My Hormonology

Trying to decide which birth control option to use can be complicated. You want something that’s reliable, of course, but that’s also easy to use, has minimal negative side effects and fits with your lifestyle.

To make matters more complex, you’re probably hearing conflicting opinions on the best form of contraception to use from your doctor, family members, friends and what women are posting on messageboards about their experiences.

Well, a new study might add one more point to consider when making your decision.

Your birth control choice affects your mood

After studying the moods of 30 women, the researchers discovered that those who used hormone-free birth control (such as the Paragard IUD or condoms with spermicide) experienced a significantly greater boost in mood in the middle of their cycle than those who were using birth control that delivers hormones (such as the Pill, patch and shot).

Blocking ovulation blocks a spike in happiness

You may have already heard about the evidence linking hormone birth control to the onset or worsening of depression in some women (which happened to me while in college).

But, why would it affect how high a good mood goes? Here’s what’s happening:

As you approach cycle ovulation at the end of Week 2 of your cycle, your estrogen level spikes–and as it does, it triggers a higher production of brain chemicals that rev good feelings, such as excitement, confidence and enjoyment of activities.

However, synthetic hormones prevent your natural hormones from climbing high so that ovulation doesn’t occur–one key way these contraceptivs help you avoid pregnancy. The unintended consequence is a more subdued Week 2 without the emotional intensity you’d get during a natural cycle.

Is mood an important factor to consider?

Choosing a form of birth control is an important decision that can not only give you control over family planning, it can impact other areas of your life.

If your birth control causes pain, creates anxiety because of its lack of reliability or is difficult to use, it’s clearly not the best choice for you.

If you’re at risk of depression, then you’d probably prefer to try nonhormonal contraceptives to avoid increasing the chances of triggering this condition or discuss this risk factor with your doctor before starting hormone birth control.

But, what about a week-long spike in positivity around ovulation? Is that worth factoring in to your decision? That depends. If you’re a woman who looks forward to this surge in good feelings to tackle projects, get more enjoyment from activities or simply to soak up and bask in, then I’d say it could be.

OVULATION MINI-MICROSCOPE

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It’s as small as a lipstick tube and you can use it anywhere. Just dab a little saliva on the lens, let it dry, then take a peek through the microscope. Seeing dots, sticks or ferns on the lens tells you how close you are to ovulation. It couldn’t be easier! Order it at Amazon.com.