Birth Control Pills Change Women's Brain Structure

A new study found that the brains of women on birth control have more matter in some parts of their brain, like the pre-frontal cortex. So is “the pill” also a smart pill? Not exactly. Researchers say the brain is like a “neural beehive” and messing with one part can mess with others. Or, as the study’s authors put it, one region being larger could actually mean it’s going “catawampus.”

If messing with your brain chemistry gives you pause, you might want to explore other birth control options.

Birth Control Pills Shown to Alter Structure of Women’s Brains [PopSci]

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  1. Emerald4me says:

    Yes, it is indeed smart to be on birth control pills. Said the mother of 3.

  2. duncanblackthorne says:

    There are going to be some people red-faced over this.
    Feminist shitstorm in 3.. 2.. 1..

    • Kate says:

      Hormones in general mess with the brain of both sexes. Birth control pills are hormones. duh

      Quote the resident feminist.

      • Powerlurker says:

        The testosterone episode of This American Life is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever heard. It’s astounding how much of an effect these molecules can have on the very nature of who we “are”.

    • mythago says:

      Most males get over the “whee, let’s bug the shit out of the girls!” thing by middle school. Just a thought.

      • AlphaLackey says:

        Accurately predicting the ability of feminists to take any news story and manufacture “proof” of society’s latent misogyny is a far cry from “whee, let’s bug the shit out of the girls”. That, and your statement fails on two other points: not all women are feminists, and not all feminists are women.

        Just a thought.

  3. Demonpiggies says:

    “catawampus”

    Is that anything like “Wumpus World”?

  4. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Not going to be terribly concerned until I hear something from my doctor or something more definitive than possibly “catawampus.”

    • domcolosi says:

      That’s probably the most effective attitude to take.

      Realize that there’s a possibility that this could be causing brain problems, and pay attention to news and research about it, but don’t panic until somebody comes out with something more serious.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      What about the Bumpus hounds?

    • freelunch says:

      instead of talking to an ob/gyn about it, try taking up a discussion with a neurologist on the effect of birth control pills on the brain….

      it can be slightly disturbing what many have noted over the years…

      Of course, everything is an opinion when it comes to chemical balances and messing with brains. My wife’s opinion is that the benefits are enough to outweigh the risks (and she happens to be a doctor).

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Apparently the social change from women typically liking rugged men to metro men has been attribued to the use of birth control as well.

    Meaning, before birth control women (on average) were more often attracted to men that fit more into the stereotype of a lumberjack, firefighter, etc. But those who take birth control for the long-term (again, on average) would gradually be more attracted to the young, smooth, clean-shaven boy look.

    And again, this is for women taking birth control for several continuous years only.

    • Tim says:

      [citation needed]

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Depends on the guy.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        No, depends on the girl. And since I said on average several times, one would probably pick up on the concept of “it depends.”

    • nextyearsgirl says:

      I read about this as well. Apparently it’s because hormonal birth control methods trick your body into thinking it’s pregnant, which makes women seek more nurturing mates. I suppose when you’re looking to get pregnant, your genes are programmed to look for a mate who is obviously strong and fit, hence more rugged.

      I think that’s why they said John Wayne and more “manly” men were sex symbols in the olden days, and now it’s men like James Franco and Zac Efron.

    • Muddie says:

      If I recall correctly, this is because birth control pills cause women’s bodies to think they are pregnant and so they hormonally change to looking for people that they see as ‘good providers for children’ rather than ‘sexually arousing and want to make babies with’.

    • adrienna says:

      Well, I’ve been continuously on the pill since the mid-90s, and I still don’t find metro guys attractive.

      • Snaptastic says:

        Ditto. Been on the Pill for over a decade and I still like rugged men.

        My biggest obstacle is to find a nice guy that isn’t a douche tho…rugged or metro, a jackass is still a jackass. I will never regret my decision to take the pill, as it has prevented me from accidentally breeding with them.

    • Gramin says:

      Yay for birth control. I’d never be able to pull off the rugged look. My beard/mustache barely grow and I care too much about my attire to ever be caught dead in anything rugged looking.

      Metrosexual for the win!!

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Curious. Before I started HBC, I showed a very distinct preference for tall. slender men with oval faces, brown hair and large eyes. This has remained completely unchanged. Muscles have always done nothing but repulse me.

      • chocolate1234 says:

        I second that. Big muscles = gross. Some muscle definition is fine, but I’d rather be with a guy who doesn’t spend all of his time in the gym. No thanks.

    • goodfellow_puck says:

      Yeeeah, I don’t know a single woman who’s preference has changed since BC, or a lack of rugged men in the lives of those on BC. I’m not really sure how someone would “scientifically” come to this conclusion beyond a questionnaire, and that’s not exactly hard science.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Well, from a purely unscientific point of view, I can look back at all of the men I have found attractive (actors, athletes, or real-life people) and can definitively say that rugged men can be handsome and metro men can also be handsome, your preference always means one eeks out further in the long run. Just look at the person you may be sharing your life with – presuming you’re happy with this person, if he or she doesn’t fit the “ideal” of what you are attracted to, maybe you need to re-examine the ideal, because clearly the person you love has something that is working for you.

      • K-Bo says:

        My preferences have changed a little, I wrote that off to being more mature and having different priorities. I’m more likely to go for someone with an office over someone with an outside working with their hands job than I was in college, but I feel like that has more to do with the fact that I have an office job, so I meet more of those people, and I also connect better with them because we have more in common.

    • Conformist138 says:

      This should be clarified: The pill doesn’t change who an individual woman finds attractive (ie- if you loved big brawny men, you suddenly won’t be crying that Clay Aiken is gay). Really, this is a suggested result of multiple GENERATIONS of women being on the pill. The idea is that the pill makes a woman’s body think it’s pregnant. So, rather than seeking the men “best” for reproduction (big and strong), women began looking more and more for men who are better for the actual nurturing and raising of children (a father for the non-existent child her hormones think is there). So, the tiny change in preference experienced by each woman isn’t really noticeable, but becomes more obvious when you’re talking about millions of women over the course of decades.

      None of this is proven, it’s all just theoretical.

      • clauclauclaudia says:

        Well, no, hormonal birth control also does change things on the level of individual women and individual men. There’s a well-known study on women liking the scent of different men’s sweat depending on whether they are on or off the pill (do a search on histocompatibility complex for the details).

        But that result has nothing to do with macho or burly men vs. others. It has to do with specific genetic similarities or differences between a particular woman and man. (The evolutionary biology theory regarding this result is that you want genetic diversity in a mate but to be among genetic family while you’re pregnant (which the pill simulates).)

        I’d want to see pretty solid cross-cultural studies before I’d believe the introduction of the pill, as opposed to media images or other non-biological factors, were responsible for a change in women’s tastes. Although this is the first time I’ve heard the assertion that they’ve changed.

  6. George4478 says:

    So, this might make women unpredictable?

  7. RxDude says:

    Also in the news, the female libido is susceptible to damage from certain food. Specifically, wedding cake.

  8. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    Maybe this explains my sister-in-law. Then again, maybe she is just fricking nuts.

  9. dg says:

    So ummm, this is why women are so crazy and unpredictable? Who’da thunk it?!

    /ducks/ *grin* JUST KIDDING – don’t hit me! We love you! :-)

  10. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This article reports on another article (in Scientific American) which reports on a brain study, whose results are vague at best. The authors of the SA article even repeatedly state that they aren’t sure whether increased gray matter does anything, but they assume ” there likely is little good about treating a woman’s brain like a spongy accordion,” a statement which doesn’t make any sense if you look at the results as pure speculation.

    Not to mention the fact that “the types of hormonal contraceptive were not examined, lumping them all into a vague “hormonal contraceptives” group. There is a high level of variability and differential ratios in levels of estrogen and progesterones in birth control pills.”

    • freelunch says:

      studying brain chemistry and good vs. bad effects of one thing or another is very subjective….

      draw your own conclusions as you wish… that’s some of what the researchers are doing.
      If you are a cautious type, then be cautious… if you are a footless type, then have a blast.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I’ve tried birth control pills 3 times in the last 8-9 years. Each time, within 3+ months I would start feeling funny mentally, couldn’t hold my thoughts together and would have small, weird side effects. They weren’t unliveable, but definitely a bother. I certainly believe some people are more susceptible to the hormones than others. My sister is the same way, birth control screws with her too. I’ve tried the depo shot (OMG never try that, anyone… please.) and that was a nightmare. Yet I’ve known people to stay on the pill for 20 years with NO side effects! I think it’s dependent on each persons own hormones. Mine become out of whack when you add anything extra to the mix, so I was told that a tubal was my best bet for permanent birth control. (I’ve tried many other types to no avail)

  11. daveinva says:

    I think there are probably a whole host of side effects to birth control that haven’t been properly studied. Someone up thread mentioned the possible changes in the types of men women on the Pill find attractive. From personal (and completely anecodtal) experience, I’ve noticed in past relationships with women on the Pill, off the Pill, or women who moved back and forth on birth control all had highly variable levels of desire on their part, and interestingly, *my* desires often fluctuated (i.e., I noticed the intensity of attraction to GFs who weren’t on the Pill felt somehow greater than that to women who were on it, and those instances don’t appear to me to have any other reasonable psychological/situational explanations other than “Hey, they’re off the Pill / their tubes are tied” as the major difference.”

    Basically… I wonder whether there’s a basic hormonal/pheremonal difference here that men can pick up on, and it translates into physical desire.

  12. human_shield says:

    3 words…male birth control! An occasional shot, no side effects, 100% effective.

    Women should consider IUDs over pills. The pill is actually much less effective than advertised because women don’t always take them properly. A quick google citation: http://teenadvice.about.com/cs/birthcontrol/a/blbcfacts.htm

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Doesn’t just about everything range from ineffective to dangerous if not used correctly?

    • Kuchen says:

      This is why patient education is so important for prescribers of new medications (not just birth control).

      I agree that IUDs are a good option for many women, but they are generally not recommended for women who have not had children, and I even had trouble finding someone to place one since I had a c-section instead of a vaginal delivery.

      • pop top says:

        “but they are generally not recommended for women who have not had children, and I even had trouble finding someone to place one since I had a c-section instead of a vaginal delivery.”

        This is incorrect. They aren’t necessarily for everyone, but there’s still a lot of old info going around about them because of the horrible IUD thing that happened in the 70s. You CAN still use them even if you haven’t had children (like myself), the only issue that people have with them is that sometimes they can move around or come out if you haven’t had a kid before. All you need to do is just check it once a month. It’s really sad how much misinformation is out there about IUDs and how it prevents so many women from getting one because of it.

        A co-worker’s daughter was thinking about getting one, but one of her friends told her that it might make infertile (they don’t) and it would make her sick (nope), so she didn’t get one and ended up getting pregnant because of improper birth control pill usage. She immediately got an IUD installed after she had her kid.

      • pop top says:

        “but they are generally not recommended for women who have not had children, and I even had trouble finding someone to place one since I had a c-section instead of a vaginal delivery.”

        This is incorrect. They aren’t necessarily for everyone, but there’s still a lot of old info going around about them because of the horrible IUD thing that happened in the 70s. You CAN still use them even if you haven’t had children (like myself), the only issue that people have with them is that sometimes they can move around or come out if you haven’t had a kid before. All you need to do is just check it once a month. It’s really sad how much misinformation is out there about IUDs and how it prevents so many women from getting one because of it.

        A co-worker’s daughter was thinking about getting one, but one of her friends told her that it might make infertile (they don’t) and it would make her sick (nope), so she didn’t get one and ended up getting pregnant because of improper birth control pill usage. She immediately got an IUD installed after she had her kid.

        • Kuchen says:

          I didn’t say that IUDs couldn’t be used by women who haven’t had children, just that are usually recommended more to women that have. Your cervical opening changes after a baby passes through it, and many practitioners are not comfortable placing an IUD in a nulliparous cervix. This is why I had to trouble getting someone to do mine…my baby didn’t come out that way, so even though I have had a baby, I have the cervix of someone who hasn’t.

          IUDs do increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, and unfortunately, that leads some to say that IUDs should not be for anyone in a group with an increased risk of STIs (young women, unmarried women, etc.). Birth control should really be an individualized thing, based on your personal lifestyle and risks and habits, rather than that of a group.

    • aloria says:

      Most doctors will only give an IUD to women who are married and have had at least one child. I plan on doing neither of those things, so the pill is it.

      • tofupuppy says:

        Since when? That makes no sense. I’m a never-married, never-been-pregnant woman on an IUD and so are several of my friends.

        • aloria says:

          Every doctor I have asked has explained that they prefer to give IUDs to women who have finished childbearing because it does have some risk of uterine damage.

          They generally only give them to married woman because the IUD can act as a wick to introduce STDs into the cervix, increasing the severity of an infection/infertility, so they don’t want to give them to those not in long-term monogamous relationships.

          I have found one doctor who was willing to give me one if I would swear to her I was in a long term relationship, but even then she seemed uneasy about it.

          • tofupuppy says:

            Huh. My doc had no such qualms and was a-ok about it. I had no idea.

            • falnfenix says:

              i live in Baltimore. until recently (within the past 10 years), no doctor in this area would be willing to administer an IUD to a nulliparous female under 35, regardless of marital status.

          • pop top says:

            Wow, you must live in some weird backwater state. I was able to get an IUD installed with no problems (no kids). That’s really terrible, especially the misinformation about STDs and uterine damage.

            • aloria says:

              This was at the NYC Planned Parenthood, and several OB/GYNs in Hudson County, NJ.

              • pop top says:

                That’s really, really sad. I’m sorry you had to go through all that trouble. It would be nice if people didn’t argue with women who sought out birth control.

                • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                  WTF? D–C-T–R s tryng t prtct y frm pssbl dmg t yr wn bd. Hw DR th lk t fr yr wn ntrsts, nt t mntn lblts frm thm nt xplnng t y ll th ptntl dngrs sd ffcts f ths prcdrs. Y clrl nd ths prcdr, bcs gd hlp s f y prcrt.

                  • pop top says:

                    You’re the one who clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about. There are many doctors out there that still believe a lot of misinformation about IUDs and don’t prescribe them not because of actual health risks, but because of outdated and incorrect information about them (and sometimes even a personal dislike of them). There’s also a difference between “informing a patient about potential health risks” and “not doing what the fully-informed patient wants because you don’t want to do it”. You also don’t need to be an insulting prick to get your point across either.

                    • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

                      My doctor recently said it was okay for me to get an IUD. I’ve never had any children and don’t ever want to. I am getting Mirena placed at the end of this month!

            • aloria says:

              I should also mention that these attempts were made between the ages of 21 and 25 (I’m 28 now,) so perhaps the doctors also thought I was too young/immature?

              • oneandone says:

                Definitely possible – one of the downsides of an IUD (from a public health perspective) is that once a woman has it, she doesn’t have to come in for a prescription refill for several years – meaning she might not be seeing her OB/GYN or even GP regularly.

                For a lot of women, especially young ones, the pill prescription refill is an opportunity for an annual pelvic exam, pap test, STD test, discussion about sexual & general health, etc. Important stuff that may not happen once she has an alternative to the pill. I’m not sure if that’s right, but I think it is pragmatic.

            • womynist says:

              My doctor told me the same thing. I’m 30, in a long-term relationship and have never had children. She said that there’s no way she would let me have an IUD, due to the risk of a uterine tear. So, unfortunately I’m also stuck with the pill as my best option. I’d love to have my tubes tied, but I’m sure my chances of getting that at my age are even less than the IUD.

              • selianth says:

                Honestly, I’d rather keep my IUD than get my tubes tied. Women on the Mirena show a 90% reduction on average of menstrual flow.. and in my case eliminated it altogether. I haven’t had a period in years and I love it. Can’t get that with tied tubes.

              • pop top says:

                You should shop around and see if anyone else will do it for you. Don’t let one jerk of a doctor put you off of it just because they’re misinformed. I did a TON of research before I had my IUD installed and I didn’t see anything about uterine tears. When I Googled “iud uterine tears” just now, no reputable sites came up, only at-home remedy type places and message boards with things that people had “heard” from someone. Maybe if it’s inserted improperly it could cause tearing, but I don’t think it could tear anything just by hanging out in the uterus.

              • oneandone says:

                I have an IUD (Mirena, close to 3 years now), and am not yet 30 and don’t have kids. I was using the Ring for a while and LOVED it, but when I moved & my insurance changed, it became extremely expensive. I asked the dr what other options I had (which were limited, since I never managed to find a brand of oral birth control pills that worked) and it came down to Depo shots or Mirena… and I did not like the idea of having to go in for regular shots. I travel a lot, and that wouldn’t work.

                She’s said that medical consensus has changed and it now is that women who haven’t had children can have an IUD – the biggest factors are 1) no family history of ectopic pregnancy and 2) can the IUD get past the cervix. Usually women who have had children have no problem with #2, but a lot of women who haven’t had children have the kind of cervix that can take it also. If you’re interested, ask your dr to take a look and discuss the risks with you.

                Insertion hurt like a bitch and I had massive cramping for a few hours following, but not so much that I couldn’t fall asleep later (after a bunch of advil), and wake up the next morning feeling awesome!! And I still do.

          • mmmsoap says:

            Also, IUDs are known to cause more difficulties in women who have not borne children (yet), as their uterus is smaller than a woman who has given birth. In theory there was a small IUD, more appropriate for the never-been-preggo crowd that was supposed to be released sometime this year, not sure if it’s happened or not.

          • jesusofcool says:

            Same thing has happened to me. I’ve asked 2 different doctors and both have said they only consider it with older women who have had children due to fairly unexplained health risks. And both also said they would only consider a permanent solution in women over 30. Granted I’m early 20s, but all my friends who have asked also received similar answers, no matter how strongly they expressed their needs.
            Seriously, you can tell this article is written by a man because it suggests that all women have other birth control options. For most young women there is nothing as effective and obtainable as the pill, regardless of risks. And yes, I think there’s something wrong with that.

            • segfault, registered cat offender says:

              Call your local Planned Parenthood for a referral to doctors who will consider permanent birth control for younger people or those without children.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Mirena IUD was the only b/c I have been able to use for a sustained period. I loved it. I had it for 5 years after my daughter. I didn’t want to have another reinstalled for various reasons, but they are indeed awesome.

        They should be available to anyone who wants them and knows the risks.

    • Kate says:

      IUD’s essentially abort the one cell fetus, not exactly the moral choice of a lot of women.

    • AlphaLackey says:

      So many responses, and not one person caught the important point:

      Male hormonal birth control has been a long time coming in this culture. Private, non-surgical, non-permanent hormonal birth control for men can only help a society in which a sizable percentage of pregnancies are unplanned (theoretically unplanned by both parties, practically by one party). I don’t think there’s any debate that hormonal birth control taken in advance of “gettin’ it on” helps foster an environment of spontaneous intercourse with one’s partner that many couples seem to enjoy, so add a psychological benefit to the preceding paragraph.

  13. suez says:

    I think this would be a more telling study if they’d measured the brains of the women in question BEFORE and AFTER they started on the pill. As far as I can tell from this, it sounds like they only compared various women to other women, but how do you know if those differences weren’t there already? Did I miss this?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Not to mention that there’s no indication of whether ethnicity or diet played a part in brain chemistry, or what kind of lifestyles may have contributed to brain chemistry. Brains don’t all look alike; there are reasons why we’re different in how we think and the processes that shape our thoughts.

  14. CBenji says:

    Having had a meningioma brain tumor recur three times and then find out that it was fed by progesterone I will say that you just never know what the medicines you take can do to you. I will also say that I never took the pill as a teenager, and only took it for a few years, but once I went off the pill I never had to have my head cut open again which was much nicer than having to have it cut open. My tumor was not in the parietal area of the brain though.

    • delicatedisarray says:

      I ended up having lots of blood clotting problems that started up because of the pill- I can’t put full blame on it though, I did have a condition that wasn’t known about until I started taking the pill. I’m now off the pill, have had surgery, and am a Coumadin patient from here on out. I have chronic swelling and blood pooling in my left leg/foot. I’m only 24. This month actually marks my one year point since I found a doctor who was willing to actually find out what was going on with my body. I think the pill is a good option to have, but before prescribing it as a miracle cure-all for “female issues” screenings should be run. I should never have been given the pill, a simple blood test would have shown that before I started. Instead I suffered through years of misdiagnosis, pain, medications, crazy therapies, and huge doctor bills. My current doctor (who is quite literally my life saver) told me I am lucky I didn’t end up with worse complications or dead.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Yikes!

        I had a blood clot in my leg, which the doctor attributed to the Pill and my thyroid meds. He put me on Coumadin for a year and changed my pill to a low-dose one. I haven’t had another clot, but I’m paranoid now about pains in my legs.

        I hated Coumadin. I feel for you.

  15. Cantras says:

    When I was on the pill, i became a basket case during my off-week. I had never been an emotional-pms-type before, but i definitely remember tearing up while being dressed down for a bad assignment at work (I deserved this dressing down) and saying that i was sorry, i didn’t mean to get like this (sniffly), I’d run out of medication and couldn’t get any more for another few days — technically true, as my insurance would only pay for a month at a time.

    I dunno. I don’t remember feeling smarter or less smart or more depressed or anything (I did have a borderline nervous breakdown a few semesters, but I’m blaming a professor for one of them), or that there’s anything that’s changed since I got an (also hormonal) IUD instead — except for no periods = no mood swing craziness.
    If I feel anything, it’s more feminine? I could (and often did) pass for a guy my last year of high school/first year of college, and I don’t feel like I could now even if I cut my hair and tried to dress the part — like I just wouldn’t pull off the clothes and the walk and the inflection — and even beyond “I don’t want to cut my hair,” I don’t really want to.

    • Kate says:

      Women react differently to different prescriptions. You should check with your doctor and try something else.

      On one prescription, I became Attilla the Hunness. I was so completely irritated all the time it actually physically hurt. Others, no problems at all.

    • qwickone says:

      Are you sure you just weren’t on the wrong pill? I became borderline crazy the 3rd week every month. After 4 or 5 months, I figured this out and switched pills. Problem solved.

  16. richcreamerybutter says:

    When I was on a progesterone-only pill, it prevented my normal 36 hours of pre-menstrual emotional despair (in addition to significantly reducing the number of periods). In my case, it was an epiphany! Imagine if you are struck with 1.5 days of sometimes crippling depression a month that’s out of your hands, even if you now why it’s happening.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      Same for me on the pill. Horrible monthly depression gone. Heavy, long periods reduced to light, short ones. I’d keep taking it for these reasons alone!

      • Martha Gail says:

        Yes! I would be so depressed and sometimes have anxiety attacks and I would not have any clue as to why until a few days later and then it hit me. Happened every month like clockwork, but my brain just wouldn’t register why I was feeling so bad. Went on NuvaRing and haven’t looked back since!

  17. Scribblenerd says:

    Pfft! Nothing to see here.

  18. evnmorlo says:

    Remembering to take the pill stimulates extra brain growth.

  19. Dieflatermous says:

    Poorly-paraphrased article from a poorly-written article from a poorly-conducted study, good job. Oh but the Consumerist hasn’t had a “lol women suck” post in a few days.

  20. wednesdayaddams says:

    Fake horomones are scary imo. IUD all the way baby!! Urrr…. no baby? haha

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Fake hormones rule for those of us whose bodies aren’t able to regulate natural production. :)

  21. cmdr.sass says:

    If messing with your brain chemistry gives you pause, you might want to explore other birth control options.

    like getting married.

  22. Kate says:

    Since most of the active ingredient in BC pills go right through the body and into the water system, it affects us all. The active ingredient is usually estrogen.

  23. Dilbitz says:

    My best friend died in January from birth control pills. Got a blood clot in her thrombus and stroked out. Two weeks later my doc wanted me on the pill to regulate my periods (same reason my friend was on it) I said NO WAY. Got hydrothermablation instead. No more periods,no more kids. Win-win situation, and I won’t leave my children without a mom.

    • chocolate1234 says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. Out of curiosity, what kind of pill was it? I just switch off of Yaz because of the lawsuits. I never had any problems, but I didn’t want to take the small risk.

    • pop top says:

      To be fair, it’s probably not just the pill that did it. But if you’re predisposed to having clots (whether from smoking or a hereditary issue or whatever), then you should definitely look into other birth control options.

  24. TerpBE says:

    This explains why Planned Parenthood has recently been receiving an outpouring of donations from zombies.

  25. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    There are too many doctors in the US who promote birth control pills as “safe” and neglect to mention the most serious side effects of the pill (such as blood clots).

    Why does it still lie with the woman to put her health at risk when it comes to birth control? Where is male birth control?

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      One reason hormonal birth control is easier to make for women is because women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, while men constantly create new sperm. It’s much simpler to control the former than the latter.

    • TerpBE says:

      Yeah, if only someone would come up with some kind of sheath or something that a man could use to prevent his ejaculate from getting inside the woman. Too bad nobody has ever developed something like this.

      • pop top says:

        Yes because condoms have a better rate of pregnancy prevention than birth control pills. Oh wait, they don’t.

      • chocolate1234 says:

        Condoms are way different than hormonal birth control. In monogamous relationships, a lot of people want to use condoms as a last resort.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        It would also be great if some kind of minor out patient surgery could be developed that men could get when their done having children.

        • AlphaLackey says:

          If only people had the intellectual integrity to not genuinely compare “taking a pill” to “a surgical procedure”

    • Powerlurker says:

      Female birth control only has to deal with one egg once a month. Male birth control has to deal with millions of sperm every single time the couple has sex. It’s MUCH easier to deal with it from the female end.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Um, the serious side effects of using the pill most certainly are mentioned. Or am I the only one who ever reads the materials that come with my prescriptions and does online research about them?

    • AlphaLackey says:

      You’d be surprised how many men are in favor of a hormonal birth control method for men.. and how many women are against it.

  26. smo0 says:

    I’ve taken too many forms of BC that have messed with my body. My mother’s generation (her and her sister) could not take any hormonal bc because of clotting issues.
    I refuse to, too afraid. I’ll just go the condom route!

  27. yurei avalon says:

    Yeah, I took BC pills for three years at the OBGYN’s insistence, will never do it again. I was so depressed 95% of the time, it was nuts. And it did not adequately help the menstrual symptoms they said it would either,

    • chocolate1234 says:

      Out of curiosity, did you try different brands of birth control? In the last ten years, I’ve been on probably 6 or 7 different kinds of birth control. Some function better than others at easing certain symptoms.

    • JixiLou says:

      I took BC Pills for a year and a half. A few months after staring the pill, I began to have serious, serious depression side effects. It never even occurred to me that this could be a side effect- my GYN told me “if you don’t smoke, then there’s very little risk”, and never mentioned depression.

      I went off the pills for a different reason, and then a few years later, after my depression was under control, decided to go back on them. Within two weeks, I was experience severe depression symptoms again (suicidal thoughts, crying for no reason, and more suicidal thoughts) and my psychiatrist realized it may be the pills. So I stopped them immediately, and the symptoms abated.

      Birth control is a wonderful thing for some people. But it is over prescribed, and treated as some sort of wonder drug. Even after telling him of my history of depression related to BCP, my new gynecologist actually tried to still get me to take it. Every time I went in, he’d talk to me all about the benefits of birth control pills, and every time I’d have to tell that jerk “read my chart before coming in here, please.” (I have a new doctor now.) I hate that in our culture, BCP are considered “normal”.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        …my GYN told me “if you don’t smoke, then there’s very little risk”, and never mentioned depression.

        Which is why it’s important to have good pharmacists who actually explain all of the risks because doctors, at least in my experience, don’t know all the particulars of all of these medications. When I first got on the pill my doctor swore up and down that all the problems I was having couldn’t be from the pill. Long story short: Turned out to be gallstones and I ended up having surgery. If you look it up hormone replacement therapy increases your risk of needing gallbladder surgery.

        There’s a whole load of side effects and risks from the pill and if someone had gone over them with me I might have recognized what was going on.

        I’ve gone back to using a Horton’s Pharmacy now and they actually take the time to talk to me if I start a new medication. They even helped me when having an issue with one of the existing meds.

  28. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I hate bc pills. I never could take them for very long because of the wretched side effects. I used FAM for years with no problems. We finally decided DH would get the big V. Best decision ever.

  29. Vielle84 says:

    I’m on Nuva Ring right now, and I

  30. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Someone’s already pointed out that they didn’t look at the women’s brains before they started the pill so I see nothing to worry about yet.

    Besides, I have PCOS. Switching to something other than the pill isn’t really an option.

  31. dolemite says:

    So THATS why all women are insane. I’ve been wondering.

  32. mobiuschic42 says:

    News Flash: any substance you put in your circulatory system has the chance of changing your brain structure.

  33. Clumber says:

    I have been on BC pills (without the placebos more than 2 or 3x a year) now for some ridiculously long time like a decade or more. I happily call myself pharmaceutically spayed. I have never, ever wanted kids – seriously not even when I was a kid! – and I am a gay woman. I was put on the BC pill initially to control severe bleeding, to the point of dangerous anemia, and then it was also noted that my lifelong severe depression was drastically reduced as well. Hey! A side-effect that rocks!

    I have tried for years to get a hysterectomy instead of having to take the pills everyday for my entire pre-menopausal life, but no doctor would allow it. I am 42 now and started begging to be spayed at about 12 years old. I am gay, I have never wanted kids. I still don’t understand how several doctors over the years have preferred to have me take pills every day.

    Anyhow, to address some of the strange shit mentioned by previous commentators – A). I was gay and with an SO when I started the BC pills, and am still gay and with the same SO. If BC pills change what we are attracted to it must take a damn long time…. B). I could almost shed tears of joy when I read y’all questioning the studies, the sources, and the conclusions made by quoted studies.KUDOS to you all!!! It’s just so… sooo… AWESOME! (bursts into tears) C.) I have found that the damn things make me more empathetic than I normally think I would be, and at seemingly no control. I hate that. I really, really do. Course the serotonin reuptake pills could also be responsible for that… D. Libido decrease. Hell yes and that sucks… again that could be the serotonin correctors though.

    Purely on my own and without my doctor’s knowledge or approval (*) I have gradually cut my daily dose down to like 1/3 of the pill size. (swiss army knife and steady, steady hands…) Since there is no need for actual birth control, I just cut it back s…l…..o….w….l….y….. to the smallest amount my body could seem to take and still have the desired effects. This I do in order to make myself feel better about the long-term risks, maybe putting off those until after I am hit by a bus or the EOTWAWKI,.. that still scheduled for 12/12/12 or 12/21/12 ? I forget to keep track of that.

    (*) I neither suggest, recommend, or condone. YMMV

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think someone claimed that it changed the type of personality (physically manifested, though) you were attracted to, not necessarily the gender.

      • Clumber says:

        Perhaps, but my spouse still has the same personality as well and I am still as attracted to her as I was before going on the continual BC pills. :)

    • CBenji says:

      I can’t believe you couldn’t have a uterine ablation. I had one for heavy periods. I couldn’t take the pill anymore due to the brain tumors (earlier post) and then of course the stupid periods came back like no other. When I was young they were always often, and sometimes fifteen days a week, once off the pill it was right back to that, and you never knew when they would be around, sometimes thirteen days, and then they would last at least that long. I was always at least borderline anemic. Apparently they don’t like to do actual hysterectomies anymore, but they will do a uterine ablation. You should go to a good gyno and have them document your symptoms.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      The Mirena IUD can also help with the bleeding problems, if that is an option for you.

  34. roguemarvel says:

    I was going to say the same thing. I’ve been on a few types of hormonal birthcontrol and low dose seems to work best. I had implanton for a year (prostergine only implant in arm..works for 3 years) and it lowered my sex drive and made me pheromones smell different. Switched back to my old bc and have been fine.

  35. JixiLou says:

    I took BC Pills for a year and a half. A few months after staring the pill, I began to have serious, serious depression side effects. It never even occurred to me that this could be a side effect- my GYN told me “if you don’t smoke, then there’s very little risk”, and never mentioned depression.

    I went off the pills for a different reason, and then a few years later, after my depression was under control, decided to go back on them. Within two weeks, I was experience severe depression symptoms again (suicidal thoughts, crying for no reason, and more suicidal thoughts) and my psychiatrist realized it may be the pills. So I stopped them immediately, and the symptoms abated.

    Birth control is a wonderful thing for some people. But it is over prescribed, and treated as some sort of wonder drug. Even after telling him of my history of depression related to BCP, my new gynecologist actually tried to still get me to take it. Every time I went in, he’d talk to me all about the benefits of birth control pills, and every time I’d have to tell that jerk “read my chart before coming in here, please.” (I have a new doctor now.) I hate that in our culture, BCP are considered “normal”.

  36. Zydia says:

    Is it too much to ask men to get snipped now.

    • AlphaLackey says:

      Snipping is not analogous to the pill.

      Snipping is analogous to tubal ligation.

      Therefore, your correct question SHOULD be “Is it too much to ask men to have discreet, non-surgical, non-permanent, hormonal birth control available now”?

  37. consumerd says:

    So this is where bi-polar originates from.. I never knew!