Birth control can be pretty awesome, whether or not you’re taking it to prevent pregnancy: a lot of girls take hormonal birth control to ease cramps, lighten their periods, balance hormones, or help with acne, even if they aren’t sexually active. And when you’re on the right pill for you, it’s great.
But if you’ve ever tried a birth control pill that made you moody or mopey, you know how frustrating it can feel–because a lot of times, you can’t even put your finger on why you’re so miserable. So you swap pills again and again until you find something that works, which can take a while since you typically have to wait about three months to see how your body adjusts to each one. Annoying, right?
This is because estrogen, the main hormone in most birth control pills, can affect your moods–similarly to how the day before your period comes, a simple (and honestly, lame) Hallmark commercial can make you spontaneously start bawling. It sucks, but soon all these birth control-related mood swings might be a thing of the past.
Here’s why: A new birth control is being developed that may not make you feel so whacked out all the time. Docs in the U.S. and a few other countries are working on a new vaginal ring (like the Nuva Ring) that will prevent pregnancy and possibly lighten your period. And here’s the kicker–the ring they’re testing doesn’t have the estrogen or progesterone that pills have, so it may be less likely to make you weepy, whiny, or grouchy!
The ingredient they’re using instead of traditional hormones is called ulipristal acetate (UPA), the same stuff used in ella, which is an emergency contraception pill. This is not to be confused with the “abortion pill,” which is Mifeprex–they work a lot differently. Most forms of emergency contraception release progestin, which, like birth control pills, “tricks” your body into thinking you’re already preggers. Ella works a little differently because it instead suppresses the hormone progesterone, which delays ovulation for five to seven days. This gives sperm, which can live in your uterus for about a week, time to die before an egg is released, making you a lot less likely to get pregnant. It won’t work if you’re already pregnant!
That said, docs want to see if continued low doses of UPA can prevent ovulation, too. Bonus? Other estrogen-related side effects, like headaches or sore boobs, are a lot less likely if this stuff turns out to work.
The new ring is still in the trial stages, so it will probably be a while before we can buy and try it for ourselves. But we’re just stoked to know that they’re working on this! Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some card commercials to cry over.
Has your birth control ever made you moody? Have you ever had to change birth control pills because they made you feel nuts? What birth control are you using now? Have your birth control’s side effects ever made you stop taking them? Tell us in the comments!