Scientists Debunk the Myth That Contraceptives Can Cause Depression

Contraceptive pills are the most common birth control method relied on by many women. However, most of them cause notable hormonal changes to the body since their mechanism hijacks hormonal processes involved in reproductive health.

Many women no longer take hormone-based birth control pills due to fear that such contraceptives may cause depression or suicide in extreme cases. A Northwestern Medicine study dismissed the beliefs enforced by inaccurate studies whose findings were inaccurate. A recent study shows that hormone-based contraceptives such as vaginal rings, UIDs, and pills do not trigger depression. The study also proves that women can choose from a variety of healthy birth control methods available.

Dr. Jessica Kiley, the head of gynecology and general obstetrics at Northwestern University stated that the concerns about hormones and their potential to cause depression are quite common. The concerns are particularly increased in patients suffering from anxiety especially when they hear about the potential negative effects of the drugs.

Dr. Kiley hopes that the research findings from the recent study will dispel any fears around contraceptive use and encourage women to pursue their contraceptive needs. The recent study is the first contraceptive research that addresses the needs of women who suffer from psychiatric disorders and depression.  The researchers hope that the study findings will encourage women to focus on effectively managing their reproductive and mental health.

The research is currently available in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Kiley noted that contraceptive use is associated with depression but not the cause. She added that there is a difference between cause and association. Unplanned pregnancies cause mental and physical stress. Placebo-controlled and randomized clinical studies revealed that women suffering from psychiatric illnesses have similar mood changes when they use contraceptives as healthy women. Research has also shown that contraceptives might sometimes stabilize mood symptoms.

Dr. Kiley believes that the best way to ensure people have the right knowledge about reproductive health is for psychiatrists to talk to their patients about fertility, contraceptives, and family planning. She also believes that maintaining communications between gynecologists and psychiatrists to facilitate better patient care. Women should visit doctors to know which contraceptives are ideal for them. Avoiding unplanned pregnancies is similar to preventative health.

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