Posted on Apr 25, 2019, 8 p.m.
The Pill has been touted as being one of the most innovative and important drugs to go to market, while it has been recognized as being important to reproductive health there are long standing concerns about the side effects.
The range of health problems and risks imposed on women who take oral contraceptives has been known for years. Recent research reveals a new side effect, that the pill may further isolate and challenge girls and women; those taking the pill struggle with emotional recognition of other people based on complex and nuanced social cues and facial expressions.
As published in Frontier in Neuroscience 95 healthy women were involved in the study, 42 taking oral contraceptives and 53 not. Those in the pill group were determined to be less accurate by a margin of 10% in recognition of complex expressions, especially with difficult to recognize expressions like pride and contempt.
The notion of taking such a common medication negatively altering psychological health may be surprising, but reams of data also indicate oral contraceptives increase risk of depression, of which rates are higher among women than men.
Hypothesis is that the pill alters a woman’s sex hormones thereby influencing neurobehavioral elements of a healthy psychological profile, but that is not the only thing the pill does. On top of the emotional difficulties common adverse effects and risk factors include weight gain and decreased lean body mass; decreased sex drive; increased risk of cancers; increased risk of heart disease; high blood pressure; as well as headaches and migraines.
Over 100 million girls and women around the globe use oral contraceptives and often do so for decades, most of which are unaware of the side effects and risks meaning there is a need to do a better job at clearly explaining what negative side effects patients are likely to face will be. Women and girls need to be more aware of the well documented consequences to taking this medication, and they should be more educated about other effective and affordable birth control options which are safer and impose less of a risk to physical and mental health, as well as knowing that the pill may be a possible reason for any changes they may be experiencing.
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This article is not intended to provide medical endorsement, advice, diagnosis or treatment.