‘Surprisingly little’

Forget PMS, study finds birth control pills might be the reason you feel bad all month

Contraceptive pills: KM/DL/JDP- Reuters

A recent study published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility has found that otherwise healthy women who regularly took contraceptive pills experienced a negative dip in their mood, energy, and quality of life. Over the years, many women have come to rely on contraceptive pills to stymie the emotional rollercoaster and other unsavory symptoms that are part and parcel of being a woman. While the conclusions did not appear to indicate that regular users of the hormonal pill were at a greater risk for developing depression, the results still have many in the medical community worried.

The scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden tested a large sampling of 340 women between the ages of 18 to 35 over the course of three months. Providing the participants with either placebos or birth control pills that contained ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel, the most common hormones found in contraceptive pills in Sweden and in many other countries. Those who took the combination pills reported feeling that they had an overall lower quality of life and well-being than those who received placebos.

“Despite the fact that an estimated 100 million women around the world use contraceptive pills we know surprisingly little today about the pill’s effect on women’s health” explained professor Angelica Lindén Hirschberg, one of the study’s contributing scientists from the Department of Women’s and Children’s health at the Karolinska Institutet. While the changes in the female participant’s emotions were relatively small, the findings could have future clinical importance.

Dr. Niklas Zethraeus, co-author of the study, pointed to the results as a possible reason why some women may subconsciously and conveniently “forget” to take their contraception regularly. “This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills,” Zethraeus explained. “This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunction with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception.”

So, this all raises an important question: How’s work on that male birth control method going again?

Read the full story at Karolinska Institutet.


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