Dr Sarah E Hill: ‘We have a blind spot on how the pill affects women's brain 'Society'


AWhen women's reproductive freedoms are under attack, any suggestion of having problems with the birth control pill is felt. But Sarah E Hill, professor of social psychology at the University of Texas Christian in Fort Worth, Texas, claims that we need to talk about how oral contraceptives interfere with women's thinking, feelings and behavior. How the Pill Changes Everything: Your Brain on Birth Control Her new book about science is behind a sensitive subject.

Some US states find it more difficult to obtain abortion recently and the Trump administration is doing its best. shouted out at birth control. Is your book asking women to use the pill?
My institution was established as a Christian school, but it does not now have a particular religious loop. My goal with this book is to take away the pill or put women on an alarm. It is to inform them that they have not had so far so that they can make informed decisions. The pill, together with safe abortion, is legal, the two key keys to women's rights. But we also have a blind spot to think about how women's sexual hormones change – what the pill does – affects their brain. Women have long had “psychological” side effects on the pill but no-one was telling them why.

The atmosphere we see against the pill, especially with the women of a thousand years away from him, I feel that women don't feel right about it and that they grew on bad doctors preventing them from them and telling them that they wrong. The more information women have, the more he will bring them back to the pill.

What direct effect does the pill have on the female brain?
The pill works mainly through the second half of women's monthly ovulatory cycle to redecorate, where the progesterone hormone is dominant. The main ingredient is artificial progesterone – so called progestin – which rejects the brain sign that stimulates egg development. However, this also means that ovaries do not produce estrogen, the largest hormone in the first half of the woman's natural cycle. And estrogen makes some of the best things for us for our brain and our bodies, which means we feel more sexier and more energetic. Although some synthetic estrogen is included in most of the pills – mainly to offset unpleasant progestin side effects – women may feel the lack.

A mechanism that is not well understood is that the proinsins, often created by a testosterone molecular structure are not altered, are exact match for our progesterone receptors. This means that they can stimulate other receptors, including those for testosterone, leading to serious effects, and for cortisol, which can describe a stress response over time. The profile of stress hormones involving women taking pill, research suggests, such as chronic people profile. Other research found effects on the immune system, learning and memory.

We know a lot about the serious health risks associated with the pill – things like stroke and blood clots. Why were we kept in the dark about the effects of the brain?
Until recently, little research has been carried out. In the absence of doctors, they often do not know because it is not published in the medical journals they look at, but in psychological and neuroscience journals. Then there is taboos by the society about to talk about. The best defense against the sexual notion was that women's hormones were less than reasonable men denying hormonal involvement in the brain. And the pill is so useful, no one is motivated to critically examine it. But our hormones, especially our sex hormones, are an integral part of the things that create the feeling itself. And speaking critically about the pad does not mean that the benefits will not exceed the cost. It is not alien to women's rights to talk about this stuff.

How might the pill affect women's choice?
Estrogen is known to encourage women's choices when it comes to their romantic partners being in favor of masculine and higher testosterone qualities: squares cut squares, broad shoulders and browsing ridges, for example. But research suggests that women who take pills – where they have artificial progesterone dominance and that they do not have the cyclical estrogen urge – prefer the men of the less masculine. The implication is that if a woman chooses her party when she is on the pill and then goes out of it – the relationship may be dissatisfied because she is no longer attracted to the person. Possibility that women should at least remember.

What about the pine changes reported by women on the pill?
There is a greater risk of being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, although there are some women who report that the pill is stabilizing their feelings. The association was particularly high in young women aged 15-19 years old and its suicide risk is more than double that of people who do not accept pads. An unregulated stress response is likely to be part of the picture, but there appears to be another driver at low levels of neopratocene neurosteroid – a progesterone breakdown product that acts as a natural sediment. Among the women who take the pill, the research suggests that levels are much lower than for women naturally. Women who start the diary pill should keep mood or say to a friend to keep an eye on them, especially if they have personal or family-related mood symptoms. For young women, even the pill may not be as a trade-off if it is being used for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy – for example to clarify or control periods of acne.

How big are the effects you are talking to?
They are relatively small. However, at an individual level, some women will experience major changes and others will have nothing else. Every woman should know about the research that is in place so that they can monitor and trouble themselves.

There are over 100 different pill formulas as well as other hormonal birth control options. Should we treat them the same?
The signage will be different. Progestins are divided into four different generations and each has a slightly different molecular structure. Each pill can have a different ratio of progestin with artificial estrogen. At present, women's research seldom share the type of progestin they are, let alone the ratios. We need to push science to get started.

Should women seek alternatives to the pill?
I'm not making suggestions for any single woman. Everyone knows what their own life goals are and how their body feels. But I urge women to be strategic in the use of the pill. Understand the psychological trade-offs and then decide whether you want to use it or not. For many women, the answer will remain, but now they choose to know that information. With all the different formulas in the future, I am confident that women who want to use the pill can find one that works for them. For women looking for something that does not contain hormones, the copper IUD is one of the most unfavorable.

Do you worry that these issues would succeed in controlling the women as less effective methods of birth control as they could leave with an unwanted pregnancy?
The last thing I want to happen is. I hope we can use this moment to educate ourselves, but we still recognize how important it is to protect ourselves from unwanted pregnancy. Not being pregnant when you don't want to be pregnant – the benefits of this are more than almost any brain that changes the pill.

You say the resolution of the decision is not yet resolved. So what would it solve? Better pills, men's pill, or something completely new?
Ideally we want contraception that is safe and really effective and there is no monkey with anyone's brain. This may mean that there is more investment in the IUD copper. Or maybe that's something not yet to do. But we need the imagination of the best researchers on this issue. The pill also works and is so easy, we are complacent. And in the meantime, we need more research and better research to understand what we have.

How the Pill Changes Everything: Your Brain on Birth Control published by Orion (£ 19.99). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com or call 020-3176 3837. Free in the UK over £ 15, orders online only. Telephone orders £ 1.99

. ) Neurology (t) Medical research


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