It’s no secret that the contraceptive pill changes the way the female body works. The goal is to prevent pregnancy. However, who would have thought if these pills also affect the shape of the female brain.

A study shows that the synthesis steroids commonly found in the contraceptive pill can shrink a certain part of the female brain. Not only that, this substance also alters the function of that part. In 2015, neuroscientists from the University of California, Los Angeles try to find out about the potential changes in brain shape of this woman. They scan the brains of 90 women, either using contraceptive pills or not.

As a result, they found that the two major brain regions were thinner in women using contraceptive pills. Both areas are the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex. Uniquely, these two areas are involved in emotional regulation, decision making, and reward responses. This may be the reason some women experience the effects of mood swings when taking the contraceptive pill. “Some women experience negative emotional side effects from taking oral contraceptive pills, even though the scientific findings investigated have been mixed,” said Nicole Petersen, lead author of the study, to the Huffington Post on Wednesday (09/04/2015). “Thus, it may be that changes in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex are related to the emotional changes experienced by some women when using contraceptive pills,” he added.

Unfortunately, these findings are based on testing small sample sizes. In fact, this is not the first time a brain-related study has resulted from the use of contraceptive pills. Previously, in 2010, a team from Austria also found that the contraceptive pill could change the brain shape associated with learning, memory, and emotional regulation. However, research in 2010 that shows thickening in brain regions, rather than diluting it. In other words, these new findings are against the Austrian team. Even so, the two findings are equally proving that the contraceptive pill changes the brains of the women of their consumers.

“Further investigation is needed to determine whether cortical thinning in this area is related to behavioral changes, and also to identify whether the use of (pills) is causally or only indirectly related to changes in brain morphology,” the researchers wrote in the journal Human Brain Mapping. For you users of the contraceptive pill, do not rush to fear. Therefore, there is no evidence of danger from the depletion conditions of the brain region. “The possibility that a form of accepted chemical contraception has the ability to alter the rough structures of the human brain is the cause of anxiety disorder, even if the change is very small for now,” said Craig Lensey from the University of Richmond, who was not involved in the study, cited from Science Alert, Sunday (22/04/2018). “However, women should have all the medical and neurobiological information they can use to determine what personal contraceptive decisions they choose,” he concluded.


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