I’ll just come right out and say it: If you’re a woman who takes birth control pills and you feel like crap, it could be due to the medication. That’s according to researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The study looked at how birth control affects well-being. The researchers concluded that hormonal contraceptives negatively impact a woman’s quality of life. [1]

In a statement, Angelica Linden Hirschberg, a professor at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health at Karolinska and the lead author of the study, said that:

“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.”

To determine the effects, the scientists gave 340 healthy women ages 18-35 either placebos or birth control pills containing ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel over a three-month period.

The women who took the pills reported feeling lower levels of well-being, including poorer mood and self-control and less energy compared to those who took a placebo. Contraceptives did not, however, put the women at greater risk for depression. [2]

Read: Combining Birth Control Pills Triggers Heart Attack for 24-Year-Old

CDC data show that nearly 62% of women use some sort of birth control and that they commonly complain of moodiness and irritability. These feelings often turn women to the use of non-hormonal forms of contraception, such as diaphragms, IUDs, and condoms. [2]

Hirschberg says:

“We do not want women to stop using oral contraceptives due to our results but if a woman is worried about negative influence on mood and life quality she should discuss this with a doctor.” [1]

The researchers say that the negative changes they observed could be why so many women stop taking the pills or take them irregularly.

Lead researcher Niklas Zethraeus says:

“This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills. 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.” [1]

The study is published in Fertility and Sterility.

Sources:

[1] Independent

[2] The Huffington Post

Medical News Today


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About Julie Fidler:
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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.