In an unprecedented new study from Denmark, researchers confirm what countless women have already experienced: hormonal birth control has serious risks, and is associated with serious side effects. Among those side effects is a strong association with depression.
The study gathered data from over 1 million women ages 15-34 over the course of 18 years. After the analysis of the data, researchers found that “women taking the combined oral contraceptive were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression and those using progestin-only pills (also known as “the mini-pill”) were 34% more likely. Teens were at the greatest risk of depression, with an 80% increase when taking the combined pill, and that risk is two-fold with the progestin-only pill. In addition, other hormone-based methods commonly offered to women seeking an alternative to the pill – such as the hormonal IUS/coil, the patch and the ring – were shown to increase depression at a rate much higher than either kind of oral contraceptives.”
Researchers also noted that the study could underestimate the potential negative effect of hormonal birth control on women’s mental health because general practitioners “are less likely to prescribe the pill to women who already have depression and because women who do experience depression on the pill are more likely to stop taking it.”
While hormonal birth control is seen as a rite of passage for many teenage girls, it may be time to rethink that. Teens are the most highly affected age group when it comes to the development of depression. And these side effects are not isolated occurrences among users of The Pill. A quick Google search will reveal thousands of women’s negative experiences with different versions of The Pill, NuvaRing, IUD’s, patches, shots, implants, and more.
These negative experiences attributed to hormonal contraception use include permanent vision damage, anxiety, irregular or extended bleeding, weight gain, depression, and a variety of skin problems, as reported from personal experience (language warning). Blood clots are a serious risk for some women who take The Pill, and have killed some pill users. Maria, Fallan, and Charlotte are just a few recent examples of this serious risk.
With this new research and bad personal experiences haunting so many women, what do we do? Some doctors are staying the course until further notice and continuing to prescribe hormonal birth control as usual. Dr. Cora Breuner, a Seattle pediatrician and chair of the committee on adolescents for the American Academy of Pediatrics said “An unintended and unwanted pregnancy far outweighs all the other side effects that could occur from a contraceptive.”
However, not all women agree with Dr. Breuner, as side effects can be severe and dangerous to women’s mental and physical health. A growing awareness of these risks may be behind the increasing popularity of Fertility Awareness Methods, NaPro Technology, and Natural Family Planning methods of achieving or postponing pregnancy. With health trends popular as ever, it’s easy to see why women are choosing to forgo synthetic hormones which have the potential of causing such serious harm.