Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

The pill may impact women's quality of life

The pill may impact women's quality of life

A new study may offer some insight into what's going on with those not-so-satisfied customers.

The participants were randomly prescribed either a combined contraceptive pill containing levonorgestrel (a progestin) and ethniylestradoil (an estrogen) or a placebo pill. It's common in the United States, as well. While some health experts believe that oral contraceptives negatively impact a woman's quality of life, research is yet to validate these assertions.

"This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunction with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception", said Niklas Zethraeus, associate professor at the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics at Karolinska Institutet. Skeptics argue since depression is common, and birth control is common, it's natural that both of these things are commonly going to occur together; they may or may not be linked.

On the other hand, the researchers did not find an increase in depression or anxiety rates for either group, nor did they find a decrease in general health.

"Despite the fact that an estimated 100 million women around the world use contraceptive pills we know surprisingly little today about the pill's effect on women's health", said Angelica Hirschberg, the lead author of the research.

More research is needed before we can identify more accurately how the pill impacts women, but these early results are reassuring for many women who've struggled with side effects while on the pill.

The researchers noted that if the study was conducted for a longer period of time, they might have gotten different results, but their conclusions do line up with other studies on the emotional effects of birth control. The effects are so palpable that a recent trial of male birth control was put on hold after many men dropped out because they felt bad.

A Danish study past year found that women using the contraceptive pill were more likely to be depressed than those who did not. "This may be for a variety of reasons", he says, "but certainly some of them are going to be related to a poorer sense of well-being". A first choice combined oral contraceptive influences general well-being in healthy women - a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

In the USA, birth control pills that combine etinylestradiol and levonorgestrel include Seasonale, Seasonique, Amethyst, Nordette, Levora, Portia, and others.

The researchers also said that the findings can't be generalised to other kinds of contraceptive pills.

Dr. Ascher-Walsh feels the same way.

There are some risks associated with using the combined contraceptive pill.

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