Not the most positive article but, it makes you wonder how much awareness is given to patients when they get this prescribed. Perhaps doctors asking check up questions before they receive another script could help recognise the early signs?
@nurse_nettie what are your thoughts?
The research involved 1 million women. i guess they have found some concrete evidence. @curiosity that’s a good idea. It is best to get them informed so that they can make a choice which is best for themselves.
Every single time I get a new script my GP asks questions about my health, my mental health, my weight, and my reproductive health (she especially asks about the list of known side-effects for the brand of pill I’m on).
She also ensures my pap smears are up to date, or I’m not allowed a new script.
I’m beginning to think, from some of the stories, here that I’ve somehow stumbled on an awesome doctor who does a fantastic job of proactively keeping me healthy
@curiosity it’s definitely interesting research, but it’s important not to overstate the findings. The study showed a link between hormonal contraception and depression, but more research needs to be done to prove that one actually caused the other.
That said, I think it’s a good idea for doctors to ask more questions about depression and for women to feel empowered to bring it up if they’ve noticed any mood changes after starting the pill. What I wouldn’t want to see is women feeling panicked about this research and stopping or avoiding contraception that might work well for them. The possibility that you might be at higher risk of depression by taking hormonal contraception still needs to be weighted against the potential emotional and physical consequences of an unwanted pregnancy.
A lot of coverage around this has been very negative. I saw an article (in Vice I think) that asked women to write about their horror stories with the pill. I think the study is great and will hopefully allow women to make informed choices about it. But the coverage surrounding it isn’t great. It’s like they’re trying to scare women off their contraception which isn’t a great idea. It reminds me a bit of when Yasmin/Yaz was found to have a slightly higher risk of blood clots than other pills – a lot of media coverage portrayed unnecessarily scary pictures of what can happen when you take the pill.
@nurse_nettie, yes all things have positive and negative consequences, it just depends on the person and if the pros outweigh the cons for each person for their choice of contraception. You’re right, Its just important we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
So many good points here. When I first read that article I was really outraged, cos it confirmed a lot of anecdotal stories from friends and myself about hormonal contraception and doctors invalidating women’s concerns. I still think this is a very real problem but… Looking deeper into it though, I know that most friends my age are uncomfortable, and almost scared, about seeking out a good GP, or changing doctors and finding someone good, asking for a longer consultation to talk about their concerns, things like that. Myself included! I wonder if its partly to do with growing up with the internet, maybe we don’t try and seek out these conversations irl? @aunt_flo , such a good point! I feel like the same thing happened with IUDs back when they had a crappy design and it was having serious health effects. They only seem to be making a comeback now- shows how powerful media can be! Will be interesting to see how long this plays out…
I think that if you have a great doctor who is on top of it then you should be fine. That said, many people were using a form of pill for many, many years and when my sister went to get a prescription for it overseas they said she shouldn’t have been on it for that. I was so confused, not too far along after they broke the news here that that pill wasn’t intended to be used solely for contraception!
What I find interesting is that there is so much information about going on the pill, but NOTHING about going off it – which can be as equally hard on your body (and worse if you don’t get your period for months)!!!
True @nickipower! There’s a lot of people who demonise the pill and suggest getting off it without explaining that mood swings and other issues can also occur when coming off the pill.
Yes @aunt_flo! So many issues and it can be quite intimidating when you’re trying to get through it without any guidance.
I wasn’t surprised by this study, I’ve experienced depression while on pill with a higher dose oestrogen + progesterone a few years ago and when I tried to explain how I felt to the doctor she completely invalidated my experience by just saying “no… the pill doesn’t have that effect, maybe you’re just not eating well or exercising enough.”
I agree @v4wanndii whats most important is being fully informed – not only the health practitioner but also the individual so they can make an informed choice about whats best for them. @msbluestreak it sounds like your doctor is doing a good job of that! I think its important to be continually checking up on it as mental health and reactions to medication can change over time!
When I did my thesis on how young women make contraceptive decisions, we found that most women just put all of their trust in GP’s and just went with whatever they suggested – which was almost always the pill. We also found that most of the women weren’t very well informed about the many different options or the pill itself or how it worked in their body. So maybe we just need to motivate people to ask questions and be as informed as possible and this would minimize the risk/symptoms for certain women!
@rosehill That sounds like such an interesting thesis! And one I’d have to agree with. My doctor ‘sold’ Yasmin to me as something that would only cause a blood clot if I was ambulatory. She neglected to adequately state that there was an increased risk compared to other pills, and that blood clots can, in fact, happen regardless. It was the only pill she mentioned – not quite sure as to why that was as there are just so many. It was only when I found a better doctor that we discussed the pros and cons of the pill I was on and I switched to one that’s more comfortable.
Asking questions is really important, but there’s always the issue of self efficacy in the doctors office – some people really don’t feel comfortable asking questions, and don’t know where to start. Information is power, particularly in contraceptions, so hopefully it changes!
@rosehill That sounds like a super interesting thesis! I also agree, I was a teenager when I went on the pill and went back and forth between different brands over the years, however received no information on the changes in each brand, hormone dosage etc. I found greater access to information, and becoming self informed made me make the decision to go off entirely.
You’re right @aunt_flo it is really hard not to just see the doctor as an ‘expert’ and feel comfortable enough asking questions or challenging what they prescribe. I think we should also be motivating health care practitioners to ask questions.. not just to give patients a chance to voice their concerns but doctors should ask questions about the medications themselves and stay current on new studies and research!
Has anyone seen the news on male hormonal contraceptives? A trial of an hormonal injection has been blocked because of the side effects. http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/health/article/2016/10/31/extremely-effective-male-contraceptive-injection-trial-ditched
Very interesting to see that trials stopped there, yet the side effects mimic those which can be quite common among pill users.
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