Women who used the pill as a teenager are & # 39; up to THREE TIMES more likely to develop depression & # 39;
- Scientists analyzed 1200 women who did and did not take the contraceptive
- Found those who used it as teenagers 1.7 to 3 times more at risk
- Pill contains hormones that can affect brain regions that are related to emotions
Women who used the pill as a teenager are more at risk of depression, research suggests.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia analyzed more than 1,200 women who did and did not use oral contraceptives during adolescence.
They discovered that women who took contraceptive pills were up to three times more likely to develop depression than women who never took one.
The most commonly prescribed pill contains both estrogen, to prevent ovulation, and progesterone, to reduce the risk of a fertilized egg in the womb wall.
Studies have suggested that changing levels of these sex hormones, especially progesterone, affect areas of the brain that control cognitive functioning and emotion processing.
Taking the pill as a teenager while the brain is still developing can irreversibly influence & # 39; later behavior & # 39 ;, the researchers said.
Women who used the pill as a teenager may be more at risk of depression (stock)
& # 39; Our findings suggest that the use of oral contraceptives during adolescence can have a lasting effect on a woman's risk of depression, even years after she stops, & # 39; said lead author Dr. Christine Anderl.
& # 39; Adolescence is an important period for brain development. Previous animal studies have shown that manipulating sex hormones, especially during important stages of brain development, can later affect behavior in a way that is irreversible. & # 39;
In the UK, 19.7 percent of people over the age of 16 had symptoms of depression or anxiety, according to statistics from the Mental Health Foundation.
And in the US, more than 16.1 million adults suffer from depression every year, according to the American Anxiety and Depression Society.
Does the pill make you depressed?
More than three million women in the UK take birth control pills, but the fear that this causes depression and even leads to suicidal thoughts is common.
Two-thirds of the women who use the pill (66 percent) admit that they do not know what the hormones in the body do.
And a quarter of the users questioned in an episode of the BBC& # 39; s Horizon – fronted by TV doctor Zoe Williams – said taking the contraceptive has damaged their mental health.
About 25 percent of the women in Horizon's study of 1,000 18 to 45-year-olds who were on the pill said that taking the drug had a negative impact on their mental health.
Vicky Spratt, a 30-year-old journalist for the Grazia magazine, used the contraceptive when she was younger and said it was her brain & # 39; moldy & # 39; made.
Mrs. Spratt said her doctor did not make the connection between her deteriorating mental health and the pill, but added that within a few weeks she & # 39; normal after she had come off.
Dr. Williams then spoke to a doctor in Denmark who examined the medical data of 1.8 million women who used the pill for more than 20 years.
Professor Ojvind Lidegaard, from the University of Copenhagen, discovered that the pill increased the chance of a woman with antidepressants by 70 percent.
Dr. Williams explained that there is no scientific evidence to prove that the pill directly causes depression or suicide attempts, but there is a connection.
It is not possible to conduct a scientific study with placebo pills, she said, because women would accidentally get pregnant.
But, she added, women don't have to tolerate a pill that harms their mental health and they need to talk to their doctor about any concerns.
Women are twice as likely to develop mental health status as men, the researchers wrote. This has been associated with hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, after delivery and during menopause.
Regarding contraception, two-thirds of women aged 20 to 24 take the pill, which, according to the FPA for sexual health, drops to just 11 percent among women in their late 40s.
In the US, four out of five have experienced & # 39; sexually experienced & # 39; women used the pill ever, according to statistics from the Guttmacher Institute.
Studies have shown a link between the pill and depression, but none – including the last – have proven that the former causes the latter.
In the first study of its kind, the researchers analyzed 1,236 women in the US, some of whom used the pill as a teenager.
Results – published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry – showed that taking the contraceptive during adolescence increased the participants' risk of depression by 1.7 to three times.
This remained true after the researchers had corrected for factors such as when the women lost their virginity, when they had their first menstrual period and whether they were using oral contraception at the time of the study.
& # 39; Millions of women worldwide use oral contraceptives, and they are especially popular with teenagers, & # 39; said study author Dr. Frances Chen.
& # 39; We strongly believe that women of all ages must have access to effective methods of contraception and must remain an important global health priority.
& # 39; (We hope, however, that our findings will encourage more research on this topic, as well as better informed dialogue and decision-making on prescribing hormonal contraception to adolescents. & # 39;
The researchers investigate how hormonal changes during the teenage years of a girl affect her emotions, social interactions and mental health.
They recruit girls from 13 to 15 years of age to participate in the research, which will include a series of laboratory tasks, as well as collecting saliva samples to measure girls' hormone levels for three years.
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