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Birth Control Won’t Depress You

A new study busts the longtime myth.

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THE SCIENCE
Recent research shows that there isn’t an association between progestin-only birth control (pills, injections, and implants) and depression. Similarly, a previous study found the same to be true for other forms that contain estrogen.
EXPERT INSIGHT

Many people mistakenly believe that birth control and depression are linked. This is possibly because previous research has shown that fluctuations in women’s hormone levels over the course of a menstrual cycle can affect their moods, which can happen with or without birth control. However, while moods are a temporary state, depression is a disease which lasts for weeks or longer, says study author Brett Worly, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Ohio State University. (His study did not observe mood changes because they're difficult to accurately measure.) Moreover, “our research found that even women who are at a greater risk of depression, such as new moms, are not more susceptible to the illness when using hormonal birth control.”

THE BOTTOM LINE
Consult with your doctor and feel confident about choosing the birth control form that works for you without fearing this negative side effect, suggests Worly. And if you’re feeling down, take part in exercise you enjoy, which has been shown to boost mood levels.


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