There is no evidence to show that hormonal birth control pills can lead to depression in women, say scientists, putting to rest fears that these contraceptives may harm mental health.
Women face several options when it comes to birth control, so potential side effects often factor into their decision.
"Depression is a concern for a lot of women when they're starting hormonal contraception, particularly when they're using specific types that have progesterone," said Brett Worly, from the Ohio State University in the US.
"Based on our findings, this side effect shouldn't be a concern for most women, and they should feel comfortable knowing they're making a safe choice," said Worly.
Researchers reviewed thousands of studies on the mental health effects of contraceptives. They included data tied to various contraception methods, including injections, implants and pills.
They also reviewed studies examining the effects of hormonal birth control on postpartum women, adolescents and women with a history of depression.
They concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove a link between birth control and depression.
"Adolescents and pregnant moms will sometimes have a higher risk of depression, not necessarily because of the medicine they're taking, but because they have that risk to start with," said Worly.
Patient concerns are valid, and women should have open and honest discussions with their doctor about which options work for them, he said.
"We live in a media-savvy age where if one or a few people have severe side effects, all of a sudden, that gets amplified to every single person," he said.
"The biggest misconception is that birth control leads to depression. For most patients that's just not the case," he said....