Women taking the pill ‘more likely to be treated for depression’

Women taking hormonal birth control are more likely to be treated for depression, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at Denmark’s University of Copenhagen and colleagues, looked at the medical records of more than a million women and girls.

It found that those who took the combined pill - which contains synthetic forms of both oestrogen and progesterone - were 23 per cent more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants.

Women who took the progestin-only pill - which contains a synthetic form of progesterone only - were 34 per cent more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants.

The study found that adolescent girls were at the highest risk of depression. Compared to girls who were not on any form of hormonal birth control, those taking the combined pill were 80 per cent more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants, whilst those taking the progestin-only pill were more than twice as likely to be prescribed anti-depressants.

Adolescent girls were three times more likely to suffer from depression if they used an IUD, another form of hormonal birth control.

Women using patches and implants were also affected.

It is thought that the fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone may be responsible. Studies have linked raised progesterone levels in particular to lower moods.

The study authors have called for more research into this side effect of the pill.

Dr Ali Kubba, fellow of the faculty of sexual and reproductive healthcare of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, UK, said: “There is existing clinical evidence that hormonal contraception can impact some women’s moods, however, from this study there is no way of linking causation, therefore further research is needed to examine depression as a potential adverse effect of hormonal contraceptive use.”

He aded that women should “not be alarmed” by this study as everyone reacts differently to the various methods of contraception available. He said he would advise women to discuss their options with their doctor.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801826018-ADNFCR