Do Birth Control Pills Affect Your Mood? Scientists Can’t Agree

Earlier this month, the surprising findings of some new research were presented at a conference. At the European Congress of Virtual Psychiatry, Elena Toffol and her team at the University of Helsinki in Finland reported that they had found that suicide attempt rates were lower in women who used hormonal contraceptives compared to those who did not. they did. In fact, the latter group was nearly 40 percent more likely to commit suicide than the former, they reported.

These findings (which have not yet been reviewed in pairs) may be the opposite of what you have heard or experienced: Hormonal birth control has no reputation for aggravating mental illness? Your confusion would be forgiven. You may remember the headlines of 2017, when a Danish study found that hormonal contraception was related to a to increase in suicide attempts.

This giant contradiction is just one of many in the years of research that have attempted to answer the question of whether hormonal birth control causes psychological side effects, and the jury is still out. In September 2016, The New York Times published an article entitled “Contraceptives linked to the risk of depression.” Six months later, the same publication came out with an article entitled “Does Birth Control Cause Depression? Not Very Fast.”

Oral contraceptives, which first came on the market more than 60 years ago, are surprisingly popular. It is estimated that more than 100 million women worldwide are current users. The pill, as the drug is known, comes in two forms: a progesterone-only version and a combined estrogen and progesterone version. Both contain synthetic hormones designed to stop or reduce ovulation: the release of the ovary from the ovary.

But the decision to use a hormonal birth control does not always come from the desire to get pregnant. The name is rather an incorrect name; a more appropriate designation would be “hormonal medicine, often used as a birth control.” Hormonal contraception is prescribed for a variety of conditions, such as migraines, cystic acne, chronic menstrual pain, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and endometriosis.

Fears about the psychological side effects of the pill are part of a growing trend that has emerged in recent years: widespread distrust of hormonal contraception and distrust of its drawbacks, now that the satisfaction of victories won by women’s self-determination has faded. A number of books have been published over the last decade questioning how hormonal birth control negatively affects its users. Mood swings are the main concern, which is reported to be the first reason why women decide to quit the pill.

But we still don’t have a clear answer as to whether the link between the pill and the mood is real. The biggest problem is that most studies so far have been cross-sectional in design, that is, they involve taking a group of women who are using the pill and comparing them to a group that is not using it. “It doesn’t take into account that women who tried the pill and had negative effects on mood or sexuality would come out of it,” says Cynthia Graham, a professor of sexual and reproductive health at the University of Southampton and editor of none of The Journal of Sex Research. “That’s a big reason why it’s difficult for me to answer the question.” This is called survival bias or healthy user bias.

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