Washington: Women who have taken oral contraceptives during their teenage, are prone to developing depression as they turn adults, suggested a new study.
The findings published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has found that teenage birth control pill users were 1.7 times to three times more likely to be clinically depressed in adulthood, compared to women who started taking birth control pills as adults, and to women who had never taken birth control pills.
Depression is the leading cause of disability and suicide deaths worldwide, and women are twice as likely as men to develop depression at some point in their lives.
“Our findings suggest that the use of oral contraceptives during adolescence may have an enduring effect on a woman’s risk for depression–even years after she stops using them,” said study author Christine Anderl, University of British Columbia’s psychology postdoctoral fellow.
Researchers analyzed data from a population-representative survey of 1,236 women in the U.S. and controlled for a number of factors that have previously been proposed to explain the relationship between oral contraceptive use and depression risk.
These include age at onset of menstruation, age of first sexual intercourse and current oral contraceptive use.
While the data clearly shows a relationship between birth control use during adolescence and increased depression risk in adulthood, the researchers note that it does not prove one causes the other.
“Millions of women worldwide use oral contraceptives, and they are particularly popular among teenagers,” said senior author Frances Chen, UBC psychology associate professor.