If you're going through menopause, the last thing you want to do is make your unpleasant symptoms worse. That's why menopausal women who are taking birth control are often worried about possible negative effects on their mood swings.
One of the most common symptoms of menopause - mood swings - is in fact impacted by most birth control medications, but not in the way you might expect. Keep reading to learn more about how birth control impacts your menopausal mood swings.
The Impact of Birth Control on Mood Swings
Most birth control medications contain progesterone and estrogen, the two hormones responsible for female reproduction and development. When you are going through menopause, both hormones begin to fluctuate rapidly as the body decreases their production. This hormonal imbalance is the primary cause of several menopausal symptoms including mood swings. Depending on the level of hormones present in the beginning of menopause, birth control can either alleviate or worsen your mood swings. In later stages of menopause, when the production of estrogen and progesterone steadily declines, birth control often masks mood swings and other symptoms. This is because hormones in birth control may replenish the levels naturally lost by the body.
Should I Keep Taking Birth Control during Menopause?
Medical professionals hold differing opinions on this practice. A long-standing but shifting position was that women aged 35 and older should not take birth control due to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, blood clots, and high blood pressure. These risks are even worse for women with a history of high blood pressure or blood clots.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about whether or not birth control pills are safe to take during menopause. A physician can help you determine the best method of contraception and treatment for your mood swings.
Alternatives to Birth Control in Relieving Menopausal Mood Swings
If you're entering menopause and would like to stop taking birth control, there are various ways control your mood swings and other symptoms of menopause. Adopting a healthier lifestyle that includes a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are great ways to start treating emotional ups and downs. If that's not enough, consider using estrogenic herbal remedies like dong quai and ginkgo biloba, or non-estrogenic herbs. Of course, if your symptoms worsen, or if natural remedies prove ineffective, talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
Click on the following link for more information about treatments for mood swings during menopause.
- Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
- Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Molecular Psychiatry. (n.d)."Estrogen Promotes Gender Difference in Brain's Response to Stress". Retrieved from www.psycheducation.org.
- The Health Center.(n.d)."Adult Mood Swings".Retrieved from www.thehealthcenter.info.