Does Birth Control Make You Tired? How to Manage Side Effects
Many women who start taking hormonal birth control pills, like the pill, patch, or ring, report feeling tired or fatigued. There are a few reasons why birth control can make you feel more tired than usual.
Causes of Fatigue on Birth Control
The hormones in birth control like estrogen and progestin work to prevent pregnancy. But these synthetic hormones also cause changes throughout the body that can leave you feeling run down. When your hormone levels fluctuate, it directly affects your energy levels and mood. It can take 3-6 months for your body to adjust to the new hormone levels.
The hormones in birth control make it harder for your body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. This can lead to fatigue. Those on birth control long-term are at a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Ensuring you get enough of these nutrients can help offset tiredness.
Hormonal birth control can act as a diuretic, meaning you’ll urinate more frequently. This leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that zap energy. Drink plenty of water daily to counteract this effect.
Tips for Battling Birth Control Fatigue
- Give it time. It takes a few months for side effects to improve as your body adjusts.
- Take a multi-vitamin to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
- Limit caffeine which can worsen anxiety and fatigue.
- Exercise regularly to boost endorphins and energy levels.
- Get enough sleep and try to keep a consistent sleep routine.
- Manage stress through yoga, meditation, or relaxing hobbies.
Over-the-Counter Birth Control Options
If hormonal birth control is causing intolerable side effects like fatigue, you may want to consider over-the-counter birth control alternatives like:
- Male condoms – Worn by the male partner, these block sperm from entering the vagina.
- Female condoms – Worn by the female partner, these act as a barrier to sperm.
- Contraceptive sponges – Inserted into the vagina before sex, sponges block and absorb sperm.
- Spermicidal gels – Gels kill and immobilize sperm. Use with condoms or diaphragms.
- Natural family planning – Track your cycle and avoid sex during fertile days.
Talk to Your Partner About Birth Control
When starting birth control, it’s important to discuss it with your partner. Here are tips for having a productive conversation:
- Explain your reasons for wanting to start birth control like regulating hormones, managing painful periods, clearing acne, or simply avoiding pregnancy.
- Discuss potential side effects openly so your partner knows what to expect.
- Make it clear that birth control does not reflect a lack of trust or infidelity concerns.
- Assure your partner you still value intimacy and closeness with them.
- Ask your partner if they have any questions or concerns about using birth control.
- Agree to keep communicating as you adjust to the birth control method.
The choice to begin birth control is personal. But discussing it together strengthens trust and understanding in your relationship.
Q: Does birth control make you gain weight?
A: Some people do gain a small amount of weight on birth control, usually less than 5 pounds. Weight gain is more likely with progesterone-only methods.
Q: How long does it take to adjust to birth control?
A: It can take 3 to 6 months for your body to fully adapt to hormonal birth control. Side effects often improve after about 3 months.
Q: Can birth control make acne worse?
A: Some people do experience acne flare ups when starting birth control pills. This should improve within a few months once hormones balance out.