New research conducted in Canada has shown that daily use of birth control pills can have a similar effect on women’s brains as alcohol, changing the parts of their brains responsible for inhibitions, decision-making and impulse control.
The study, published in Frontiers in Endocrinology, analyzed the effects of oral contraceptives, which are taken by nearly two-thirds of women aged 15 to 49, on the brain.
“When oral contraceptives are prescribed, girls and women are informed of various physical side effects, such as that the hormones they are taking will interrupt the menstrual cycle and prevent ovulation,” says study author Alexandra Brujard, a researcher at the University of Quebec in Montreal. However, she added that the effects of pills on the brain have not been thoroughly investigated, nor have women been warned about them.
139 women between the ages of 23 and 35 participated in the research, some of whom were using oral contraception at the time, some of whom had already stopped taking it by then, and some of the women had never taken hormonal contraception and 41 men.
“Compared to men, women using birth control pills had a thinner ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is normally responsible for emotion regulation, such as reducing fear signals in safe situations,” said Brujard, and the thinning of that part could also mean impaired emotional regulation.
“However, thinning appears to be reversible after stopping the pill, as former contraceptive users did not show the same results, but further research is needed to confirm these findings,” she said, adding that the aim of their work was not to are against the use of combined oral contraceptives, but to make women aware that the pill can affect their brain, reports Večernji.hr.
Otherwise. some previous studies of women who started taking contraception as teenagers showed an increased risk of depression, and some even claimed that after stopping the pill, their preferences in choosing sexual partners changed, which some women themselves confirmed.
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“My taste in men varies greatly depending on when I’m on the pill and when I’m not,” said one woman. “We were told that there is a possibility of nausea, weight gain, mood swings, and all of that seems tolerable to me, but the doctors don’t warn you that the pills affect your feelings and desires,” one of them told The Post.