A newly published study from the University of Copenhagen has found that women who take the contraceptive pill are more likely to suffer from depression.
After studying the health records of more than one million Danish women aged 15 to 34, researchers found that those taking the combined pill – which contains artificial varieties of oestrogen and progesterone – were 23 percent more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than those who were not on a hormonal form of contraceptive.
Scarily, that figure rose to 34 percent for takers of progestin-only pills and up to 80 percent for teens aged between 15 and 19 who were on the combined pill.
Researcher Professor Øjvind Lidegaard told the BBC that the three year study’s most significant finding was the extent to which cases of depression increased among young women with no previous mental health issues once they began taking the combined pill.
He said: “If it is increasing by 80 percent it is not a trivial finding, it's something women should be fully informed about.”
While critics of the study have been quick to point out that the results do not prove that the pill causes depression, only that it is link to it, Professor Lidegaard believes hormonal contraceptives are inducing depression.
“We cannot see any other explanation,” he said.
The study – which is one of the largest of its kind – also found an association between depression and other forms of hormonal contraceptives like implants, the coil and vaginal rings.
A 2014 study by Bayer found that Ireland has one of the lowest rates of contraceptive use in the EU, while births to teenage mothers here remain among the highest.
Among those using contraception, the pill was found to be the most popular method of choice.
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