Depression and The Pill
Leading experts are calling for more research into family planning methods in the UK following a recent study which confirmed a link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. The study tracked one million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34 for 13 years and was the largest of its type.
“These results are significant: 3.5 million women in the UK use hormonal contraceptives so it’s important we understand the risks of existing family planning methods, the choices currently available and the pros and cons for each.” says Dr. Elina Berglund, CTO and co-founder of Natural Cycles the hormone-free fertility app which, in recent clinical studies, was shown to be as effective as the contraceptive pill and could pinpoint ovulation with the same accuracy as methods used in clinics and hospitals. It is also the first fertility tracking app for women to be regulated as a medical device.
And it is not just depression under the spotlight. A recent study of women, aged between 18–35 years, conducted at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, found a statistically significant negative impact of The Pill on sexual function when it came to desire, arousal and pleasure.
Dr. Elina Berglund, a top physicist who was part of the Nobel Prize-winning team that discovered the Higgs boson, adds: “Many women in the UK are happy with hormonal contraceptives, and that’s great, but it’s also important to provide attractive alternative birth control methods to those women who experience side effects such as depression as the study shows. We’re calling for more independent research in the UK so women and their partners can understand the options and choose a method that suits them.”
Natural Cycles works by identifying a woman’s ovulation and fertile window by tracking her period and temperature. Women are required to record the temperature under their tongue in the morning and enter it into the app which uses a unique algorithm called Alba that adapts to each individual woman’s body and, with a high degree of precision and accuracy, can determine when she is ovulating.
Launched in 2014 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Natural Cycles has over 100,000 active users in 161 countries. In 2016 the company raised $6m funding to conduct new clinical studies and donated $25m worth of free subscriptions to women in Brazil to help fight the Zika virus.