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Women who use the birth control pill face increased risk of depression: Study
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Women who use the birth control pill face increased risk of depression: Study

The Food and Drug Administration approved America's first commercially produced contraceptive pill in 1960. Although Planned Parenthood's eugenicist founder Margaret Sanger touted it as a "magic pill," in the intervening 63 years, it has afflicted women with a multitude of side effects.

A new study published Monday in the peer-reviewed scientific journal "Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences" revealed that the so-called magic pill threatens women with an increased lifetime risk of depression.

Women who began using the pill as teenagers were found to have had a 130% higher rate of depressive symptoms compared to so-called never-users. Women who began taking oral contraceptives as adults suffered a 92% higher rate of depressive symptoms than their pill-free peers.

This adverse effect can prove to be fatal, especially among teens.

A 2020 study published in the journal "Psychological Medicine" indicated that young women using oral contraceptives may be at increased risk of suicidal behavior.

This population-based cohort study, conducted by Swedish researchers at Uppsala University, was based on data from 264,557 women in UK Biobank, a large long-term biomedical database and research resource. 80.6% of the study population were OC users, where the median time from first initiation to last use of OC was 10 years, and the median age of initiating and discounting use was 21 and 32 years, respectively.

Researchers found that the first two years of OC use were associated with a higher rate of depression compared to never users.

While the "increased risk declined with continued OC use ... the lifetime risk associated with ever OC use remained significantly increased." Women who used OCs during adolescence, in particular, remained at a heightened risk even after they discontinued.

The researchers theorized that the depression may be resultant, in part, by "hormonal fluctuations induced by OC initiation, which can affect women who are particularly sensitive to changes in the levels of hormones and their metabolites, such as allopregnanolone."

The study also found "higher depression rates in the first years after discontinuing OCs. This may reflect that women who get mood-related problems discontinue OC use, but are not diagnosed with depression until after cessation."

Researcher Therese Johansson of the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University, told ScienceDaily, "Although contraception has many advantages for women, both medical practitioners and patients should be informed about the side-effects identified in this and previous research."

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