Study shows connection between hormonal birth control and depression

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A new Danish study shows a link between hormonal birth control pills and depression. The risk is even higher with teenage girls.

A Midstate doctor says women have several options if they find it makes them sad.

Dr. Robert Bucher works at Cumberland Valley OB/GYN and helps women find a birth control that works for them.

“You can think of it as there’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of types of beer, with each one having a different recipe. Some people might like one and not the other. This also goes with the birth control pill,” Dr. Bucher said.

JAMA Psychiatry studied one million women between the ages of 15 and 34 and found those who were on hormonal birth control were more likely to be depressed. The risk increased 80 percent for teens 15 to 19.

“The study, I think, actually generates more questions than answers,” Dr. Bucher said.

Dr. Bucher says those questions include if a woman has a history of depression.

Amber Flauaus recently switched her birth control.

“It ended up causing me bad acne outbreaks. It ended up causing me to get moody, grouchy all the time and have mood swings,” Flauaus said.

Dr. Bucher notices issues with a certain type of birth control.

“The birth control that uses progesterone only has in the past to many of the professionals that participate and take care of women and women’s health care, we have noticed that there is an element of depression or loss of libido,” Dr. Bucher said.

The doctor recommends a birth control with a balance of both estrogen and progestin. You can also look at non-hormonal methods if you don’t want to put hormones in your body. Those include barrier methods, such as condoms, and a copper IUD.

“You have to keep trying new things. If it doesn’t work, you have to try another one because it’s not one size fits all,” Flauaus said.

The study found hormonal IUDs and pills increased the risk of depression by 40 percent and progestin-only pills by 34 percent.

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