Women use birth control methods for a variety of reasons, but I've found that they primarily resort to this preventative method to avert pregnancies, alleviate menstrual pains and to experience a regular monthly cycle. For most of us, we have been exposed to this option at an early age from our parents and physicians, as if it was some sort of "coming of age" ritual. But after my horrible experience with using two different birth control methods in college, I'm left wondering: how many women, like myself, have lacked the proper education behind these synthetic drugs that we put into our bodies, and the havoc that it can potentially wreak on our mental state?
In a lot of instances, we may associate our sudden anxiety trips, or up and down mood swings, to our imperfect life or one-off situations. But haven't you found it weird that if not every day, at least a couple times a week, you feel sad or moody (for no particular reason) while using some form of hormonal birth control?
Before I move forward, I would like to offer a disclaimer. I'm not a medical physician, or trying to provoke anyone using hormonal contraceptives to do otherwise. I'm simply bringing attention to a subject that needs to be discussed further within our community, so that we can offer help to one another and just be more aware.
Up until this point, there were a lot of case studies and reports refuting the argument that there was a correlation between depression and birth control methods. But a groundbreaking new study, conducted by scientists at the University of Copenhagen, have revealed some concrete facts that closely tie the two.
After tracking one million women who had no prior history of depression, between the ages of 15-34 for 13 years, they found that birth control is associated with higher rates of depression.
Check out the statistical findings below:
1. Women between the ages of 15-19 who took oral contraceptives were 80 percent more likely to become depressed.
2. Women who used the combined birth control pill (estrogen and progestin) were 23 percent more likely to be prescribed antidepressants.
3. Women who used progestin only pills were 34 percent more likely to be prescribed antidepressants.
4. Women who used vaginal rings had an increased risk of 60 percent.
5. Women who used IUDs had an increased risk of 40 percent.
6. Antidepressant use doubled with women who used "the patch".
There were some challenges to this study by some scientists (because of the large sample size and the question of developmental stages), but it is still the first study to show such a high correlation.
I personally feel that within the medical community, there should be more research and acknowledgment of this issue because of its impact on so many women. We shouldn't have to feel like we have to choose between our sanity and birth prevention in the 21st century. We need more options and literature explaining the mental effects of taking birth control, so that we can then know how to move forward.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you experienced any signs of depression or anxiety while taking birth control? Let's chat below.