New Study Eases Fear of Birth Control Side Effects
by Lisa René LeClair
Photograph by Twenty20
multiple options when it comes to birth control. From condoms, IUDs, foams, jellies
and sponges to hormone-releasing implants, the list of ways to dodge pregnancy is plentiful.
About 37 million women in the United States are using some form of contraception. Yet those who rely on hormonal birth control often worry about possible side
effects. In an announcement earlier this week, Dr.
Brett Worly, lead author of a new study
and OB-GYN at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, hopes to set those worried minds at ease.
The study's conclusion:
There was not enough evidence to establish a link between hormonal birth control and
our findings, this side effect shouldn't be a concern for most women, and they
should feel comfortable knowing they're making a safe choice," Worly said.
included thousands of studies on the mental health effects of contraceptives,
along with data tied to various contraception methods, including injections,
implants and pills. Researchers also looked at studies that examined the
effects of hormonal birth control on postpartum women, adolescents and women
with a history of depression.
and pregnant moms will sometimes have a higher risk of depression, not
necessarily because of the medicine they're taking, but because they have that
risk to start with," said Worly. "For those patients, it's important
that they have a good relationship with their healthcare provider so they can
get the appropriate screening done—regardless of the medications they're
Though patients' concerns are valid, Worly wants women to continue having open and honest
discussions with their doctor about which options are best.
"We live in
a media-savvy age where if one or a few people have severe side effects, all of
a sudden, that gets amplified to every single person," he said. "The
biggest misconception is that birth control leads to depression. For most
patients, that's just not the case."
Despite the study's conclusions,
Worly does not believe this should be "the end of the
these new findings with a larger study
from 2016 that contradicted his work, Worly told CNN,
"We need much more quality research. We need large randomized controlled
trials of the highest scientific value. Those cost lots of resources and money,
but we need to get those resources and do those type of studies."
In the end, choosing
the right birth control is a personal decision. Medication affects everyone
differently. If you’re interested in taking hormonal birth control but are
concerned about side effects, it’s best to talk to your doctor.