Depressive Symptoms More Common in Teen Girls Who Take Birth Control Pills: Study

THURSDAY, Oct. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The use of birth control pills is associated with more depressive symptoms such as crying, sleeping and eating problems in teen girls, a new study finds.

It included more than 1,000 participants in the Netherlands whose use of birth control pills was assessed at ages 16, 19, 22 and 25.

Among 16-year-olds, those on the pill had higher rates of crying, sleeping and eating problems than those who weren't on the pill, but those symptoms ease when they enter adulthood, CNN reported.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Previous research has shown that teens who use birth control pills are more likely to have depression in adulthood, even if they stop taking the pills. But this study examined depressive symptoms such as increased crying, sleeping too much, feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts, CNN reported.

"Depressive symptoms are more prevalent than clinical depression and can have a profound impact on quality of life," study co-author Hadine Joffe, vice chair for psychiatry research at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said in a news release.

The findings don't prove that birth control pills cause depressive symptoms, the researchers noted. They explained that while birth control pills might contribute to depressive symptoms, girls may start taking birth them to treat symptoms they already hae, CNN reported.

The study authors also said the findings don't necessarily mean that teenage girls shouldn't take birth control pills.

They wrote that benefits of the pill for teen girls include pregnancy prevention and easing menstrual symptoms, but depressive symptoms could cause them to go off the pill, so it's important to monitor for such symptoms, CNN reported.

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