

  • mafe

    You guys are doing such an amazing job at covering all important topics that are often not discussed elsewhere – smart, witty and genuine girls! Been following MR since 2012, but this is my favorite year so far!

    “Birth control does galaxies more to your body than stop pregnancy.” YES. IT. DOES. I did it for a year and felt like every time I was voluntarily injecting some sort venom into my body. Looking for other options as we speak.

    • Kate Barnett

      THANK YOU mafe!!!!

  • AGREED !
    I stopped the pill for the same reason : a different side effect came with each different pill.
    I must add that I was kinda chocked to read Dr. Cora Breuner thoughts. I find it very anti-feminist to think that a woman should choose the lesser of two evil (so to speak). Really ?? Should we want to control pregnancies, we should accept any of these side effects ??? no way josé !

  • Jessica Downing

    I never wanted to start taking the pill because I had seen how negatively it affected people around me, specifically my mom and best friend. I just kind of avoided dealing with birth control for awhile (*cough*didn’t really need it anyways*cough*) and eventually got the non-hormonal IUD which I honestly love. I know it isn’t for everyone, but the fact that the copper IUD exists makes me optimistic that there will be more non-hormonal options arising in the near future!

  • Tess

    I’m 15 and have absolutely awful cramps- like throw up, pass out, spend at least 2 days a month sitting in bed cramps- and recently started the pill. Cramp free is great. I’ve always dealt with depression and anxiety. It is worse right now than it’s been in awhile but I think that’s due to other factors in my life. This is an important conversation to have.

    • resident

      FYI, I was like you during my teen years – it is pretty awful! Lol, going to a Catholic HS, the pill most definitely wasn’t an option. But hey, what I want to let you now is that that intensity started going away around 18/19 years old and was gone comepletely in my mid twenties – just normal PMS. Nothing debilitating. Hope it works out that way for you too 😀

  • Lilli

    Thank you! I was on the pill for 10 years (13-23) and while it was fantastic having flawless skin and slightly bigger boobs I’ve recently come off it (attempted 3 times before, developed acne so went back on it) and boy oh boy I’m so much happier. I had an feeling that my depression and anxiety had something to do with the pill because I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t normal to feel so on edge 24/7. Soooo many doctors told me I shouldn’t be worried and it was normal for young girls to moody (um, suicidal should not be classed as moody) and I felt pressured to stay on it. It annoys the hell out of me that they had it out like candy and you can practically walk into a medical center and say I want the pill and 5 minutes later you’ve got a prescription. It’s pumping hormones into your body!!!!

    I agree that there are plenty of amazing benefits and I also wouldn’t in a million years want it to be less accessible but I wish someone had educated me as to the side effects I would live with and attribute to everything but the pill I was taking for 10 years.

    Currently I’m 2 months off it and I’m so happy I could cry and best of all…I have sex drive! WTF!

  • lily

    I was on birth control for 5 years. I was taking ortho tri lo. I honestly don’t remember what it was like when i started taking it but I know right before I stopped I felt fine. I stopped because I ran out and forgot to refill my prescription. I have insanely irregular periods and went 3 months without my birth control before deciding that it was ridiculous and I needed to go back on. i am on month 2 of Ortho tri Lo. I am depressed. Like overwhelmingly so. And people keep asking me if it’s because of work or my interpersonal relationships and what not and i kept saying no because I wasn’t sure but maybe it is the birth control??? that’s been my only change. If so, damn.

  • Louise

    I was on the birth control pill and I have been for 12 years. I don’t even date that much and don’t have a steady boyfriend, so I thought, what’s the point??? I’m 27 and I would actually welcome getting pregnant soon. For the past few years, I’ve had waves of health anxiety and I’m curious to see if quitting the pill changes anything in that respect. It’s only been 4 weeks so far. I just like the idea of being natural, no drugs, just me. And I have absolutely no overview of positive and negative side effects… let’s see how it goes!

    • Theresa

      I am about to do the same after +/- 10 years on birth control… Curious to see how your experience went???

      • Louise

        It’s hard to say if it was due to the pill or not — but I actually felt more out of balance, quitting the pill. I felt even more anxiety and stress. But it was also a really stressful time in my life. I just got back on it. I feel better now, but also I am getting regular exercise now. So I’m not quite sure what I can attribute it to. I’m still in love with the idea of being completely medicine free. Thanks for reaching out 🙏 Hope my input helps.

  • I’ve had amazing luck with going to my local Planned Parenthoods over the years whenever I felt my regular OBGYN wasn’t listening to me (which in Ohio happened a LOT). They have never been judgmental or pushy, and they can be a great resource even if all you want is information.

    I’ve been using the same birth control pills for years and have recently considered switching (they may be contributing to my higher blood pressure), and they were so helpful. They were amazing at letting me know all my options for hormonal and non-hormonal methods, which was great because I didn’t know as much as I thought I did!

    So whether you already know you want to make a change, or you have no clue and just want someone to talk to, I totally suggest Planned Parenthood!

  • elpug

    I started the pill in high school. Less then a month later my boyfriend at the time broke up with me and I was depressed for so long. One day I decided to stop taking the pill due to the inconvenience of it for me and the ability to switch to alternative BC. My depression went away and it wasn’t until much later that I realised the correlation. I thought it had taken me over a year to get over the sadness of this guy but really it was my hormones!!

    Other things can easily send me back into depression and mood swings such as too much soy in my diet which also changes hormone amounts.

  • Melissa

    It’s important to be self aware and try alternatives. The pill made me coo coo crazy anxious. I struggled severely with depression and irrational anger. I went off the pill and did a 180 in less than two months. Five years later, I use a hormonal IUD, follow a healthy diet, meditate and exercise regularly. It was the combination of self awareness and experimentation that got me to my happy place. We’re all different, be honest with yourself and do what’s right for you.

  • Katy David

    I discovered BC made me depressed and ultra-crazy years ago, but not until after I had already dropped out of the esteemed UT architecture school because the classes were too grueling for a depressed/unmotivated person. All is well and in divine order, and I LOVE my career as a counselor now, but it is the FIRST question I ask every woman that comes in my door…”Are you on birth control?”.

    • brooke

      do you really try to convince women that their birth control is directly causing them anxiety, depression, weight gain, no motivation? Are you a psychiatrist or even a doctor?

  • I’m an older woman who used various kinds of contraceptives for most of my life – I started my sexual life rather early and experimented wide and had my fun 😉 – and then I had my two beautiful daughters in my late thirties, when I was ready to have them, though I won’t pretend that had anything to do with careful planning so much as blind luck. I also hated being on the pill (of which I tried many varieties) because of the side effects: irritability, depression, breast pain, bloating, cervical polyps (that magically went away as soon as I was off the pill, and after I’d been offered surgery, which I didn’t end up having to do) – all of these side effects disappeared once I got off the pill. Which doesn’t make me happy because of course I’d have loved to have access to a totally safe and easy-to-use contraceptive all my life. Instead it was always a kind of patchwork solution, sometimes a bit panicked and last-minute and unwise. In hindsight way too anxiety-producing, and I also think it’s unfair that men don’t have to worry about all this to the same extent. I keep thinking about my daughters’ lives when they are older and will need contraceptives and I sincerely wish gynecological science took women more seriously, and treated them more respectfully & honestly than it does. And pretending that hormonal contraceptives don’t need A LOT more research and development because at the moment they aren’t quite entirely safe for enough of the women who need them is partly what I worry about.

  • Hormonal bc *wrecked me* in college. I started taking it freshman year to manage cramps, and had no idea what I was in for. Nobody told me about the psychological effects. All my emotions were so close to the surface all the time. I had thought at the time that college was just making me miserable.
    It wasn’t til I got a copper IUD that things improved.

  • Mercedes Ayala

    I also had a horrid experience with birth control. Depression to the point of dangerous, honestly. I found one that works much better for me. This kind of study is worrying, though – do I have depression or is it a side effect? Am I taking one pill for birth control and one pill for its side effects? How many pills until I feel “normal”? It’s all pretty fucked, and the education on it is sparse.

  • Sarah

    I suffered from severe migraines for almost three years until a doctor was able to tell me they were directly related to the hormonal birth control I was taking. It took a particularly scary migraine that resulted in loss of speech for me to really investigate the cause of the headaches – why do we do that?! Shake off serious migraines for three years until they become so debilitating we literally can’t speak?? Lol. Anyways, since then I’ve been struggling with whether or not to go back on birth control – the options are much slimmer and oftentimes more invasive than your regular pill for women who cannot take hormonal birth control, and I guess now that you pose the question, I have felt marginalized and isolated by this. It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is! *sigh* *grunt* *reach for the ben & jerry’s*

  • Mallory Harmon

    I’ve been on the pill for years, and the older I get and the more I have tried, the more frustrated I get. It just doesn’t seem normal or natural to have such terrible symptoms. Also, some BCs I have tried completely stop my period, which is even more concerning and frustrating.

  • Sigrid Gulbransen

    I agree that hormonal birth control can have a wide range of effects on your mind and body outside of its prescribed purpose. It is also important to note that there are many women, myself included, who experience endocrine diseases that would not be able to have a monthly period without the pill unless they were on a different and more intense hormonal medication. As many commenters have already noted, weighing birth control options and side effects is important to do on an individual basis, as many side effects manifest themselves in different ways in different people. Make a decision that is right for you and your particular health situation!

  • Brooke

    Where in this study did they find that adolescent women on combo bc pills are 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression? I read through the study and didn’t see that conclusion, perhaps I am not seeing where that is. Also, I agree with the pediatrician because normally women that do have side effects, have mild ones that usually go away within 3 months. But like any drug you choose to take the benefits of it should be outweighed to the negatives. Your gynecologist should listen to your symptoms and believe you and be working with you to find the best form of birth control for you.

  • Karen

    I took BC for about 7 months to alleviate horrific periods. I dealt with the roulette wheel of side effects (nausea, headache, irritability) only to be told to find the “right match” and wait the side effects out. Finally, I started realizing that my emotional highs were no longer as high, my lows felt lower, and that I wasn’t the same person I was before BC.

    When I told my doctor that my emotional and mental wellbeing was being affected, she told me that BC doesn’t cause depression, and that there were likely other triggers in my life. I felt like a crazy person who had all of a sudden lost the ability to control my emotions. I felt like I couldn’t trust myself. Finally, I decided that it didn’t matter if I was the only human with depression from BC – it wasn’t worth taking if I couldn’t recognize myself anymore.

    I stopped taking them and my debilitating periods returned, but so did my old self. I now see a naturopath for herbs and acupuncture and the results have been incredible. I urge my fellow lady sufferers to explore these options if BC hasn’t worked for them. Huzzah, science, for validating my experience!

  • resident

    This was absolutely my experience! Looking back, I lost a decade to pill related depression. It wasn’t until 3 years into my marriage, when my mood swings were so bad they threatened our relationship, that I quit cold turkey. Within a month I felt and was behaving like a different person. Thank goodness my husband was witness to it all, because when I went to the gyn to discuss alternative BC methods, she blew it all off as just “the wrong pill”. I came home with a different prescription: too conditioned not to try again, I suppose. My husband reminded me of what he’d witnessed and the doctor had not- and I threw the prescription out. It was stressful dealing with other forms of BC, but with a supportive partner and a lot of our own research we made it work. Two years after our one (planned for) kid was born, my husband volunteered for a vasectomy. No way was he living with me on the pill again!

  • chutton21

    I’m so relieved to hear another woman talking about how frustrating this is. I got off of the pill because of a dulled sense of self and nausea. My doctor consistently dismissed the bill for being responsible for these symptoms, which made me feel crazy. I currently have a mirena that is giving me a hormonal imbalance and acne. I feel like I can’t win. No matter what, I have to be in pain in order to not get pregnant.

    • RS

      I’m curious what kind of hormonal imbalance. If you want to chat we could take it off the thread. While having a routine blood draw with my naturopath in 2014, when I had been on the Mirena for about a year, she discovered super elevated levels of some male hormones. I’ve been seeing an endocrinologist ever since…’idiopathic hyperandrogenism’…huge hassle. I suggest that these things might be related, cause who really knows what all the hormonal IUD does to your body *really*, and the gyn/endo alike just shrug.

  • Melanie

    I had some terrible experiences with birth control before finding the right one. The first time I went to the doctor to get a prescription she didn’t believe that I was a virgin and literally broke my hymen trying to insert a nuvaring. Then I was on a pill that gave me the worst acne I’ve ever seen. Then I switched to a pill that I was on for a year that made me cry all the time. Then I went off the pill completely and just didn’t have sex because I was terrified. Now I’m finally on a pill that mellowed out after a few months. Thank you Zarah!

  • Angela Gentile

    I was prescribed the pill (even though I hadn’t had sex yet) because I had a bunch of cysts on my ovaries and my gyno wasn’t interested in helping me much since I wasn’t having a baby. Its been a couple of years now, and I’ve gone through a couple of different kinds (and got a new gyno,) but they gave me crazy three day long migraines every month, and I was 100% crazy for a little bit. fuuuuuuunnnn.

  • Emily Burke

    After 10 years of being on the pill I noticed a shift in my bodies response to the once “regulating” synthetic hormone. It started with irregular periods, literally they would last 3 weeks and it was a total crime scene of an event. More disturbingly my mood changed severely for the worse. It started with generalized anxiety, depression and then quickly ramped up to panic attacks sometimes multiple times a day. I never considered this to be my magic little BC’s pills fault. I changed my diet, got acupuncture, did more yoga, therapy, saw a psychiatrist and got on Prozac but even then it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I checked myself into a mental health facility and had every test done that is known to man that the logical only common denominator was “the pill”. Once I came off I read that I should brace myself for impact and that my life would get drastically more difficult….on the contrary. My skin cleared, my periods began to regulate, I started saying nice things to my fiancé, and the severe life shattering panic attacks? Poof!

    That’s just my story, as I understand everyone has a different reaction. I just find it so incredibly risky to even gamble with it. When I say birth control literally almost ruined my life…I am not being over dramatic or hormonal, actually I am coming finally from a sane place.

  • Gigi

    So fucking true

  • L

    Hi, I’m from The Netherlands and since last May not taking the pill anymore. Ive been taking it for 15 years, except the time I had and breastfed my two kids. And I can truly say I’m a totally different and more loveable person since last May. My sideffects were heavy migraine at least 4 times a year for two days. And since May I hardly recognize myself: Im much more cheerful/happy and (super)energetic, almost feeling invinable. So, Im not taking the pill ever again. The one thing I now worry about is that there are probably more women that are having the same side effects and do not know how you can live a life a lot more fun!