'Depression a recognised side effect of hormonal contraceptives' -medical doctor

Medical doctor Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng says that sometimes the side-effects of hormonal contraceptives on women are underplayed.

She was speaking to #NightTalk's Gugs Mhlungu and Sizwe Dhlomo on 702, after a recent study found a close link between the use of hormonal contraceptives and depression.

A lot of times as doctors we'd say that there's no research to back that up, and almost ignore the feedback the women themselves who are using these products are giving us

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, medical doctor

The University of Copenhagen study found that women who take the combined oral contraceptive pill are 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression, while those who use progestin-only pills are 24% more likely.

The study also found that teenagers have an 80% increase in risk of getting depression when they take the combined pill.

Unless women know all of the side-effects (of these contraceptives), we can't say that they are making informed choices, they are making desperate choices

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, medical doctor

Dr Mofokeng says that in South Africa, some women are shy to speak up when they are having complications brought about by side effects of using contraceptives.

She says that although some side effects might hamper a woman's sexual enjoyment, they are too shy to disclose these and find alternative ways to heighten their sexual enjoyment.

If you're using a contraceptive in your teenage years or even in your early twenties, and over a prolonged time, we know your bone density can be affected

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, medical doctor

Dr Mofokeng says it is also an issue that some women use contraceptives for the wrong reasons, and not for the intended purposes of the products.

She says that it is a difficult for women to cope with the side effects of contraceptives, especially when they experience many other medical challenges as well.

Its very hard to make some of the choices between a contraceptive with very bad side effects for you, and the need for you to control your fertility in terms of when to have kids and how many. Its a continuous battle for women.

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, medical doctor
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