Taking the Pill can indeed trigger mood swings and fatigue, ‘alarming’ new research suggests.
For years, women prescribed the combined version – the most common form of contraception – have long reported feeling miserable.
It is widely believed that when the synthetic versions of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone are ingested, it affects the chemical balance in the brain.
However, these potential side effects are not noted by any medical bodies, leaving many unaware of the risk.
Scientists have found that women taking the combined contraceptive pill are at risk of lower energy levels and mood swings
A team of British and Swedish researchers also found that the contraceptive can lower energy levels, but found no links to depression.
Professor Niklas Zethraeus, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said more doctors should be aware of the risks before dishing them out.
He said: ‘This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills.
‘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.’
Professor Angelica Linden Hirschberg, also involved in the research, said surprisingly little is known about the Pill.
She added: ‘Despite the fact an estimated 100 million women around the world use contraceptive pills, we know surprisingly little today about the pill’s effect on women’s health.
‘The scientific base is very limited as regards the contraceptive pill’s effect on quality of life and depression and there is a great need for randomised studies where it is compared with placebos.’
Researchers tested the effects of a combined pill containing both etinylestradiol and levonorgestrel on 340 women.
This is recommended as the first choice for most women as it is considered to carry the least risk of blood clots – one of the most feared side effects.
It is believed that the hormones ingested, synthetic forms of oestrogen and progesterone, affect the chemical balance in the brain and can make women feel miserable (stock)
There are some risks associated with using the combined contraceptive pill.
However, these risks are small and, for most women, the benefits of the pill outweigh any concerns.
The oestrogen in the Pill may cause your blood to clot more readily.
If a blood clot develops, it could cause deep vein thrombosis (clot in your leg), pulmonary embolus (clot in your lung), stroke or heart attack.
Research is ongoing into the link between breast cancer and the Pill.
Studies suggest that users of all types of hormonal contraception have a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared with women who do not use them.
However, 10 years after you stop taking the Pill, your risk of breast cancer goes back to normal.
Source: NHS Choices
Etinylestradiol is found in two of the best known brands available to women, Microgynon and Rigevidon.
Participants were aged between 18 and 35 and were randomly assigned to either receive thedrug or a dummy version.
They were not told which of the pills they were taking while they were monitored forthree months.
Despite the negative impact it had on a woman’s quality of life, no such effects were observed in depressive symptoms.
Writing in the journal Fertility and Society, they said the results must be approached with caution as the study was small.
The researchers also said that the findings can not be generalised to other kinds of contraceptive pills.
Last year a Danish study found taking the combined pill increased the risk of women being prescribed antidepressants.
After assessing more than one million women, they observed the risk of being given drugs to combat the blues jumped by 23 per cent in those aged between 20 and 34.
For teenage girls taking the form of contraceptive, the risk rose to 80 per cent, the University of Copenhagen researchers noted.