Research highlights: reasons for rejecting hormonal contraception

27 June 2022

Why do some women reject hormonal contraception? Is the cause of this rejection "hormonophobia"? In a systematic review, Le Guen et al. uncover the reasons why women (and their partners) choose hormone-free contraception. What emerged? Rejection of hormonal contraception does not only have to do with fear of hormones. Women often seek hormone-free alternatives because of side-effects of hormonal contraception and/or a desire for 'naturalness'.

The researchers searched two databases for studies on women's (and their partners') reasons for rejecting hormonal contraception. Articles from Europe, North America and Oceania were eligible for inclusion. After analysis of 42 articles, 8 main reasons for rejecting hormonal contraception emerged. These main reasons were:

  • problems with physical side effects
  • altered mental health
  • negative impact on sexuality
  • concerns about future fertility
  • desire for naturalness
  • concerns about menstruation
  • Fears and nervousness
  • undermining the side effects of hormonal contraception

It is important to include women's reasons for choosing hormone-free contraception in the counselling about contraception. In addition, it is important to inform women properly about hormonal contraception. If women are insufficiently informed about side effects of hormonal contraception, are insufficiently involved in the decision making process and side effects are not taken seriously, possible fears of hormonal contraception will remain.


Le Guen, M., Schantz, C., Régnier-Loilier, A., de La Rochebrochard, E. (2021). Reasons for rejecting hormonal contraception in Western countries: A systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 284.