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    Life StyleHow birth control pills and devices impact stress response and mood

    How birth control pills and devices impact stress response and mood


    Hormonal birth control methods like pills, implants and vaginal rings are widely used options for preventing pregnancy. While effective at their intended purpose, these contraceptives can also influence a woman’s mood in complex ways. A leading neuroscientist sheds light on how hormones impact brain function and stress response, and whether contraceptive use may raise depression risk.

    Our hormones have far-reaching effects beyond reproduction. Estrogen and progesterone receptors are present throughout the brain, where they regulate processes for memory, emotion and stress handling. Contraceptives introducing exogenous hormones disrupt the natural cycling of these levels. This affects how the brain and body respond to challenges.

    When stresses strike, the body releases cortisol and related “fight or flight” hormones to mobilize energy. Oral contraceptives suppress this stress response – studies found lower cortisol spikes in women using them, and similarly treated rats and mice. While not directly risk, this modification affects mood. Chronic stress raises depression risk, so blunted stress reactions could benefit some but harm others’ wellbeing over time.

    Most contraceptive users avoid issues. Only a minority experience decreased mood or depression, with prior stresses and genetics playing a role. No single risk profile predicts outcomes, so options are tried until a good fit emerges. Better counseling could help individuals make informed choices on benefits like planned parenthood versus potential side effects. Overall, hormonal contraceptives pose low depression risk for many, but careful monitoring remains important, especially for vulnerable groups. When used carefully under medical guidance, modern contraceptives offer largely positive control over both fertility and mental wellbeing.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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