Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Anxiety, Migraine, & Chronic Headaches because of the birth control pill

Posted In: Medical Errors 25 Replies
  • Posted By: Finnishrose
  • May 2, 2007
  • 02:46 AM

From 1997 through 2003 I suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, irritability, and daily headaches. I talked to many PCP's and a neurologist about these symptoms and was prescribed antidepressants to lessen the anxiety and dull the headaches. But no one ever brought up that it could be the birth control.

It was an unbelievable change when I stopped taking it in 2003; I stopped worrying about everything, stopped over reacting, I had more patience, the panic attacks were nearly gone, the mood swings stopped, and the chronic headaches went away! I felt like a new person and I could actually relax for the first time in years. It only took 6 years of a wrong diagnosis until I learned for myself what those doctors should have considered all along!

The Long Story/ Background: When I was 17 I started taking The Pill and the first two brands of birth control pill increased the frequency of my already diagnosed migraines. I tried Alesse, a lower dose of hormones, and it actually decreased the severity of my migraines. I still had the aura (loss of vision) but the severity of the pain and nauseousness nearly went away (less than even before the other birth control pills). I thought this was wonderful. However, I began having anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. Every little thing frustrated me and I had panic attacks whenever I was overly emotional. Every time I got angry or cried I had a panic attack, and since the pill made me overemotional, this happened frequently. I continued the pill and just thought I had anxiety disorder.

After I went off of The Pill everything changed. It was night and day. I was patient and laid back for the first time in years. The chronic headaches stopped and I've had panic attacks only twice since 2003 (those were chemical induced from being in smokey bars and not being able to breath). As for the migraines, those were still the same (aura without the head pain or nausea).

At one point last year I tried the "mini-pill" as a last effort to try hormonal birth control. Within two weeks I started having extreme anxiety, mood swings, and irritability. It was so extreme I stopped taking them. And yet mini-pills have half the hormones of any other pill.

My conclusion (no I'm not a medical professional) is that
1.) Birth control pills can cause extreme mood swings, anxiety, and irritability. To take into consideration, my grandmother had a lot of anxiety AND migraines. I do not know if there is a correlation but I do know that the anxiety went away when I stopped taking the pills.
2.) The Pill may change your hormonal levels both short-term and long-term? I had increased frequency but not increased severity of migraines with the first two I tried, and decreased severity of the migraines after starting the third type. However, there was no change in my migraines after going off the pill altogether so I could (a far-fetched maybe?) assume it altered my hormone levels permanently in some way.

All I know out of all of this is that medical professionals really need to be more aware that The Pill may cause mood and anxiety levels to change. None of my doctors had ever heard of this- yet since 2003 I've seen others post about similar experiences.

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25 Replies:

  • This is so bizarre. I have experienced just the OPPOSITE. Let me explain...At age 17, I was put on birth control after doctors discovered I had an ovarian cyst. I experienced my first menstrual migrain one month later, and would suffer through intense menstrual migraines for 10 YEARS while on the pill.I got married 18 months ago, and 6 months ago, I decided I'd had enough of the migraines. I decided to go OFF the pill for the first time in 10 years. That's when the anxiety started. I began to experience heart palpitations at first. They became more and more frequent (almost daily!), and soon after, i began to feel uncomfortable anxiety that has plagued me for 6 months now. My periods have been mostly regular and I still get the menstrual migraines--although now they are much less severe. But this anxiety is driving me crazy!Anyone else out there develop anxiety/panic attacks after going OFF the pill? Any help or advice would be much appreciated!!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am getting my 17 year old daughter off the pill , because her mood swings are crazy, she has expressed to me she gets frustrated so easily, she is extremely sensitive and all of the sudden gets irratated very easily She was never like this before , The pill affects everyone differantly I had never heard of it either but I am covinced thats it
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am 22 years old and have been on and off the pill for 4 years. I have sufferend off and on with horrible headaches as well as depression/anxiety, minor panic attacks, and a lack of energy & sex drive. After doing some thinking, I realized that when I was on the pill, I felt horrible. When I was off the pill, I didn't experience those symptoms. I had started taking it again to treat endometriosis and the symptoms were getting worse. Realizing this, I have not gone off the pill permanently, and within 3 weeks I felt like a different person: happier, higher sex drive, no more headaches!! I believe that people take hormones too lightly...always do your research and never take a doctor's word just because he tells you something...it if doesn't feel right, look into it. Not everybody can take every pill...our bodies handle things differently, so never underestimate the power of pharmaceuticals!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi all, I just email dr. oz from the oprah show. Will you send him an email telling your story about anxiety after birth control too? It's been 4 month since i've been off bc and i still have anxiety! I think it's time we get some answers instead of just taking anti-depressants. If you want to send him an email go to OPRAH.com scroll down the page and on the left had side is a ask dr. oz box. Click it then go to the blue topic about anxiety and panick attacks. Click that and fill out your info. and tell him your story. thanks. Tell all you hormonally unbalanced friends to do the same.
    lila8022 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • oh my god, i have been having the same problem. i have always been a sane, put together girl. i'm 18 and i went on yaz in the summer because i get bad pms (severe cramps, mood swings, etc.) and i thought it would help. but then i went away to college in september and went off of it because i forgot to get my prescription transferred to where i was going to school. a month after going off of it (and conveniently a few days before my next period) i had an anxiety attack at a restaurant. the very next day i had one at the movies. they only lasted about a minute or two.what i think happened was the pill was regulating my hormones, and going off of it so abruptly caused my pms to intensify. but ever since, i have been a complete mess because i've been worrying about when the next one is going to happen. i have never experienced this before in my life. so i can't help but feel like i am losing my mind. i feel horrible. i wish i knew what to do. i wish somebody could just tell me that i'm not going crazy and i'm not going to lose my life. but i honestly don't know. it's been about two months since and i haven't had one. but i have still not felt myself and i've been on edge from worrying every second of the day that i am going to have another anxiety episode and ruin my life. i have lost my faith in god i'm afraid to say. i havent felt relief from this in two months. im also afraid that its depressing me. i wish there was something someone could do to make me feel better. i dont know what i need. i feel helpless and lost. i feel like i am going to lose who i am and the life i have.~if anyone is familiar with what i am saying or can offer me a piece of mind, you have no idea how much that would help me. i have lost faith in myself.my e-mail is olivejuice89@yahoo.com and my name is Brittanie.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 29, 2008
    • 05:30 PM
    • 0
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  • Birth control pills made my life horrible. For two years and four diff pills, I experianced the joys of anxiety attacks, migraines, rage... ***l, I still get the migraines.What I want to know is why when doctors discuss birth control, they never mention IUDs?After two years of utter crap, I get a little plastic IUD--two days of cramping... and since then, I've been fine. No estrogen to drive me nuts. My period has gotten better, my cramping is gone... This is information I could have used two years ago, before the pill gave me chronic migraines. Even now I'm fighting with one of my girlfriends, trying to convince her that her violent moodswings, depression and anxiety might be the pill.Women need to know just what a danger the pill can be. And they need to know that there are other options.I hate pharmaceutical kickbacks.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 2, 2009
    • 04:24 AM
    • 0
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  • Hello ladiesMy story is also bad. I had been on Dianette/(Juliet/Brenda) ED for about a year. I stopped taking it just last week. Since being on it I have been very emotional - non stop crying etc. But my symptoms had got worse and worse!About 2 months ago my hair started falling out (not my unwanted body hair that I was told would be reduced by taking this pill) NO! My hair hair!! Then I started having SEVERE panic attacks, heart palpitations, breathlessness and fear of losing my mind. I have always suffered from migraines.When I went to my doctor last week they took blood/urine tests and sent me home. Today I had another panic attack so I went to a different doctor and told him about it. He said that HE HAD NEVER HEARD OF THE PILL CAUSING PANICK ATTACKS!!! I told him to "google panic attacks contraceptive pill there are pages and pages of complaints." He didn't say anything!He gave me a sedative which I requested because I just dont know what else to do. I hope it helps and I hope I'll be ok at work tomorrow. I just want to feel normal again. I feel terrible that so many women are suffering because of this and I think emailing Dr oz from the Oprah show is a fantastic idea! WOMEN NEED TO KNOW.Good luck and best wishes.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • OMG, I am so glad I have found this website! I have been searching non stop for info on the pill and its role in anxiety and panic attacks. I have suffered from panic attacks for 9 years but they only got worse this year and within the past 2 weeks they have become unbearable. I thought I was going to go crazy until I thought about when my attack started. I realised this year i started skipping the 7 pill free days so I did'nt get my period. and then two months after doing this I had severe panic attacks. I put it down to stress but i have skipped my period for four months and two weeks ago I had the worst panic attack ever and had 5 more then suffered severe anxiety for a week! I realise now that my first attack happened not long after I started the pill when I was 18. I never had an attack when I went off the pill or when I was pregnant. I am now off the pill and although its only been 3 days I already feel better. I still have a little anxiety about having another attack but I can think clearly now. I'm happier than I was last week. I dont think the pill is doing many people any good especially if some are predisposed to mental illness. This should be taken seriously.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Birth control pills and contraceptives may cause B12 deficiency in some users. You may verify this on line. If serum B12 is depleted and B12 assimilation is lowered the symptoms may be: severe head aches, heart palpitations, weakness, tieredness, hyper bladder, joint pain, muscle weakness, gait problems, diziness, low blood pressure, stomach problems, anxiety and depression etc. etc. etc. Look up B12 deficiency and symptoms as well as contraceptives. You can have your serum b12 tested if it is below 300 the pill may of lowered it and you are symptomatic. You can just supplement with pill or injection until feeling better, if you have developed an assimilation problem due to the contraceptive as a side effect you will need to do this for life. Best wishes,Kcarmen
    KCarmen 8 Replies Flag this Response
  • I had been on Mirena for over a year. It bothered my significant other soI removed it and received a shot of Depo Provera. I only received one shot-for 3 months. We decided to get off all bc and become pregnant. 2 weeks before my last shot ended I started to have migraines. Migraines came along with tingling, dizziness, lots of medication. I had a panic attack in the middle of training for work at the hospital. Then followed by a week of non stop panic attacks and the Dr.'s prescribing more meds. I developed an anxiety to all meds so I stopped taking everything. I struggled for another week but I haven't had another since. I am now dealing with mild anxiety. I seen a therapist regarding the anxiety and she recommended SAM-E, which also has B12. I haven't started taking it but I am going to after reading everyone's posts. God and my significant other have gotten me through. I read my Bible and pray every time I feel anxiety. I am definitely going to speak to the DR and have them test my B12 and hormone levels. Women were just not made to be on birth control.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 9, 2009
    • 05:06 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I had been on Mirena for over a year. It bothered my significant other soI removed it and received a shot of Depo Provera. I only received one shot-for 3 months. We decided to get off all bc and become pregnant. 2 weeks before my last shot ended I started to have migraines. Migraines came along with tingling, dizziness, lots of medication. I had a panic attack in the middle of training for work at the hospital. Then followed by a week of non stop panic attacks and the Dr.'s prescribing more meds. I developed an anxiety to all meds so I stopped taking everything. I struggled for another week but I haven't had another since. I am now dealing with mild anxiety. I seen a therapist regarding the anxiety and she recommended SAM-E, which also has B12. I haven't started taking it but I am going to after reading everyone's posts. God and my significant other have gotten me through. I read my Bible and pray every time I feel anxiety. I am definitely going to speak to the DR and have them test my B12 and hormone levels. Women were just not made to be on birth control.i was on depo for eight years and did just fine. i really think your cause of headaches had nothing to do with birth control.
    butterflygurl 2 Replies
    • October 9, 2009
    • 10:26 AM
    • 0
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  • I found out that women who received Depo-Provera, lost at least 5 percent of their bone mineral density in the hip and lower spine within two years. Women who were smokers, who had never given birth and who didn't consume much calcium were at highest risk, and they continued to experience significant losses in the third year of use.
    Clear-sky 76 Replies
    • December 28, 2009
    • 00:01 PM
    • 0
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  • Hi ladies, I went off the pill about 4 months ago (after being on it for 10 years) and about 2 weeks after I had stopped taking it, I felt extremely emotional and depressed. I would cry over lots of things. I also felt anxious and at one point almost had an anxiety attack. I immediately started taking natural flower remedies to assist with my emotional imbalance and this has worked for me. After about 3 weeks of taking the flower essence drops I felt stable again and stopped taking it. Then after I stopped taking it I felt the symptoms come back again (after about a month) so I started taking the drops again and it has worked. Because it takes about 4-6 months for your body to rid itself of the pill toxins I feel that the flower essences have helped me so much in getting through the detox period.You can get flower essences from your local health food shop, vitamin shop, or naturopath.There are many flower essences to suit all emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, emotional imbalance, self esteem, anger, jealousy etc. All the best ladies! I hope this works for you as it has for me.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 15, 2010
    • 09:04 AM
    • 0
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  • This is so bizarre. I have experienced just the OPPOSITE. Let me explain.......I decided I'd had enough of the migraines. I decided to go OFF the pill for the first time in 10 years. That's when the anxiety started. I began to experience heart palpitations at first. They became more and more frequent (almost daily!), and soon after, i began to feel uncomfortable anxiety that has plagued me for 6 months now. My periods have been mostly regular and I still get the menstrual migraines--although now they are much less severe. But this anxiety is driving me crazy!REPLY:Yes - I am experiencing exactly that right now. I was on the pill for 18 years and recently was too busy to go to the docs to get another prescription, and after 6 weeks of not taking the pill have been plagued by regular panick attacks and palpitations - so bad that I actually went to the doctors today thinking I was having a heart-attack! I got tested for ECG, pO2, BP etc and everything was normal. These panick attacks always strike me later on in the day and not when I am actually 'panicking' about anything. However - when they do strike I feel like I can't breath properly, and that I'm going to faint or just run out of breath - and my heart explode out of my chest! I think that my body just loves the extra oestrogen from the pill (I was on Marvelon and later Mercilon because of the menstrual migraines I was getting - which had started before going on the pill) and I don't have any problems at all when I'm on it. I know that these symptoms are similar to the menopause - which is basically when the body adjusts to the lack of oestrogen it doesn't make anymore, so I believe that my body is having a pseudo menopause - even though I am 38 and am still menstruating - like a 'cold-turkey' effect from synthetic oestrogen. So - I got a prescription today for some more pills and can't wait to feel normal again...
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 20, 2010
    • 09:16 PM
    • 0
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  • HiI was wondering if anyone has sufered anxiety/panic attacks when not on the pill or before taking the pill? I started having panic attacks when i was 17, anxiety seems to run in my family in both men and women. I went on dianette for a few weeks when i was 18 to ease skin problems only i came off it as it caused my moods to be terrible!! i'd be "spaced out" one minute then crying the next. I didnt try another oral contraceptive until i was 21 this as yasmin. to start with yasmin seemed to ease the anxiety. that was 5 years ago. for the past 6-8 months I've noticed that the week i come off yasmin and for a few days after i start again I'm incredibly anxious and irritable. has anyone else experienced this? I dismissed it in previous months as stress I had alot going on, howeve things have been great these past 2 months and i have absoutely no reason to be soo anxious and down. can anyone help? I've ben on mediction in the past to control the anxiety and woldgo on it again if i had too however the regular/cyclic nature of the anxiety bouts isleadin me tothink its hormone related.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I just stumbled onto this forum after viewing so many others in search for answers. To make a long story short; I correlated my recent anxiety and panic attacks to the pill Microgestin. I was experiencing strange sensations of nervousness and dizziness to the point where I felt like I was going to pass out. Since I don't have substantial health insurance I didn't seek help for my symptoms. My quality of life dropped so much because I was fearful for what was going to happen to me. Now I'm getting out more by myself (like I had used to) driving again! My life is slowly coming back together again. I had not thought of my pill being a contributor because I had used it successfully without any problems before. After a few months of being off of it and then having a miscarriage I went back on the pill; and this was when the problems started. My theory after reading and researching is that a woman's hormones change throughout life, environmental contributors also shift and change the hormone balance. Hormones should never EVER be taken lightly, it's a balance that other factors effect: pregnancy, the pill, nutritional deficiencies, etc...I found out about the pill actually causing vitamin B deficiency and since coming off of the pill and supplementing with Vitamin B complex I feel sooo much better. I still get anxious at times, but not to the point where I can't control my mind anymore. The anxiousness now stems from all of the 7.5 months that I spent living in a state of ***l. I would never want anyone to experience the feelings and sensations that living in a state of panic 24/7 felt like, or made me miss out on living happily. I literally felt like I was "losing" my mind, that I couldn't talk myself into just being me and normal. I feel relieved now. I want other women to know that they are not alone. That if they suddenly experience anxiety and panic attacks nearly everyday to consider how the pill is impacting their bodies and minds. Something that "can" cause cancer or a stroke (deep-vein thrombosis) should not be taken lightly; it may be a small risk, but it's still a gamble- and I'm not willing to gamble my health anymore. The final straw came after I spent a day sitting in a clinic with a headache so severe that I couldn't move my neck. Later that evening after they did nothing but run labs; the pain was so terrible that I went to the ER. I had also developed a rash where the blood had come up under my skin and the doctors were in their words "baffled." I had CAT scans and a lumbar puncture to check for meningitis. All of those things came back normal. The next day I was in tears, I thought to myself, I must just be crazy. Then I started thinking about the pill and checked the pamphlet that reads the side effects; I was like hey, okay "nervousness, and dizziness" well that sounds like a panic attack. I had also been skipping the placebo week which contain an iron supp. I decided to take myself off and see how it went. Sure enough within a week, I was feeling "normal" again. For those who find this forum seeking answers like I did, please reconsider how hormonal birth control is effecting your lives. Ask questions and get second opinions. Have a friend or family member be your health advocate, and please know that you can live your life normally and happily again.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I recently switched between Aviane to Alesse simply because I went to a different pharmasist and that's just what they happened to be selling. About 2 weeks in, I had my first panic attack during a lecture and had to leave! For the next month and a half, I experienced palpitations, anxiety, light headedness...the works. I figured it had something to do with the pill, since it had been the only thing in my routine that had changed. Eventually, I switched to Tricyclin low, since my doctor said it had something to do with low levels of estrogen. The syptoms lessened, but lingering anxiety and light headedness still pop up at least 3 times a week, and it's seriously interfering with my life! And i'm only 19! My family is trying to tell me that it's all in my head, but I know that's not the case. Will switching back to my original pill stop the symptoms? Should I just go off the pill completely? Or find a different method of contraception?
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • At one point last year I tried the "mini-pill" as a last effort to try hormonal birth control. Within two weeks I started having extreme anxiety, mood swings, and irritability. It was so extreme I stopped taking them. And yet mini-pills have half the hormones of any other pill. 5 weeks after the birth of my second daughter, I started taking the mini pill. Within 24 hrs of it, I started going emotionally downhill... mood falling and mood swings. I kept on taking it thou but 5 days later I was starting to feel a bit crazy on it, I felt like I was going to go completely crazy. After being on it for just a week I ended up in a mental hospital for several days (after nearly killing myself and my child) where they told me I had postnatal depression. I knew it was the pill thou as I'd felt strange and then stranger and stranger, ever since taking it (completely fine till I took it), so at this point I stopped taking it. From that point of stopping it I started improving...eg felt less depressed and the crazy feeling went almost right away on stopping it. (I didnt take any antidepressents or anything just stopped taking the mini-pill). Unfortuneatly thou I'd been almost gang raped by 3 guys while in the mental hospital (due to the pill) so then was dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and nightmares for a year. I told myself I'd never try taking the pill again after all that!! All the doctors Ive spoken to about my experience say they've never heard of the pill affecting someone like that. (im actualy sensitive to many drugs and get bad reactions)........... Recently thou (19 yrs after my other experience), I started taking natural progesterone and find that I can take that without bad reactions. Apparently the mini-pill thou progesterone.. isnt the same as natural progesterone.
    taniaaust1 2267 Replies Flag this Response
  • OMG I have been on the pill for at elast 8-10 years. i am now 31 years and trying to figure out what is ebst for my body. i have always thought that I have had a tendency to headaches and IBS. Recently I went off the Pill for 9 months and in that 9 months guess what no headaches and no Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was free to eat as spicy food as i wanted and there were no side affects. I am going travelling soon and decided to go back on the pill, also i did not feel my skin was as nice. So back on it I went, it has been one month now since I have been back on it and yes thats right I ahve severe stomach problems and more headaches. So we all know about the pill, but yes it is strange that General Practitioners just prescribe the pill so easily. Theya re so not aware of the many side effects it has on woman. They assume we are all the same, every woman is different and all tablets effect our bodies individually. So why is it a GP cannot seem to understnad that and consider that the pill may be causing stomach pains, headaches, anxiety and pannick attacks. I think we/you are so much better at being able to assess what it is that suits you. So def take this into consideration before being exposed to the pill.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • OMG I have been on the pill for at elast 8-10 years. i am now 31 years and trying to figure out what is ebst for my body. i have always thought that I have had a tendency to headaches and IBS. Recently I went off the Pill for 9 months and in that 9 months guess what no headaches and no Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was free to eat as spicy food as i wanted and there were no side affects. I am going travelling soon and decided to go back on the pill, also i did not feel my skin was as nice. So back on it I went, it has been one month now since I have been back on it and yes thats right I ahve severe stomach problems and more headaches. So we all know about the pill, but yes it is strange that General Practitioners just prescribe the pill so easily. Theya re so not aware of the many side effects it has on woman. They assume we are all the same, every woman is different and all tablets effect our bodies individually. So why is it a GP cannot seem to understnad that and consider that the pill may be causing stomach pains, headaches, anxiety and pannick attacks. I think we/you are so much better at being able to assess what it is that suits you. So def take this into consideration before being exposed to the pill.My advice which I am doing is going to a Family Planning clinic they are free and specialise in Womans Health and contraception.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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