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One of the most popular birth control options for women worldwide is the birth control pill, owing to its effectiveness and simplicity. The pill contains hormones that prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus, preventing sperm passage into the fallopian tubes. As a result, fertilization does not take place. In rare cases, fertilization may occur, but due to the thinning of the uterus caused by the hormones in the pill, the fertilized egg fails to implant and sheds off.
As with most medications, reactions to birth control pills differ from person to person. While many women benefit significantly from taking these contraceptives, some stop usage citing adverse effects. One of the most destabilizing conditions attributed to the usage of the pill in some women is depression. Depression is brought about by mood disorders and causes a lack of interest in daily activities and a constant, profound feeling of sadness.
The Role of Hormones
Hormonal changes greatly influence mood changes. The contraceptive pill, a hormonal contraceptive, contains synthetic hormones that act on progesterone and estrogen receptors in the brain. Women on the pill have their hormone levels altered artificially, and the synthetic hormones may not offer the same effects as natural female hormones. Many women who opt to stop the pill complain of occasional erratic mood patterns.
Certain factors may put women at a higher risk of depression while on the pill, and they include:
- Proven depression or mental health problems in the family.
- Age is also a factor – women below 19 are at a higher risk as their brains are still developing.
- Use of multiphasic pills as the dose of hormones varies throughout the cycle.
- Taking pills that contain progestin only may worsen mood changes in vulnerable women.
- Stressful events like bereavement or job losses.
Despite the adverse effects, the pill remains popular among many women. There is a wide range of birth control pills to choose from, and women can change pills until they find one that suits them.
Steps to Prevent Depression
Women need to raise any concerns about mood changes while on the contraceptive pill with healthcare professionals. While there is no way of predicting depression before it happens, doctors can single out vulnerable women by:
- Doing a review of their mental history and previous mental disorders.
- Measuring and recording hormone levels.
- Assessment of menstrual cycle mood changes to point out hormone sensitivity.
Women suspecting depression should seek therapy to alleviate symptoms and boost their coping mechanisms. They should be open to alternative methods of contraception to safeguard their mental health in the long-run.
Remedies for Depression
Making several lifestyle changes can improve mental health. For instance, adequate sleeping hours can bring back energy and refresh the mind. Natural herbs and medicines are also a safe way of dealing with the unpleasant effects of depression. Besides, studies have found that making a deliberate effort to participate in outdoor activities like walks can help shake off feelings of sadness and isolation. When lifestyle changes do not work, a doctor can prescribe antidepressants for severe cases.
When it comes to contraceptives, tailor-made solutions work best. It is crucial to consider mental implications before administering contraceptives, especially to adolescents, who might have to bear consequences for more extended periods.