One of the main ways hormonal birth control prevents pregnancy is by stopping ovulation—so the egg never leaves the carton, so to speak. The pill, the patch, the ring, and the shot are most reliable at blocking ovulation, so people using these methods may have fewer ovarian cysts. If you tend to get ovarian cysts, your provider may recommend one of these methods to prevent future cysts. /The progestin-only or mini-pill has an unpredictable effect on ovulation and may lead to more cysts. These almost always disappear on their own, but if you’ve had problems with cysts in the past, the mini-pill may not be the best contraception for you.
Birth control pill
I heard that hormone-filled pee is killing our fish and harming the environment. Is taking hormonal birth control bad for our water?
Any form of birth control is better than no birth control when it comes to the environment. But let’s look a little closer at the claim that hormones in birth control are getting into the environment through pee. The simple answer is: yes, it is. But—and this is a big but—it is small compared to other sources of estrogen. Current research finds that the contribution of EE2 (the primary active ingredient in the pill, the ring, and the patch) to the total amount of estrogen in of our waterways is small. Bigger—much bigger—sources of estrogen in the environment come from industrial and manufacturing processes; agricultural fertilizers and pesticides; the drugs we give livestock; and the waste and runoff produced by these sources. Simply removing hormones from contraceptives will not eliminate the environmental impacts of estrogenic compounds. It’s much better to buy organic food if you can and even better to tell Congress to do its job and regulate chemicals, than to forego birth control. From Mother Earth’s standpoint, any form of birth control is better than no birth control.For purists who don’t want to add any hormones to the environment or to their body, no matter how small, there are options for you. Natural latex condoms and the copper IUD are two frequently cited examples of ultra-green contraceptives.
Using a method of birth control with estrogen increases a young woman’s risk of forming a blood clot by several times, but for women who have no history of stroke, blood clots, or heart attack, and whose family members have never experienced a blood clot, the risk is still quite low. Women with a history of these medical conditions in their family have a higher risk of forming a new blood clot; adding birth control with estrogen to the mix increases that risk to an unacceptable level.
Progestin-only methods like the implant, mini-pill, the shot, and Skyla and Mirena IUDs don’t increase your risk. If you’re worried about blood clots, we recommend talking to your doctor about which birth control options are best for you.
If you have dysmenorrhea (the medical term for extremely painful periods), hormonal birth control can make a big difference. Options like the combination pill or a hormonal IUD can reduce the level of pain and heaviness of your bleeding, basically making it easier for you to live your life when you have your period. There are a bunch of hormonal methods that can help regulate your periods, decrease bleeding, or even make your period go away completely.
For most people, the risk of blood clots when using the ring, the patch, or the combined birth control pill (which is the most common type of pill) is low. But smoking increases this risk. If you are over 35 and smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day, the combination pill, patch, and ring are not safe options for you. If you’re over 35 and you smoke less than 15 cigarettes a day, talk to your provider about whether these birth control methods are safe options for you. People who smoke can always use the IUD, the implant, the shot, the mini-pill (progestin-only pill), and any method that is hormone free (like condoms, for example).
If you feel like your birth control is changing your behavior, it’s time to talk to your health care provider. Everybody responds to birth control differently, and your provider can help you decide whether it’s time to try something else. It might be a matter of switching hormonal methods or deciding whether to avoid hormonal birth control altogether, or you may choose to wait it out since some negative side effects go away with time. The bottom line: If your current method is making you feel blah, don’t settle. There are a lot of methods to choose from and sometimes it can take a few tries to get it right.
The relationship between birth control and depression is complicated, especially since different methods can affect people very differently. If you feel your birth control might be contributing to depression, talk with your health care provider. Remember, there are a lot of birth control methods out there—don’t settle until you find the right one for you!
If you have endometriosis (a condition where tissue grows outside of your uterus instead of inside it), hormonal birth control can do wonders to lessen your symptoms. There are a bunch of hormonal methods that can help regulate your periods, decrease bleeding, or even make your period go away completely.
It can be complicated to tell exactly how hormonal birth control affects mood, but you’re the only one who truly knows how you feel. Everyone reacts to birth control differently, so if you feel your birth control might be contributing to depression, talk with your health care provider. Remember, there are a lot of birth control methods out there—you can find the right one for you!
Most pills actually help with acne, so you could talk to provider to see about switching to another kind of pill.
Try this: If you want to stay on your current type of pill, you could try taking it at night. You could also talk to your doctor about getting a pill with less estrogen.