You Suddenly Feel Sad
“There is one side effect that I always discontinue treatment on seeing: blue moods, emptiness, sadness, bouts of crying, and depression,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Sonam Yadav, who treats women with Polycystic Ovarian Disease. “PCOD is linked with depression and the pills may just precipitate that.” Even if you don’t have PCOD, it is possible to experience mood swings or sadness. Switching to a birth control method with no hormones may be just what you need.
How Can I Prevent Birth Control Side Effects
Its true that hormonal birth control prevents unwanted pregnancy. But unfortunately, its also true these contraceptive methods can come with unwanted side effects, like spotting, weight gain, and nausea.
At Kelly Morales, OB/GYN, our womens health specialist, Dr. Morales, understands how these unpleasant side effects can make you second guess your choice of contraception. But instead of throwing in the towel when it comes to hormonal birth control, try our top tips for preventing their troublesome side effects instead.
Psychological Issues And Fatigue
Studies suggest that between 50 and 80 per cent of fatigue cases are mainly due to psychological factors. Suggestions include:
- Talk about it Theres some evidence that talking therapies such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy might help to fight fatigue. See your doctor for a referral for talking treatment.
- Reduce stress Stress uses up a lot of energy. Try to introduce relaxing activities into your day. This could be working out at the gym, or a gentler option such as meditation, yoga, listening to music, reading or spending time with friends. Whatever relaxes you will improve your energy.
- Assess your lifestyle for example, are you putting yourself under unnecessary stress? Are there ongoing problems in your life that may be causing prolonged anxiety or depression? It may help to seek professional counselling to work out family, career or personal issues.
- Learn to do nothing one of the drawbacks of modern life is the pressure to drive ourselves to bigger and better heights. A hectic lifestyle is exhausting. Try to carve out a few more hours in your week to simply relax and hang out. If you cant find a few more hours, it may be time to rethink your priorities and commitments.
- Have more fun maybe youre so preoccupied with commitments and pressures that you dont give yourself enough time for fun. Laughter is one of the best energy boosters around.
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Difference Between Birth Control Methods
One of the primary differences between different types of contraceptives is that some of the methods contain hormones while others do not.
Hormonal birth control methods use the synthetic form of certain hormones that are prescribed by your healthcare professional.
There are two types of hormonal contraceptives named Combination Method and progestin-only hormonal birth control options .
According to various medical observations, the Hormone based birth control methods have higher side effects over non-hormonal birth contraceptives .
How Should This Medicine Be Used
Oral contraceptives come in packets of 21, 28, or 91 tablets to take by mouth once a day, every day or almost every day of a regular cycle. To avoid nausea, take oral contraceptives with food or milk. Take your oral contraceptive at the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take your oral contraceptive exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Oral contraceptives come in many different brands. Different brands of oral contraceptives contain slightly different medications or doses, are taken in slightly different ways, and have different risks and benefits. Be sure that you know which brand of oral contraceptives you are using and exactly how you should use it. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient and read it carefully.
If you have a 21-tablet packet, take 1 tablet daily for 21 days and then none for 7 days. Then start a new packet.
If you have recently given birth, wait until 4 weeks after delivery to begin taking oral contraceptives. If you have had an abortion or miscarriage, talk to your doctor about when you should begin taking oral contraceptives.
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What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. You should have a complete physical examination every year, including blood pressure measurements, breast and pelvic exams, and a Pap test. Follow your doctor’s directions for examining your breasts report any lumps immediately.
Before you have any laboratory tests, tell the laboratory personnel that you take oral contraceptives.
If you wish to stop taking oral contraceptives and become pregnant, your doctor may tell you to use another method of birth control until you begin to menstruate regularly again. It may take a long time for you to become pregnant after you stop taking oral contraceptives, especially if you have never had a baby or if you had irregular, infrequent, or complete absence of menstrual periods before taking oral contraceptives. However, it is possible to become pregnant within days of stopping certain oral contraceptives. If you want to stop taking oral contraceptives but do not want to become pregnant, you should begin using another type of birth control as soon as you stop taking oral contraceptives. Discuss any questions that you may have with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
How To Take 21
- Take your 1st pill from the packet marked with the correct day of the week, or the 1st pill of the 1st colour .
- Continue to take a pill at the same time each day until the pack is finished.
- Stop taking pills for 7 days .
- Start your next pack of pills on the 8th day, whether you are still bleeding or not. This should be the same day of the week as when you took your 1st pill.
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How To Prevent Headaches
Taking your birth control pill at the same time every day may help reduce side effects. This is because your hormone levels remain steady. If you take a pill early one morning and then take one again in the afternoon the next day, it creates a gap between doses. This can cause a shift in your hormone levels and may prompt a headache. It can also lower effectiveness and increase your risk of pregnancy.
Taking over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers before menstruation begins may also help prevent symptoms before they occur.
Treatments that may help reduce headaches once they occur include:
- OTC painkillers, such as naproxen or ibuprofen
- prescription pain relievers
Oral Contraceptives Raise Cortisol Levels And Impact Your Stress Response:
When your baseline cortisol level goes up, your body becomes primed for stress. It can cause increased anxiety, trouble sleeping, and more feelings of overwhelm. Over time, this can also contribute to changes in lipids , and glucose metabolism causing abdominal weight gain.
Studies have shown the following:
- Oral contraceptives elevate circulating cortisol levels .
- There are consequences of high cortisol such as raised triglyceride levels .
- Women taking oral contraceptives show smaller hippocampal volume .
- Oral contraceptive usage substantially modifies cortisol effects on emotional learning in women, particularly in memory-related medial temporal lobe regions .
The most common presentation for these effects is an increase in general anxiety.
The impact on hippocampal volume is however, is particularly concerning. The hippocampus plays an important role in the limbic system, and is involved in the formation of new memories, and also associated with learning and emotions. Hippocampus volume shrinks with chronic high stress, PTSD, alcoholism, and more . Having a smaller hippocampal volume is also associated with depressive behaviour, and poor stress tolerance .
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Whats The Short Answer
Some hormonal birth control options have stated that fatigue is a possible side effect, says Dr. Heather Irobunda, an OB-GYN based in New York, New York.
Unfortunately, she adds, its unclear how many users face this side effect or the level of fatigue they experience.
Some people can even experience the opposite: better sleep and therefore better energy levels.
Ways To Minimize The Side Effects Of The Pill
You’re probably aware of at least some of the side effects of the birth control pill. In addition to the concerns about stroke, clots, and heart attacks, the pill depletes nutrients, raises inflammation, can lead to adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, causes insulin dysregulation, and disrupts gut health.
But don’t panic if you’re not ready to ditch the pill. You can support your body and minimize side effects with these seven strategies:
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Get 7 9 Hours Of Sleep Nightly
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Some questions you can ask yourself to see if you are not sleeping enough include: Does it take me a long time to fall asleep? Do I wake up often or am I restless? Do I feel sleepy when driving? Do I need caffeine to get through the day? Answer, yes, to any of these indicates you may not be getting enough quality sleep.
Why Does Birth Control Cause Side Effects
Most hormonal birth control, like the combined birth control pill, works by raising hormone levels in your blood. This tricks your body into thinking youre pregnant so you stop ovulating.
But since your body thinks you’re pregnant, you may experience symptoms some women experience in early pregnancy.
Some of the most common side effects of hormonal birth control include:
- Weight gain
Some women never have any side effects. For most women, these symptoms resolve after 2-3 months of consistent birth control use, but for others, they never leave.
If you continue to experience side effects after 3 months, talk to Dr. Morales. There are many birth control options available, and sometimes eradicating symptoms is a matter of finding the pill with the right balance of hormones for your body.
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Fatigue Caused By Blood Loss And Lack Of Iron
To compound the hormonal issues, when you experience a heavy period, you lose a substantial amount of blood. Most women who experience heavy periods are aware that their periods are heavy, but have no context to figure out exactly how heavy and whether the amount of bleeding is detrimental to their health.
Medical professionals give guidelines regarding how much blood loss is considered normal, but the amount really depends on variable factors. These factors include your body size, current health, pre-existing conditions, and much more.
If the amount of blood you lose on your period is too much for your body, then you may well be at risk for anemia. Anemia is the medical term that describes lack of iron in the blood. Losing blood is a great way to deplete the iron in your body so great in fact that even one heavy period can leave you acutely anemic.
If you find yourself weak and fatigued during your period, then you may be experiencing this acute form of anemia. Heavy periods are not innocuous and should be discussed with a medical professional.
Is There A Link Between Birth Control And Emotions
Women have complained about mood-related changes like depression and anxiety ever since the pill came out in 1960. The newest generation of pills have lower doses of hormones. Even so, a sizeable number of women still quit the pill because of side effects.
During a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, estrogen levels reach their peak around day 14. Thatâs when many women feel best emotionally and physically. Most hormonal contraceptives smooth this mountain-shaped hormonal cycle into an even line for the first 21 days. Then the levels of estrogen and progestin plunge during the final 7 days.
Limited research suggests that compared with women who donât use hormonal birth control, those who do are more likely report feeling depressed, anxious, and angry. But those symptoms donât make the list of common side effects. Other studies have turned up no significant link between hormone combinations or concentrations and differences in mood. Still more research has found that women on the pill and those taking dummy pills report similar symptoms, suggesting that any effects they noticed were unrelated to the actual pills.
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Heavy Periods Fatigue Can The Pill Help
That time of month is unfortunately the bane of most womens existences. Its painful, uncomfortable, messes with your mood, your digestion, what you can wear the list of inconveniences is endless.
But what if your period is more than just a little inconvenient debilitating, even? Thats the case for women who experience a variety of symptoms from dysphoria to fatigue during or before their period.
Its especially difficult for women who experience heavy periods. These women lose enough blood during their period that not only are they weakened by sheer blood loss, they also risk becoming anemic either during their period or over time.
Considering that the number one symptom of anemia is fatigue, heavy periods create a vicious cycle of fatigue and weakness.
What Are Levonorgestrel And Ulipristal
Unlike the other pills, these arenât intended for regular birth control. Levonorgestrel and ulipristal acetate can greatly lower your chances of getting pregnant if you had unprotected sex or if youâre concerned that your usual birth control method didnât work.
Levonorgestrel is about 88% effective if you use it as directed. You need to take it as soon as possible within 3 days of having sex.
Ulipristal is about 60% to 70% effective if you use it correctly. You need to take it ASAP within 5 days of having sex.
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What Is The Best Time Of Day To Take Birth Control
Taking the pills at the same time every day is the best way to prevent side effects. It is possible to take them at any time during the day, but taking them before breakfast or at bedtime will help you remember them better. The same process is used with extended-cycle pills. After your period starts, you begin taking the pill on the first Sunday.
Combination Oral Contraceptive Pills
Most combination OCPs contain ethinyl estradiol and a synthetic progestin . These pills inhibit ovulation in most women. They also induce thickening of the cervical mucus, which impedes transport of sperm to the uterus. With perfect use, only 0.1 percent of women become pregnant within the first year of using a combination OCP.6
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What Causes Period Fatigue
It’s hard to pinpoint what might be contributing to your period fatigue because many factors may be at fault.
Hormonal changes. During menstruation, your body experiences changes in hormone levels that can leave you feeling tired, Mandal says. During a typical 28-day cycle, estrogen rises for two weeks, then drops sharply after ovulation, staying low for the weeks before and during your period.
“Estrogen levels peak and then decrease quickly before the onset of the menstrual cycle, which can cause fatigue and sluggishness,” Mandal says.
Some women experience a corresponding drop in the neurotransmitter serotonin as their estrogen levels fall. Having low serotonin levels has been linked to depression and fatigue, so a drop in serotonin levels could help explain period fatigue, Mandal says.
Blood and associative iron loss. Additionally, the blood loss during your period can contribute to fatigue due to a loss of iron. If you have heavy bleeding or you’re already prone to lower iron levels, this may result in temporary anemia, a condition caused by iron deficiency that comes with symptoms including fatigue. A heavy period is defined as a blood loss of over 80 cc per month.
How Birth Control Pills Affect Your Body
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, prevent pregnancy by changing the way your body releases hormones. Hormones are powerful chemicals that your body uses to function. Organs called endocrine glands create them. These include your pituitary gland, thyroid, and pancreas.
Birth control pills prevent pregnancy from happening by preventing the release of estrogen, which prevents an egg from being released. They thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to reach an egg that may have been released. Birth control pills also thin the lining of your uterus, which prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to it.
The two main kinds of birth control pills are the combination pill and the progestin-only pill.
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Managing Iud Side Effects
The side effects related to IUDs occur within the initial months after the insertion. Here are some simple ways to manage the side effects:
- Applying warm heat on your belly near the pelvic area to relieve the discomfort and cramping.
- Intake of pain-relieving and OTC medication such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen can also help reduce the pain.
- Women should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes on the day of insertion and after the procedure. Using pads or panty liners can absorb spotting and extra bleeding.
In case you experience unusual side effects from IUD, you should report it to the doctor immediately. The serious side effects of IUD should get better within a few weeks or months of insertion as the body gets used to the new hormones and IUD device.