This post is for the ladies, but men can read it if they would like. Let’s just say that I have some questions about birth control and its effects on OCD. Maybe you do too. Maybe that’s what lead you to read this blog post. Unfortunately, I am not here to tell you that I have any medically proven answers or advice. I’m not a doctor. I’m just a woman with OCD who has also been on (and currently uses) an oral contraceptive.
Also unfortunately, I am here to tell you that the articles and posts I’ve read about this topic seem to be fairly inconclusive. It’s mostly the old, “there may be a connection but we aren’t totally sure yet one way or the other.”
I get it. People’s bodies are different and react differently to pills, and our bodies’ chemical workings and how they affect mental health aren’t exactly open and shut cases either.
I will say, however, that I have noticed a connection between my hormones and female body happenings and my anxiety/OCD. As a short backstory, I also have endometriosis (basically where the tissues normally in the womb grow outside of the womb and bleed but the blood doesn’t really have any exit route… this can cause pain and discomfort, to put it nicely).
Before I knew I had endometriosis, I went through various doctors and ways to figure out what could be wrong, including thinking that I was just “getting sick.” This affected and exacerbated my OCD. I started using excessive amounts of hand sanitizer and avoiding places/people/going out because I didn’t want to “get people sick.”
So just with that experience, I saw how other medical conditions can really affect OCD. This year, I went to a new gynecologist with complaints of increased pelvic pain and what I suspected was my endometriosis making a comeback. My OCD had started to rear its ugly head around this time again (since I had weaned off my medication a few months prior). But I want to say that I noticed an increase in the severity of my OCD after my gynecologist put me back on birth control to help with my pelvic pain.
This is really bad news if true. It’s discouraging. It makes me feel like my body and issues are at odds with each other, like nothing wants to work or “play nicely” together. The side effects of different health conditions can play off of each other, making it so difficult to find a happy medium or place where you feel “good.”
Awhile back I missed one birth control pill and that sent my body into a spin—spotting, “mini period” and bleeding/small clots for not only days but weeks. This then made my OCD worse because the old blood looks brown when I wipe, and that freaks me out. Maybe too much information, but this is my life.
In my opinion, hormones affect OCD. I think that my OCD gets worse around the beginning of my period. I also would say that birth control has made my OCD flare up and increase in severity. Maybe it’s just coincidental timing. Maybe they have no relationship. But maybe they do, and it’s at least worth looking into more.