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Researchers are studying the effects of taking the birth control pill
Many women take the pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, the use can lead to undesirable side effects. Researchers have now found that the contraceptive pill can reduce the overall well-being of healthy women.
The researchers from the Karolinka Institutet in Sweden and the Stockholm School of Economics found in their study that taking the contraceptive pill negatively affects women's well-being. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.
Experts examine data from 340 women
For their investigation, the doctors analyzed the data of 340 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 35. These participants received either prescriptions for a combined contraceptive pill with Ethniylestradoil and Levonorgestrel (most commonly used contraceptive pill in many countries) or a placebo pill, the researchers say.
Negative effects of the contraceptive pill
Of course, none of the participating women knew what type of pill they were taking. However, it quickly became clear that women who took the real contraceptive pill rated their quality of life significantly lower than the participants in the placebo group. The women said taking the pill would negatively affect their overall wellbeing, self-control, and energy levels, the scientists add.
Effects on quality of life could be of clinical importance
Despite the identified side effects, there was no significant increase in depressive symptoms, the scientists explain. The changes were only relatively minor, but the negative impact on the quality of life of individual women could be of clinical importance.
What are the possible causes?
The reasons for the differences found could be poor compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills, author Niklas Zethraeus conjectures. This potential deterioration in quality of life should be considered and taken into account when prescribing birth control pills and choosing a method of contraception, the expert adds.
Possible link to depression?
The results cannot be generalized to other types of the combined contraceptive pill. These may have a different risk profile and other side effects. Last year, a very large study found that there was a link between the contraceptive pill and an increased risk of developing depression. This research analyzed a million Danish women. The researchers found that combined oral contraceptives increase the risk of women between 20 and 34 years of age taking these antidepressants. This increased risk is around 23 percent.
Depression contraceptive pill is particularly common in adolescents
For adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19, the risk of depression was even 80 percent, the researchers say. This risk even increased to 120 percent if adolescents used the so-called mini pill, the authors add. (as)