The contraception connection: No link between hormonal birth control, depression
Regular consumption of hormonal birth control pills does not increase a woman’s risk of developing depression, say researchers, easing fear around use of contraceptives.
The findings showed that there is no link between the intake of hormonal birth control pills and depression in women.
“Depression is a concern for a lot of women when they’re starting hormonal contraception, particularly when they’re using specific types that have progesterone,” said lead author Brett Worly, at the Ohio State University.
“Based on our findings, this side effect shouldn’t be a concern for most women, and they should feel comfortable knowing they’re making a safe choice,” Worly added.
For the study, published in the journal Contraception, the team reviewed thousands of studies on the mental health effects of contraceptives and included data tied to various contraception methods, including injections, implants and pills.
They found insufficient evidence to prove a link between birth control and depression.
While birth control pills are known to trigger depression, the extent of the complication is often exaggerated, said researchers, adding that social media platforms are to be blamed for making contraception complications seem more common than they are.
“We live in a media-savvy age where if one or a few people have severe side effects, all of a sudden, that gets amplified to every single person,” Worly said.
“The biggest misconception is that birth control leads to depression. For most patients that’s just not the case,” he noted.
However, adolescents and pregnant women can sometimes have a higher risk of depression, Worly said.
“For such patients, it’s important that they have a good relationship with their healthcare provider so they can get the appropriate screening done - regardless of the medications they’re on,” he suggested.
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