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You know the pill has side effects: Freshman 15 – such as weight gain, acne flares that lead to PTSD in high school, and Breakthrough bleeding is just one of the joys of preventing unwanted pregnancies. But, as you may know from your own monthly mood swings, the pill can also affect your brain.
Hormonal birth control may interfere with your ability to detect emotions, according to a small study from the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience : When researchers had 95 women, 42 of whom were on the pill and 53 who had no Emotions recognition task, they found that neither group had difficulty recognizing basic expressions such as happiness or fear, but women on the pill was 1
Here is a short scientific lesson: Birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that are naturally occurring in your body. "If you give your body external hormones that it is responsible for, your body will realize that it does not have to produce them," explains Roohi Jeelani, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Vios Fertility Institute. That's the connection to your brain. "The hypothalamus and pituitary gland of the brain produce the signal to your ovaries to produce these hormones, and if you take birth control, those signals are suppressed in your brain," she said. (See also: How can you naturally balance your hormones for permanent energy?)
However, before you begin to understand that you have misunderstood the complacency of your patients with their promotion as arrogant arrogance, you know that makes a difference 10 percent is no guarantee Emotional IQ will deviate from the price. "There's certainly something to [this study] but it's a very small study and there are just too many other variables – such as thyroid disease or pre-existing hormonal imbalances – to account for this cause and effect," says Alyssa Dweck , a gynecologist and co-author of The complete A to Z for your V. .
Why is the thyroid gland a possible variant? "Your thyroid gland is the control center for all your hormones," explains Dr. Jeelani. "The birth control suppresses only part of your endocrine system, not the whole. Therefore, you must control the level of each patient's hormone before you establish a direct relationship between the pill and mental responses. "
The researchers, led by Dr. Alexander Lischke, turned to a psychologist for the emotional responses in their study from the University of Greifswald in Germany, realizes that the difference is clear but subtle – and that further investigation is needed. You need to know if these impairments actually affect women's relationships.
This is not the only study According to a 10-year Danish study, hormonal contraception increased women's intake of antidepressants by 23 percent, according to a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility this also neg the mood, well-being, self-control, energy level and general happiness in life. And the pill actually shrinks your brain according to another small study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping which found that women who took oral birth control pills had a thinner cortex ( the outer layer of the brain) in two areas related to controlling emotions, making decisions, and responding to rewards.
The link between hormonal birth control and mental health is still a gray area – and these studies do not change that. A typical example: When researchers from the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center reviewed 26 studies on the risk of depression through progestin contraception (such as mini-pill and IUDs) in 2018, they found no connection between the two, according to the research published in the journal Contraception .
"There are a lot of hormones in the brain, and although studies have faint associations, nothing has proven to be a direct link between birth control pills and altered mental stability," he says. Jeelani. Yes, if you take birth control pills, you suppress the release of estrogen and progesterone. And you can feel a change in your mood. "There is no direct correlation, no cause-and-effect relationship," she explains. (See: Is Your Contraceptive Pill Responsible for Your Crappy Vision?)
Like any other drug, the pill brings with it risks and benefits, says Dr. Catherine. Dweck. "And there are many, many different types of birth control pills in terms of their ingredients, especially with different progesterone components," she adds. "What we know is that there are hormone receptors for progesterone and estrogen in the brain, so we would naturally expect some effect on the brain by changing the hormonal patterns of birth control pills."
Before the Jump If you have any conclusions about the pill due to headlines or studies (people * really hate the pill at the moment), talk to your doctor. An open dialogue can ensure that you find the right birth control for your needs, whether for contraception, to control a strong or irregular blood flow or to manage PMS symptom management. "There is no single birth control," says Dr. Dweck. So you do not feel like you are prescribed for the first one.