Women often take birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, to steer clear of unwanted pregnancies, or if they are not ready to go the family way. While some health experts believe that oral contraceptives negatively impact a woman's quality of life, research is yet to validate these assertions.
A new study carried out at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Stockholm School of Economics, highlights a probable link between usage of birth control pills and the well-being of women.
"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.
According to Hirschberg and her colleagues, the consumption of combined oral contraceptive pills can affect women's lives in many ways. It can negatively impact a woman's energy levels, well-being, and also cause heavy mood swings.
Can Contraceptive Pills Impact A Woman's Quality Of Life?
To highlight the existence of a possible link between usage of birth control pills and the negative impact on a woman's health, Hirschberg and her team observed 340 healthy women aged between 18 to 35 years for a three-month period.
The participants were randomly prescribed either a combined contraceptive pill containing levonorgestrel (a progestin) and ethniylestradoil (an estrogen) or a placebo pill. Levonorgestrel and ethniylestradoil contraceptive pills are the most commonly-used birth control pills in Sweden and many other nations. These pills are known to carry the least risk of thrombosis.
Both the groups of women were unaware which pill was given to whom. The researchers found that the women who were provided with the placebo had a lower negative impact on their body and mind vis-à-vis participants consuming the combined birth control pills.
The women, who were provided with the contraceptive pills, revealed that their well-being, mood, energy levels were negatively impacted. However on a positive note, the pills also showed lower rates of depression symptoms among the women.
Measures To Counter The Problem
Though the changes in a woman's psychological condition (such as depression) were comparatively less, the negative impact of birth control pills on the body and mind must be taken seriously.
Before prescribing any birth control medicines to their patients, doctors must always discuss and convey the possible side effects of the pills — both physical and emotional.
"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," noted Hirschberg.
The study has been published in the journal Fertility and Sterility on Tuesday, April 18.