Ask Sofia: Does Birth Control Cause Depression?

You may have heard about the recent study published in “JAMA Psychiatry” that researched the potential link between hormonal contraception and depression. We will probably be examining these results – and hopefully new studies on the topic as well – for years to come.

Ultimately, the study showed that women who used a birth control pill containing a mix of estrogen and progestin were 23 percent more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants than women not on the Pill; antidepressant use doubled for women using the birth control patch. Upon closer examination, however, 1.7 out of 100 women not using hormonal birth control started taking antidepressants in a given year while 2.2 out of 100 taking birth control did, so the percentages are relative. It is also important to note that the study of Danish women showed a correlation between birth and control and depression but did not prove whether birth control caused the depression or not.

“Researchers have studied the physical effects of birth control since it became available decades ago, so it’s really valuable to take a closer look at the emotional effects as well,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “At Clinic Sofia, we believe that the benefits of birth control – Long Acting Reversible Contraception, in particular – may outweigh the risks, depending on your individual circumstances. It is a very personal decision, and we happy to discuss the best birth control options for you, particularly if you believe your mental health is suffering.”

If nothing else, this study can remind doctors and patients of the importance of discussing birth control options, feelings of sadness or depression, and the need for ongoing self-care.


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We use Fairview Southdale Hospital and Maple Grove Hospital for labor, delivery and surgical procedures.


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