How Lavender Affects Mood When Using Birth Control Pills

Jenn Hoskins
10th March, 2024

How Lavender Affects Mood When Using Birth Control Pills

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Tabriz, Iran, lavender oil capsules improved mood in women on birth control
  • Women taking lavender oil felt less stress and depression after 28 and 56 days
  • Lavender oil did not significantly change anxiety levels in these women
The decision to use oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) is multifaceted, with considerations including effectiveness, accessibility, and the potential for side effects. OCPs are a prevalent choice for preventing pregnancy globally, but emotional disturbances linked to their use often lead to discontinuation. A recent study by researchers at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences[1] explored whether lavender essential oil (LEO) could mitigate these mood-related side effects. The study involved 60 married women, all consumers of combined oral contraceptives (COCs), who were enrolled in a triple-blinded clinical trial. Participants were randomly divided into two groups: one received a daily gelatin capsule containing 80 mg of LEO, while the other received a placebo, with the trial spanning 56 days. To assess the impact, researchers used the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) for mood, and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21) for stress and depression. The findings were noteworthy. Women taking LEO experienced a significant increase in positive mood and a decrease in negative mood, stress, and depression compared to the placebo group. These effects were evident at both the 28-day and 56-day marks. However, there was no significant difference in anxiety levels between the two groups. This study is particularly relevant in light of previous research indicating a substantial portion of women on hormonal contraception experience mood changes[2]. These prior findings highlighted a gap in communication between patients and healthcare providers regarding potential psychological side effects. The Tabriz University study suggests that LEO could be part of the solution, offering a complementary approach to managing the emotional disturbances associated with COCs. Further supporting the potential benefits of LEO, earlier studies have documented its anxiolytic properties. Research has shown that constituents of lavender oil, such as linalool and linalyl acetate, may have a calming effect by interacting with certain receptors in the brain[3]. Moreover, lavender oil has demonstrated an affinity for the serotonin transporter and the NMDA receptor, which are involved in mood regulation[4]. These actions may help explain the improvements in mood disorders observed in the current study. The use of LEO has also been evaluated in the context of postpartum care, where it was found to improve maternal mood and reduce pain and fatigue[5]. This suggests that the benefits of LEO are not limited to contraceptive-related mood disturbances but may extend to other stressful or hormonally influenced conditions. In conclusion, the research from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences provides evidence that lavender essential oil could be a valuable adjunct therapy for women experiencing mood disorders related to the use of COCs. While this does not negate the necessity for thorough counseling on potential side effects, it offers a promising alternative to improve the well-being of those on hormonal contraceptives. Further research could help solidify the role of LEO in women's healthcare and expand its use in clinical practice.



Main Study

1) The effect of lavender on mood disorders associated with the use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs): a triple-blinded randomized controlled trial.

Published 8th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Psychological side effects of hormonal contraception: a disconnect between patients and providers.

3) Essential oil of lavender in anxiety disorders: Ready for prime time?

4) Exploring Pharmacological Mechanisms of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Essential Oil on Central Nervous System Targets.

5) Effect of Lavender Oil Aroma in the Early Hours of Postpartum Period on Maternal Pains, Fatigue, and Mood: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

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