Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Pill Will Fry Your Brain, Too

Women who take the Pill each day have a key brain region which is smaller, experts have found for the first time. 

The hypothalamus is crucial for the normal production of hormones and plays a role in mood, appetite, sex drive and sleep.

(The hypothalamus is also responsible for parental behaviour, see here: And cells signaling to a hormone-regulating region of the brain's hypothalamus appear to modulate the parenting-related hormones oxytocin, vasopressin, and the stress hormone corticotropin-releasing hormone. It's probably the reason why modern women are so non-maternal).
Researchers at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City scanned the brains of 50 women to make the conclusion. 

They saw a 'dramatic difference' in the size of the hypothalamus in women who took birth control pills.

But don't you worry, despite the crucial area of your brain shrinking 6%, it totally won't affect you:

But they said cognitive performance or behaviour did not change - despite the brain region being around six per cent smaller.  

Well, except you getting depressed and dealing with anger issues, that is:

However, other preliminary evidence from the same team found a link between the smaller size and anger and depressive symptoms. 
Probably other things, too:

Disease of the hypothalamus, most often caused by brain injury, surgery, tumours or genetic disorders, can cause insomnia, dehydration and infertility.

A feature or a bug? You decide!


  1. Now that is scary. I wonder if those changes reverse when person stops using Pill? I also wonder is this why so many women are so angry at their kids all the time? Because quite often they go back on Pill when the baby is born.

    I have read quite a few articles about how hormonal contraception can cause depression and anxiety. And it works in most insidious way: first you think it works fine, but slowly it will make you stress responses worse and cause depression that way.

    I am starting to think most medicines that are used all the time, are very very bad for us. You know, antidepressants, the Pill, statines, prophylaxis for migraine. And yet doctors want to prescript more and more that sort of medicines: they do not want to give you something to take when a need arises: they want you to eat something all the time.

  2. I think it depends. Some women will go off and on without much apparent difficulty, but I read scary stories on the internet about women experiencing all sorts of medical issues when they got off the Pill, like hair loss, depression, insomnia, the lack of menstruation etc. There is a blog whose owner is far from being any form of trad (actually more of a feminist) but she wrote extensively about artificial birth control and other ladies commented and left their testimonies, too.

    As for your other point, pharmaceuticals are a big business, but any form of medication has side effects. I understand those who are really really sick taking it, but all this prophylactic stuff actually makes little sense.

  3. It's amazing that -given the overwhelming scientific evidence- the Pill retains its place as the go-to for couples looking for family planning options. And that doctors, who should know better, still prescribe it.

  4. I would say that the Pill does its job well: turns fertile young women into the worker bees, and facilitates promiscuity. As for the doctors, I think many just go with the flow, especially considering the fact that many women (and parents) demand it. A doctor just wants to do his job without any unnecessary confrontations and go home at the end of the day, that's why it's always so important to do your own research and take informed decisions.

  5. I see your point, and I wouldn't hold doctors responsible for the choices of informed patients. I do believe, however, that given the oath to "first do no harm", it is incumbent upon doctors to try and make sure their patients are well-informed.

    After all, I have several books on my bookshelves authored by doctors (GYNs and GPs) who are neither conservative ideologues or religious zealots, yet they are all adamant that artificial birth control is extremely bad for women, especially over the long term.

    That understanding is what informed comment.

    Hope you are enjoying a blessed Advent season, Sanne!

  6. Oh well, I agree with you, it's just that not every doctor is an independent thinker:) I have had my share of encounters with medical system and it's just that: a system, and the doctors will follow what they call "a protocol" so as not to be liable.

    Thank you Elspeth, I'm very very busy but apart from it, doing fine. I wish you (and all my readers) a blessed Advent season, too!