Women who used birth control as teenagers are 130% more likely to be depressed

Women who used birth control as teenagers are 130% more likely to be depressed

By Cassidy Morrison Senior Health Reporter for Dailymail.Com

Updated: 7:25pm June 13, 2023



Women who start taking birth control pills as teenagers have a drastically higher risk of developing depression than those who have never taken contraception.

A new four-year study found that women who started taking oral contraceptives (OCs) before their 20s had a 130% higher rate of depression than those who had never used them.

And people who started OC as adults had a less than 92 percent risk of depression.

The likelihood of developing birth control pill-related depression was highest within the first two years of starting the contraceptive, but the rate at which women were diagnosed with depression decreased the longer they took a contraceptive.

The research team, led by health experts from Uppsala University in Sweden, speculated that the link could be attributed to hormone level changes that are already wreaking havoc on a teenager’s emotional well-being, which is amplified by the addition of hormonal birth control.

The report comes as tests from women are revealing adverse effects of the pill, such as blood clots, gallbladder disease and other mental health problems.

The type of oral contraceptive considered in the study contains progestogen, a compound similar to the hormone progesterone, and estrogen

A history of ever taking an oral contraceptive was associated with a higher overall rate of depression than those who had never taken one.

However, the risk of depression was less pronounced after two years of continued use.

Therese Johansson, lead author of the study, said: ‘The powerful influence of contraceptive pills on adolescents can be attributed to the hormonal changes caused by puberty.

Because women in that age group have already experienced substantial hormonal changes, they may be more receptive to not only hormonal changes but other life experiences as well.

The study, one of the largest and most far-reaching to date, included nearly 265,000 women in the UK Biobank, a population-based cohort that recruited 500,000 UK participants aged 37-71 in 2006 and 2010.

Ms Johansson, PhD candidate, added: Importantly, most women tolerate external hormones well, without experiencing any negative effects on their mood, so combined contraceptive pills are an excellent option for many women.

However, some women may have an increased risk of depression after they start using contraceptive pills.

Although depression in adult women decreased after about two years of taking an oral contraceptive regularly, that similar incidence remained high among adolescents even after they stopped taking it.

Mood disturbance is a common complaint among women taking hormonal birth control pills in the study, which contain estrogen and a synthetic version of the progesterone hormone called progestin.

Can the pill make you gay? Women report the bizarre symptom

A growing number of women have spoken out about what is probably the most unlikely side effect of birth control — they say oral contraceptives have altered their sexuality to favor more feminine traits.

The progestin prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, preventing sperm from entering the uterus.

And estrogen thins the uterine lining, further hindering the implantation of a fertilized egg, thus preventing pregnancy about 99% of the time.

A study in JAMA Psychiatry conducted by experts from the University of Copenhagen in 2016 reported that among more than one million Danish women, those who use hormonal contraceptives have a 0.9 to 1.9 times higher risk of a first diagnosis of depression.

Teenage girls had an even higher risk ranging from 1.2 to 3.2 times, but the researchers acknowledged that this could be attributed to the age group generally more prone to symptoms of depression.

On the other hand, a great deal of evidence has accumulated over the years to show that birth control pills can actually improve mood and emotional health.

In a 2013 report in the American Journal of Epidemiology, American doctors studied the effects of contraception in a sample of more than 6,600 sexually active non-pregnant women.

They found that hormonal contraceptive users had lower mean levels of depressive symptoms and were less likely to have attempted suicide in the previous year than women taking non-hormonal contraceptives and those taking nothing.

And a 2003 study by doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that a fraction of 658 women who took oral contraceptives just over 16 percent saw their mood worsen on the pill.

But the vast majority of them, more than 71 percent, saw no change in their mood.

The latest Swedish study looked only at hormonal birth control pills containing two types of female hormones and did not include other forms of contraception such as IUDs, vaginal rings or progestogen-only mini pills.

The study also included a generally healthy, predominantly white population in the UK, which the authors say could reduce the degree to which their findings apply to a broader context of contraceptive side effects.

Their findings have been published in the journal Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences.

There are an estimated 73 million American women of reproductive age ranging from 15 to 49, and most of them use at least one form of contraception, which could include hormonal contraceptives, condoms, and IUDs.

Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that from 2015 to 2017, nearly 65 percent of women used birth control in some form.

#Women #birth #control #teenagers #depressed

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