When taking birth control pills, you may be unknowingly putting your body at risk. Why? There are a number of serious side effects from birth control pills, both mental and physical. Possible side effects include yeast infections, weight gain and increased risk of both breast cancer and cervical cancer — among others.
Oral contraceptives contain either both estrogen and progestin, synthetic progesterone or just progestin. Putting these hormones in your body artificially alters the body’s natural estrogen and progesterone levels, affecting the natural balance of the body’s hormones. With estrogen and progesterone levels in the body out of their natural equilibrium, the brain’s response system is consequently altered, leading to psychological side effects.
Birth control and depression have long been associated with one another. Women have expressed concern about low sex drive, lack of appetite, helplessness, disinterest and an overall sad disposition while ‘on the pill.’ The problem, however, is that little concrete research and evidence exist to safely claim that birth control pills are the root cause of depression in the women taking them.
The recently published study by the University of Copenhagen is a step in the right direction to at last prove the harmful effects of birth control pills and determine whether birth control pills cause depression.
Birth Control and Depression: The Study
The study analyzed 1, 061 ,997 women in Denmark, ages 15-34, who had no previous diagnosis of depression or any other major psychiatric problems. To determine whether the women in the study were affected by the birth control medication after starting it, researchers monitored new prescriptions of antidepressants or diagnoses of depression from the Psychiatric Central Research Register.
In the end, the number of women using birth control who developed depression was compared to the number of women who developed depression that were not using birth control. The forms monitored included combination pills, progestin-only pills, levonorgestrel IUSs, transdermal patches and vaginal rings.
At the conclusion of the study, 55.5 percent of women were current or recent users of hormonal contraception. Researchers found that 133, 178 women received a prescription for antidepressants. They also found 23 ,077 first-time diagnoses of depression.
Frighteningly, adolescents, ages 15–19, had a higher ratio of diagnoses of depression and antidepressant prescriptions. Progestin-only pills and the transdermal patch and vaginal ring are also areas of high concern with a higher ratio of diagnoses and antidepressant prescriptions.
Aside from overt links to depression, it’s also interesting to note that 10 percent of women quit using birth control within the first year. It seems likely undesired effects caused the decision to stop using birth control. Other possible causes are financial reasons, change in relationship status and so on.
Natural Birth Control Alternatives
The good news is that whether or not you are finally convinced of the harmful side effects of oral contraceptives on the mind and body, there are natural birth control alternatives to eliminate any concern.