This Is Your Brain On Drugs, Specifically Birth Control Pills

While the results aren’t in yet, it looks like so far, birth control pills have a huge effect – they literally change the way that the brain works. In a short article from Scientific American, the start of a research study on women and birth control pills intrigued me. So far, what this means is not clear, but in my opinion, it could definitely influence birth control forms in the future.

In this study, the brains of women on birth control pills had differences in the areas that control learning, memory, and emotional regulation. While the emotional regulation may not be a surprise to some people, the differences in learning and memory are a little surprising to me. The article is careful to point out that the study does not conclude whether the influence of birth control pills translates to improved or decreased function – but that either is not necessarily a good idea. This is definitely something to keep an eye on, as regardless of how long these changes in the brain may last, there are still implications. If they are long lasting changes, does that mean that the individual has changed forever? While humans are adaptable creatures, I don’t think that this is a good thing. On the other hand, if it is a change in the brain only until the individual goes off of the birth control pill, is it go for the brain to change like that?

When birth control pills first hit the market in the United States in 1960(making them a relatively young form of birth control – but back then, they were not approved for every woman as easily as they are now), there weren’t many options. Now, there are many different brands and types of birth control pills out there (so while a certain brand might have worked wonders for a friend of yours, that doesn’t mean it will work the same for you). Do you think that this might change any possible birth control pill for men?

Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor and make friends with us on Facebook.

About Holly Moyseenko

Holly Moyseenko is a sex educator living in Ohio. She is an advocate of positive and healthy sexuality. Holly currently works for a non-profit health organization as a health educator, and also teaches workshops that focus on many topics within the realm of healthy sexuality. In her spare time, she also is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, gardens, reads anything within reach, drinks copious amounts of tea, and naps with her two dogs.