New study confirms the pill actually can impact your quality of life
Anecdotally, we know that some women find the pill can make them moody, irritable and sad.
The team say the results may be partially caused by irregular pill use.
This is recommended as the first choice for most women as it is considered to carry the least risk of blood clots - one of the most feared side-effects. While some health experts believe that oral contraceptives negatively impact a woman's quality of life, research is yet to validate these assertions.
The women who were given contraceptive pills estimated their quality of life to be significantly lower than those who were given placebos. (Progesterone, they note, has been shown to have a sedative effect on the brain.) Side effects may also play a role: 21% of the women in the birth control group reported bleeding disturbances, anxiety and mood changes, acne, or appetite changes, versus 12% in the placebo group.
However, these risks are small and, for most women, the benefits of the pill outweigh the risks.
Women often take birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, to steer clear of unwanted pregnancies, or if they are not ready to go the family way.
They found that women who took the contraceptives reported overall reduced feelings of well-being, including negative impacts on their mood, self-control, and energy, compared to those who took a placebo.
However, no significant increase in in depressive symptoms was observed in the study by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, in collaboration with the Stockholm School of Economics.
Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel are ingredients that are both used in Microgynon and Rigevidon, two of the UK's most frequently prescribed contraceptive pills.
"We do not want women to stop using oral contraceptives due to our results but if a woman is anxious about negative influence on mood and life quality she should discuss this with a doctor", noted Hirschberg.
A Danish study previous year found that women using the contraceptive pill were more likely to be depressed than those who did not. Because the researchers only tested one specific formula, their findings may not apply to pills or contraception options that use different combinations, or different types, of estrogen and progesterone.
Writing in the journal Fertility and Society, they said the results must be approached with caution as the study was small.
Dr. Lindén Hirschberg says that the findings should not discourage doctors from prescribing birth control, but that they should discuss these potential effects with patients-"particularly with those who have previous experience of mood disorders", she told Health.com via email.
Also, the study only looked at women over three months - it will require longer monitoring to get a more accurate idea of how the contraceptive pill affects women.
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