Further evidence for lack of negative associations between hormonal contraception and mental health

Contraception. 2012 Nov;86(5):470-80. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.02.014. Epub 2012 Mar 31.


Background: There is limited and inconsistent information concerning the effects of hormonal contraception [oral contraceptives (OCs) and the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS)] on mental health. The aim of this work was to further study the association(s) between the use of OCs and the LNG-IUS and psychopathology.

Study design: Data concerning adult women who participated in the national FINRISK Study Surveys in Finland in 1997, 2002 and 2007 were analyzed. The associations between the current use, as well as the duration of use of OCs and the LNG-IUS vs. mood symptoms, psychological and physical symptoms and recent psychiatric diagnoses were tested.

Results: A negative association between the current use of OCs and Beck Depression Inventory-13 (BDI-13) score was found. Some other negative associations, all characterized by a small effect size, were detected between current use of OCs and the BDI items feelings of dissatisfaction, feelings of uselessness, irritability, lost interest in people and lost appetite. Additionally, only weak positive associations were found between the duration of OC use and irregular heart rate, insomnia and recent anhedonia. No noteworthy associations emerged between current use of the LNG-IUS, or its duration, and any of the inquired items.

Conclusion: The use of hormonal contraception is not associated with negative influence on mental health. Current OC use seems to be associated with better mood, whereas the associations between duration of use of hormonal contraception and mental health effects are not clear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / adverse effects
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Depression / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices, Medicated / adverse effects*
  • Levonorgestrel / adverse effects
  • Mental Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / chemically induced
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Levonorgestrel