Big news for women who regularly use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. A new study found that birth control may be associated with an increased risk of depression, according to CNN.
The findings probably aren’t surprising to the 30% of women who quit using the pill due to intolerable side effects.
The study, published in the journal JAMA of psychiatry, explained that the manipulation of hormones in the body may lead to mood fluctuations. The study tracked more than 1 million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34 over 14 years.
“We have known for decades that women’s sex hormones estrogen and progesterone have an influence on many women’s mood. Therefore, it is not very surprising that also external artificial hormones acting in the same way and on the same centers as the natural hormones might also influence women’s mood or even be responsible for depression development,” said Dr. Ojvind Lidegaard, a professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and lead supervisor of the study.
And it turns out different variations of contraceptives may have increased risk of depression than others. Women who use combined oral birth control methods (contains progestin & estrogen) experienced a 1.2-fold higher rate of taking anti-depressants to counteract the effects. Women who use progestin only pills experienced a 1.3 fold higher rate of usage.
Of the non-oral methods which includes the patch and vaginal ring (NuvaRing), study participants were recorded at 1.5 fold increased risk of depression.
Researchers cited that the difference in risk between oral and non-oral methods may be due to dosage rather than how the hormones are administered throughout the body.
It’s important to note that the study found correlation between birth control and depression, which is not causation–but there is a link.
These new findings definitely support the increased interest in male contraceptives, which are in development as we speak. Perhaps this study will help expand the conversation around birth control, since current public discourse on the topic continues to give women the burden of pregnancy prevention.
Since it takes two to make one, both sides of the gender card should be active participants in sexual health, especially if women are suffering from the side effects.