Women who take birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancy know that side effects can occur at any time. Most aren’t aware that a change in sex drive is one of the potential side effects. Birth control pills affect the libido. Some women experience a drop in libido and sex drive while other women claim they cannot get it enough. Here is what you should know about birth control pills and your changing libido.
Birth control pills contain hormones that can throw a woman’s body out of whack, especially when she first starts using them. This often leads to changes in the libido and her sex drive. Although it doesn’t affect every woman who uses birth control, it is fairly common.
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What is Libido?
The libido is our sex drive, and it is affected by many physical, psychological, and hormonal factors. Even testosterone, often thought to be the ‘male hormone,’ plays a role in the libido.
The many influences over the libido better explain why some women experience significant decreases or increases in sex drive while other women do not. Your self-esteem, stress levels, mental and physical health, stress levels, and even satisfaction during sexual intercourse can play a part in your libido.
Certain medications also affect the libido.
The sex drive can fluctuate from month to month, week to week, or even day by day. There is no right or wrong libido level since everyone is different and so many factors affect it.
If you notice changes in your sex drive after starting hormonal birth control, those tiny pills are the likely culprit. More research is needed to understand exactly how birth control pills affect our sex drive, although enough evidence is there to show the connection.
Popular Brands of Hormonal Birth Control
- Yaz: A hormonal birth control pill containing a combination of estrogen and progestin, which prevent ovulation while thickening the cervical mucus. Unlike some hormonal contraceptives, Yaz improves acne instead of making it worse. However, side effects with Yaz can occur and include weight gain, headaches, and an increased risk of blood clots. Yaz has a failure rate of about 1% annually when used correctly.
- Ocella: Ocella is the generic version of the birth control pill Yaz, which we discussed above. It contains the same hormones -estrogen and progestin- as Yaz and thickens cervical mucus and prevents ovulation. The major difference between the two products is the cost and whether or not insurance covers that price.
- Lovora: A third brand of birth control pill used to prevent pregnancy is Lovoro. This estrogen and progestin combination hormonal pill prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to fertilize the egg. The contraceptive is taken at the same time of day. Possible side effects of Lovora include changes in mood, weight gain, nausea, and headache. This medication has an annual fail rate of under 1%.
- Ortho-Tri-Cylclen: A combination of estrogen and progestin hormones, this birth control pill works the same way as the aforementioned pills. It is taken once daily at the same time to maximize effectiveness. Side effects of this contraceptive include headache, weight gain, and mood changes. The average failure rate of this product is about 1% when used correctly.
- Junel: Junel prevents ovulation when it is taken once each day. It contains the same hormones as the other mentioned contraceptives: estrogen and progestin. It also works to thicken the cervical mucus. Women who have a history of stroke, blood clots, or certain types of cancer should not use this product. Many women use Junel because its side effects seem to occur less frequently than with some other contraceptives. This product has an approximate 1% annual fail rate when used correctly.
This list is not inclusive. Your doctor has access to dozens more contraceptive brands and types. If preventing unwanted pregnancy is your goal, there is a birth control pill for that! Familiarize yourself with the options to find the best for your needs.
Birth Control & the Libido
Libido changes are one of the less common side effects of birth control, although hundreds of women report its occurrence every year.
Birth control pills work by altering a woman’s hormone levels. Many contraceptives contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone, both of which work to stop ovulation. Many birth control options at Hello Wisp ensure women have their choice of contraceptives.
Studies suggest that hormonal birth control is more likely to decrease sex drive than increase it, although experiences vary from woman to woman, and some experience an increase in their libido.
Remember earlier when we mentioned how birth control pills lower testosterone levels? Contrary to popular belief, testosterone plays a role in female libido. When birth control pills decrease testosterone levels, it may impact the sex drive. Libido changes can even affect her response to arousal, ultimately affecting her sex drive.
Hormonal birth control can have psychological effects as well. When a woman experiences psychological changes, it can impact her sense of pleasure and mental health. It is not easy to want sex when mental health factors are present.
Fight Back Against Libido Changes
Most women are not overly concerned about increased sex drive, although they tend to worry when they experience decreased libido after starting birth control pills. She can take several steps to fight back against libido changes.
Talk to your doctor if libido changes cause concern. Since many factors affect our libido, treating them may require several remedies. It may be necessary to address the psychological factors contributing to libido changes before treating the problem.
Your doctor can suggest lifestyle changes that may lessen the impact of the medication. He can even adjust the dosage of the birth control pills, which may ease side effects.
Your doctor can also recommend different brands of birth control pills that may not have such an impact on your libido. He can also recommend alternative birth control methods., depending on your needs and desires.
We hope this information helps you more easily keep your libido in check.