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The Pill, The Brain, & Sex

If you or someone you know is taking birth control pills, you may want to take a few minutes to read this.

There’s surprising information coming from a new study that was released last week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Researchers found that women taking oral contraceptives had significantly smaller hypothalamus volume compared to women not taking the pill.

What does that mean?

First, it’s important to understand what the hypothalamus does. It produces hormones and helps regulate essential bodily functions including body temperature, mood, appetite, sleep cycles, heart rate, and sex drive.

It’s the sex drive component that they were interested in with this particular study. Up until now, structural effects of sex hormones, including oral contraceptive pills, on the human hypothalamus have never been reported, according to the researchers.

Lead researcher, Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., FACR, professor of radiology at the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and medical director of MRI Services at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City said that “There is a lack of research on the effects of oral contraceptives on this small but essential part of the living human brain,” adding, “We validated methods for assessing the volume of the hypothalamus and confirm, for the first time, that current oral contraceptive pill usage is associated with smaller hypothalamic volume.”

For this study, Dr. Lipton’s team recruited a group of 50 healthy women — 21 of whom were taking oral contraceptives. All 50 women underwent a brain scan, and doctors measured the size of the hypothalamus of each participant.

They were shocked to discover the difference in brain structures in women taking the pill compared to those who weren’t.

Dr. Lipton explains, “We found a dramatic difference in the size of the brain structures between women who were taking oral contraceptives and those who were not,” He goes on to say, “This initial study shows a strong association and should motivate further investigation into the effects of oral contraceptives on brain structure and their potential impact on brain function.”

He also found a strong correlation between smaller hypothalamic volume and greater anger and depressive symptoms. 

It’s important to note that the findings are still “preliminary” according to Dr. Lipton. 

All of this comes after researchers found that the pill can dictate who a person can fall in love with and significantly lower the sex drive.

You read that correctly. 

The pill can greatly affect who women fall in love with. 

Premier psychologist Dr. Sarah Hill revealed that “sex, attraction, stress, hunger, eating patterns, emotion regulation, friendships, aggression, mood, learning, and so many other things.” are affected significantly by oral contraceptives.  She said women on the pill are attracted to less masculine men and are less interested in sex. She goes on to explain “Rather than experiencing an increased preference for sexy men at high fertility like naturally cycling women do, pill-taking women exhibit an unwavering preference for men with less masculine faces and voices.”

Maybe even more surprising is the fact that experts warn that one million women could be taking the wrong contraceptive pill suffering from some pretty nasty side effects that they may think is “normal”. Those symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of libido
  • Missed periods
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Breast tenderness
  • Spotting between periods

Doctors estimate 3 million women are plagued by nasty side effects of their contraception, yet a third have never raised the issue with their doctor, meaning they are likely unaware there could be a solution.

There are many reasons a woman, or teenage girl could be prescribed birth control pills. The pill can treat a number of conditions such as irregular menstruation, cramps, acne, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome. According to a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, from 2015 to 2017 approximately 47 million women aged 15-49 in the U.S. reported current use of contraceptives. Of those, 12.6% used the pill.

More than likely, you probably know a woman who is suffering silently due to being on the pill. She may think she is trapped and alone. A little grace and understanding can go a long way. And education could be the key that unlocks their cage. Share this with the women in your life in hopes that enlightenment may lighten their load. 


Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191204090819.htm
https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/14_pr_target.cfm?id=2136
https://nypost.com/2019/09/26/birth-control-pills-may-affect-you-are-attracted-to-experts-say/
https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8644881/contraceptive-pill-wrong-million-women/

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