Birth Control Pills, Anxiety & Hyperventilation Syndrome

Postby miakoda » Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:14 pm

Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum.

I just wanted to see if anyone else has had issues with anxiety and/or hyperventilation that developed out of taking birth control pills.

I've was on birth control for over 6 years, but was fine until my doctor switched my pill (to Diane 35) in an attempt to get rid of a few red spots on my face before I got married (Diane 35 is supposed to be great for clearing up acne).

This was back in May 05. I started to get a bit moody and anxious, but I just thought it was a normal reaction before my wedding. So I got married in August, and was back to being a graduate student in Fall 2005. At the end of October, as I was driving to interview one of the participants in the research I was conducting, my heart just started racing. My hands and feet were tingling (as they had been for the past week), it was difficult to breathe, and I felt dizzy, like I was going to faint. I didn't know what to do so I called emergency. They told me to pull over and take a deep breath and relax, suggesting that what I had was an anxiety attack. I still went on with my interview (although I was really shaken) and saw my doctor later that day. She told me that it sounds like hyperventilation, gave me some meds in case I needed them, and told me to go home and relax.

Well I didn't have another panic attack, but my chest felt super heavy, I was extremely tired, and it felt like work to breathe regularly. I was still moody and irritated, especially since I knew I had so much work to get done (I was driving for at least 10 hours week to interview people for my Masters). These feelings came and went, and my doctor found that my blood pressure was starting to go up. This is when I started to do some internet research on my birth control pill, Diane 35. Apparently, it's much stronger than other birth control pills (4 times more likely than others to get a clot in your leg) and has a lot of progesterone hormone in it - a hormone that can accelerate breathing!! :shock:

In December I started to put the pieces together and just went off Diane 35 . I feel much less moody and anxious, and a bit more like my normal self. Since I went off the pill, I still have a few issues with my breathing, but it is better than before.

I'm thinking of seeing a breathing specialist - because I'm finding my doctor of little help. I don't need more meds, I just want to get back to a normal breathing pattern. I believe that I've been a mouth breather for most of my life, so trying to breathe "low and slow" through my nose is quite a challenge!!

Thanks, just wanted to share my story. Would like to hear your input or if you have had issues that are similar to mine.
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Postby bearyconfused » Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:09 pm

Hi...i've been experiencing some major breathing problems and anxiety and panic since i went on the BC patch (also very high in hormones) about 4 mts breathing has worsened in the past 3 weeks to asmathic...i had this will the pill before and switched two times.

I have to go off the patch as its also causing other side affects like sore breasts...irregular breathing...indigestion...and lack of sex drive...

I guess i best just go cold turkey and pray my hormones some day get straightened out...

Good Luck and God Bless!
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Postby jurplesman » Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:06 am

Hi miakoda

Please read:

Beating Anxiety and Phobias

for a possible explanation of your problem.
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Postby Jack35 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:05 am


Get the free ebook at the address below to relearn how to breathe. It's not just a matter of breathing 'long and slow' but rather one of breathing from the diaphragm and not just in the upper part of the lungs.

Hope that helps,

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Postby miakoda » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:08 am

Hi bearyconfused,

I knew I couldn't be the only one that had this kind of reaction to BC!

I really do think there's a big connection between BC (particularly those that are stronger in hormones) and anxiety and breathing issues. I do wish my doctor would have mentioned this!!

Based on my own experience, I think it's best for you to go off BC all together and use other contraceptive methods.

I just finished my first normal cycle without BC (in 6 years!) and am feeling a lot better today. Had no breathing problems/chest pain/tingling today. First time in a while.... I do hope and believe that it will continue. :)

Try going off the patch.....your hormones will get straightened seems like mine took only about a month!

All the best to you.
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Postby suemarieee » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:53 pm

I overbreathe a lot and get tingling in my hands and feet, and feel like my chest is being tightened and feel dizzy. I have tried so many breathing exercises and they just dont work for me. I am on the mini pill which is progesterone only. I wonder if this makes it worse, i had never heard of that before?
But then i was getting hyperventilation and overbreathing well before i was taking this pill.
wish it wud clear up my spots :s
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Postby bearyconfused » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:59 pm

Hi Miakoda...i seen the doctor today about the patch because my breathing is getting worse and i know its because of the hormone dosage. It was hard to find any info on asthma triggered by hormones but i did on the Web MD site though its not a common side affect it does happen.

Unfortunately because i'm going on a one month course he doesn't feel i should just take the patch off and throw my hormones into a loop while going through a stressful time. But as soon as i get back in a month i'm ripping the patch off and going cold antidepressants...for 3 months i will try this and monitor my reaction. The doctor figures this might be better for me too.

Meanwhile i'm on 2 different inhalers to get me through the next 30 days i'm away. The things we do to our body. I'm glad your doing better and i'm looking forward to mother nature again! Ha!

Take care and god bless!
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Postby miakoda » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:33 pm

Hey sue,

You are describing exactly how I felt after my panic attack back in October. Tingling arms and feet, tightened chest, dizziness... I did read that progesterone can cause you to overbreathe, which may contribute to why you feel this way. Maybe ask your doctor their opinion and if going on a different type of pill would help? Check out this website on Respiratory Alkalosis (Hyperventilation Sydrome), and scroll down to "Drugs." It says that "Progesterone causes stimulation of the respiratory center, which can lead to respiratory alkalosis" :


Good that you went to your doctor to get this checked out! Yes, if you know you will be under a ton of stress it may be not a good idea to go off it right away - I had some negative side effects, mainly really sensitive/sore breasts, but otherwise I found I was less moody. I totally support your decision to get off the BC as soon as you're ready. Good for you for thinking about ditching the antidepressants too. I was on antidepressants for a very brief period of time (maybe a month) a few years back because of serious stress induced insomnia.

Also happy to report that my blood pressure seems to be at a normal level now!

All the best! Good luck on your course - enjoy yourself!
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Postby suemarieee » Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:36 pm

yes i mite ask my doc. But then i did get these symptoms before i went on that pill. But if progesterone makes it worse then its not gonna do me any favours.
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Postby bearyconfused » Sat Jan 07, 2006 2:10 am

Hi Miakoda...I hear you on the sore breasts. I cry sometimes they hurt so my sex drive has become non existant and i'm bleeding everyday and top that off with more emotions (than prior to the Patch) and the asthma and i feel like a walking

But on a positive side i have to remember than 4 more patches and then i'll be patch free. And pray my body returns to somewhat normalsy(sp) after almost 2 years of different meds and hormones.

No wonder i'm struggling to keep all my marbles.

God Bless you all and i hope to have access to the site while on course but if not i'll see you all in February!
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Postby miakoda » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:16 pm


yikes!! yes i think it will be good for you to go off the bc meds. I think our bodies are resiliant and generallly bounce back pretty quick.

Talk to you in Feb!
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Postby libraca » Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:17 am

Hi, I know your post is old but, I don't have panic attacks anymore and I don't know the relation of BCP to your breathing problem. I had the same breathing problem a few years ago, I thought I was dying or something but it was anxiety and panic attacks. I got through them without medication but it took over a year and I still have anxiety. Really it is a mental thing that you have to overcome. You just have to constantly reasure yourself that you have no breathing problem, you are healthy you are not going to die and not stress about future attacks. Get plenty of sleep and stay away from alcohol or drugs. Don't let yourself get dehydrated and exercise. Try doing some yoga to relax, you have to fix whats in your head- don't rely on meds because they are a quick fix. Hope you have gotten better by now!
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Postby lila8022 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:07 am

Hi all, I just email dr. oz from the oprah show. Will you send him an email telling your story about anxiety after birth control too? It's been 4 month since i've been off bc and i still have anxiety! I think it's time we get some answers instead of just taking anti-depressants. If you want to send him an email go to OPRAH dot com scroll down the page and on the left had side is a ask dr. oz box. Click it then go to the blue topic about anxiety and panick attacks. Click that and fill out your info. and tell him your story.
Tell all you hormonally unbalanced friends to do the same.
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Postby vap90 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:23 pm

I recently switched between Aviane to Alesse simply because I went to a different pharmasist and that's just what they happened to be selling. About 2 weeks in, I had my first panic attack during a lecture and had to leave! For the next month and a half, I experienced palpitations, anxiety, light headedness...the works. I figured it had something to do with the pill, since it had been the only thing in my routine that had changed. Eventually, I switched to Tricyclin low, since my doctor said it had something to do with low levels of estrogen. The syptoms lessened, but lingering anxiety and light headedness still pop up at least 3 times a week, and it's seriously interfering with my life! And i'm only 19! My family is trying to tell me that it's all in my head, but I know that's not the case. Will switching back to my original pill stop the symptoms? Should I just go off the pill completely? Or find a different method of contraception?
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