Could Birth Control Be Making You Depressed?

Birth control has changed a lot of women's lives, but not always for the better. While birth control may be effective at preventing pregnancy when women want to avoid having a baby, for a lot of women, it has come with a price. 

Women have reported everything from a loss of libido to mood swings to trouble concentrating while on birth control, but it has been hard to criticize birth control in the women's movement, since some may feel that questioning the medicine means questioning women's right to choose when she wants to get pregnant. 

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But the truth is, birth control is powerful medicine and women deserve to know exactly what side effects and risks they are taking when using birth control. And a new study has confirmed what many women have already talked openly about — that using hormonal types of birth control is associated with higher rates of depression. 

Image via Flickr/ Sarah C

The study found that the rate of depression was different with different types of birth control. Women using birth control patches had the highest rates of reported depression — a whopping 100% — while women using a combination pill (using two types of hormones) reported a 23% rate of also using antidepressants. 

Although the study just looked at a relationship between birth control and antidepressants, the study does not prove that birth control causes depression, which is an important distinction. Instead, the study simply proved that the same women using these types of birth control are also getting diagnosed with depression and going on anti-depressants, so there may be a different factor at play too. 

However, what's really interesting is that there was a recent study that said that the development of a male version of birth control had to be stopped. The reason? The men couldn't deal with the side effects, which included severe depression and mood swings. Yup, really. The men couldn't even tolerate getting through the preliminary study, which tells you a lot. 

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I am not saying women should be tolerating more because we are tough, but I am saying that obviously birth control can have serious side effects and it's definitely important that we pay attention to the real physical and mental effects of birth control. We won't be able to offer women better choices for birth control until we are able to talk openly and honestly about what symptoms birth control can cause. 

Have you ever experienced depression while on birth control? 

What do you think?

Could Birth Control Be Making You Depressed?

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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