Having a baby comes with many responsibilities and it may strain a parent emotionally, physically, and financially. Avoiding unwanted pregnancy is possible through several ways including abstinence. However, sex is an activity that many people are unwilling to forfeit. That means most people will engage in sex even though they do not want a baby. In fact, 38% of all the pregnancies in 1999 were unplanned. They resulted in 42 million cases of induced abortion.
To avoid unintended pregnancies, women often resort to birth control pills. In 2012, 10.6 million women in the US used a contraception pill to avoid unplanned pregnancies. However, a new study in Sweden is shedding light on how contraception pills affect a woman’s sexual drive.
The lead researcher, Angelica Hirschberg Linden, is a professor at Karolinska Medical University in Stockholm, Sweden. She is a gynecologist by profession. Linden and her team of researchers asked 332 women to participate in the study. They split the women into two groups of 166 women each. The group took a birth control pill commonly used in Sweden while the other one took a sugar-based pill (placebo).
The group that took the birth control pill reported a reduced level of desire and arousal as the study progressed. The group that took the placebo pill reported the same levels of desire and arousal towards the end of the study as they did when the study started. The study lasted for 3 months.
Reduced sexual desire and arousal is not the only effect of birth control pills. Other studies show that these pills can cause nausea, headaches, and weight gain in women. They may also lead to vaginal discharges, breast tenderness, and erratic changes in a woman’s mood. Taking birth control pills may also affect a female’s menstrual flow. For example, she may miss her periods or she may suffer from intermenstrual bleeding. Moreover, use of birth control pills can cause changes in vision if a woman wears contact lenses.
These effects of using this contraceptive method may sound scary, but they do not occur frequently. However, the impact on sexual drive is consistent among most women who use the pills.
The Swedish researchers hope that their work will inspire other researchers to investigate the effects of the pills more thoroughly. They also hope that doctors will use this study to advice women on appropriate options when it comes to contraception methods.