A newly published study has found a link between depression and birth control.
This study on birth control is the largest study of its kind. It was conducted by The University of Copenhagen and confirmed a link between hormonal contraceptive and depression.
One million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34 were tracked for a total of 13 years. Researchers found that women taking the combined oral contraceptive were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression. However, those using progestin-only pills (or “the mini-pill”) were 34% more likely.
Teens were at the greatest risk of depression, with an 80% increase when taking the combined pill, and that risk is doubled with the progestin-only pill. It was also found that other methods (such as coils/IUDs) increased the rate of depression when compared to oral contraception.
This news may not come as a surprise for women who suffer drastic mood changes during the course of taking birth control. Some professionals are also reluctant to prescribe birth control to those with a history of depression as it could increase the risk of them suffering more severely.
The risk of depression “is not trivial”.
Oejvind Lidegaard is the senior author from the study. He said to The Times that most women who take hormonal birth control won’t develop depression. But, a 40 percent increased risk of depression “is not trivial.”
He went on to say:
“It is important that we tell women that there is this possibility, and there are effective non-hormonal methods of birth control.”
“We have to realize among all the benefits, external hormones [also] may have side effects. And the risk of depression is one of them,”
“And we have to manage our clients, younger and older, about what kind of contraception they can have the most benefit from.”
Birth control is notorious for unwanted side affects. Headaches, nausea and even weight gain (although that hasn’t been proven) are common with it. However, it has been said for some time that increased anxiety and depression are commonly suffered also. The affect this has on mental health may put current birth control into question.
Do you agree with this study? Have you found yourself feeling depressed while taking birth control? If you have we’d like to hear your opinion on this story.