By Macaela Mackenzie. Photos: Getty Images.
If you've ever suspected you'd feel better if you weren't on the pill, new research is here to back you up. According to a Swedish study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, taking oral contraceptives can have a significant negative impact on a woman’s quality of life.
To measure the impact, the researchers looked at 340 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 35 over the course of three months. Some were given placebo pills to take over that period, while others were given oral contraceptives containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (the most common kind). The women were randomly assigned to their type of pill, and neither the women nor the researchers knew which type of pill participants were taking.
Now for the depressing news: Researchers found that the women who were taking the hormonal contraceptive reported reduced well-being — including worse moods, less self-control, and lower energy levels. Ugh.
It's worth noting that while past studies have linked the pill to depression, this particular study didn't find a specific link between the pill and depressive symptoms. What's more, the difference between the well-being of the women taking the placebo pills and that of the woman taking the real deal wasn't enormous — but researchers say it's still worth attention and further study (we imagine the women experiencing negative side effects agree). Niklas Zethraeus, associate professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet and one of the study's lead researchers, pointed out in a statement that feeling shitty could lead some women to stop taking the pill or take it irregularly. "This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunction with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception," he added. In other words, your quality of life matters, and you and your care provider should prioritize it when you're picking your method.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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