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Birth control pills can raise the risk of depression by up to 80%

Birth control

(NaturalNews) A new study, recently published by JAMA Psychiatry, has linked the use of hormonal birth control to depression, especially in teenage girls. Of course, to many women, these findings are anything but surprising. Depression and mood swings have been well-known side effects of birth control for many years now, but little research into the phenomenon has been done and much of it has been inconclusive.

As the study's abstract states, "Despite the clinical evidence of an influence of hormonal contraception on some women's mood, associations between the use of hormonal contraception and mood disturbances remain inadequately addressed."

Dr. Ojvind Lidegaard, professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and lead supervisor of the study, and his team tracked more than one million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34 over a period of 14 years. They accomplished this by using data from the National Prescription Register and the Psychiatric Central Research Register in Denmark to monitor their health. Women who were diagnosed with depression before the age of 15 were excluded from the study.

The researchers' findings were shocking. Women who took combination estrogen and progestin pills were 23 percent more likely to be prescribed antidepressants, while women who took progestin-only birth control pills were 34 percent more likely to be prescribed antidepressant medication. For women who used a contraceptive patch, antidepressant use actually doubled. Using a vaginal ring for contraception resulted in a 60 percent increase in antidepressant use, while women who had an implanted intrauterine device (IUD) were 40 percent more likely to be prescribed a drug to treat depression.

Even more unsettling, however, is the proportion of teenagers that were possibly being negatively affected by their birth control. The study found that women between the ages of 15 and 19 who were taking birth control were 80 percent more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant drug than those who were not on birth control.

In a given year, an average of 1.7 per 100 women who did not use hormonal birth control began taking antidepressant. However, in women that took some form of birth control, that rate increased to 2.2. out of 100 beginning an antidepressant regime within a given year. This equates to an almost 30 percent increase in antidepressant use overall in women who take birth control.

Lidegaard commented, "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."

The team posited that the differences seen among varying forms of birth control may in fact be more related to dose received rather than route of administration. The researchers also noted that younger women were particularly susceptible to developing depression while taking a form of contraception. Women between the ages of 20 and 34 appeared to be less likely to suffer from depression than their younger counterparts.

Women are more than twice as likely to experience depression to begin with, so anything that can increase these risks should be handled with care. While the researchers do state that their findings simply suggest a potential relationship and do not by any means indicate that birth control causes depression, it is still reasonable to be concerned. If you are experiencing depression, you should speak to your naturopath or another medical professional that you trust.






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