All medicines have side effects. Coronavirus vaccines were once talked about as if they were something very strange, but even simple paracetamol can have unwanted effects. Indeed, there are widely consumed drugs, sometimes completely voluntary, without pathologies, that have a high rate of Side effects. This is the case contraception. It should be noted that its benefits outweigh the risks; but even in this case it is important to control the latter, so a group of scientists from Uppsala Universityin Sweden I recently studied a fairly common variant that has not received much attention: risk of depression.

This is quite a controversial topic for several reasons. First, not all people are depressed seek help, so many cases may go unreported. On the other hand, in clinical studies designed to analyze the effects of contraceptives, it is possible that patients who experienced mood changes decided give up studying. Therefore, they will not be registered either.

All this has led me to believe that depression is not actually such a common side effect of birth control. But these scientists, whose results were published this summer, changed the way they tested, concluding that the likelihood of mood changes with these drugs was actually quite high.

Observational study of depression

What these scientists did is known as an observational study. This consists of analyzing data that has been obtained for a purpose other than the one for which it is used. In this case it was information from UK Biobank. They focused on a cohort of 82,232 women who self-reported their mental health and checked whether they had recently taken birth control.

Thus, they saw that the probability of developing depression if you started taking birth control within the last two years is equal to 80% higher than those who did not take them. This does not mean that you have an 80% chance of developing depression if you take these medications. This is just a comparison of data. But even so, this is a very startling fact. Moreover, if the patients were minors, the percentage increased exorbitantly. up to 95%.

Some participants may withdraw from clinical trials when they become depressed and will not be enrolled. Asdrubal Luna | Unsplash

This is a reversible effect

The good part is that they confirmed that it isonly in 5% of cases The depression persisted over time. Therefore, by stopping birth control or receiving appropriate treatment, depression can be reversed.

Limitations of this contraception study

These are very interesting results because they provide new information about side effects of contraceptives which has not received enough attention. However, the study has a number of limitations that should be considered.

To begin with, only combined contraceptives were analyzed, based on estrogens and progestogens. Many other alternatives, including hormonal ones, which may work differently, are not considered.

On the other hand, the fact that this is an observational study is a double-edged sword. It is true that it serves to provide information that clinical trials missed, perhaps due to the exclusion of people with depression. But it is also impossible to prove that the data is not simple chance.

In science it is very important to always find causality, beyond chance. Otherwise, it could be like the famous graph showing the correlation between Nicolas Cage movie releases and drownings in swimming pools. The correlation is obvious, but logically it is nothing more than a coincidence for which no explanation. The same thing could happen with this one.

However, it wouldn’t be strange if all these hormonal changes were mood-altering. The study authors insist this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take birth control. These are very useful medications not only for preventing unwanted pregnancy. They can also help in treatment menstrual pain, endometriosis and even acne.

They simply suggest that people who are given these drugs should have good psychological monitoring. Sometimes the onset of depression can be difficult to detect. But if we are warned, it will be much easier for us to distinguish them and take action about it. In fact, this applies not only to contraceptives. The sooner depression is detected, the sooner you can begin working to relieve this suffering. Let’s observe ourselves and the people around us and, if we find that something is wrong, Let’s not be ashamed when it comes to asking for help.

Source: Hiper Textual

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