This Is Your Brain On Birth Control Summary


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What Were Talking About In This Episode

Pharmacology – Reproductive, Labor & delivery drugs for nursing RN PN NCLEX
  • Exposing sciences dirty little secret and empowering women to give informed consent
  • Things to consider when weighing your options with hormonal birth control
  • How the birth control pill alters your brain, hormones, and mood
  • Dismissing misconceptions around birth control and its impacts on your body
  • Why the birth control pill is often mistakenly prescribed in an effort to promote hormone balance

The Impact Of Sampling Bias And Self

Self-selection is a major internal validity threat in all of the non-randomized studies and is highly problematic in the present context. Choosing or not choosing to use HC may be influenced by various psychological factors that are associated with differences in brain structure and function. Mental and behavioral functions are, to a large extent, determined by brain function which ultimately is determined by brain structure. Thus, in the absence of randomization, self-selection by choosing or not choosing to use contraceptive drugs could be caused by psychological factors that are at least partly determined by brain function or structure. This could lead to serious confounding that could threaten internal validity.

Another important source of possible bias is discontinued use of HC due to negative side effects. Different women may experience different side effects, and if such effects are not independent from brain function or structure, this will bias the finding. Thus, women who have chosen not to continue using HC will not be included in studies on effects of such drugs, unless the design of the study is a randomized design, and not based on self-selection.

Research In Rats Hints At Increased Stress Signaling Changes

Ohio State University
One aspect of hormonal contraceptives’ effect on the teenage body remains a mystery — whether and how they modify the developing brain. New research in young rats links synthetic hormones found in birth control pills, patches and injections with disordered signal transmission between cells in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that continues to develop throughout adolescence.

Reproductive health experts consider hormonal contraceptives good choices for adolescents because they’re safe and highly effective at preventing pregnancy, but one aspect of their effect on the teenage body remains a mystery — whether and how they modify the developing brain.

New research in young rats links the synthetic hormones found in birth control pills, patches and injections with disordered signal transmission between cells in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that continues to develop throughout adolescence. Compared to control rats, the animals receiving hormonal contraceptives also produced higher levels of the stress hormone corticosterone, which is similar to cortisol in humans.

“Birth control has had a major positive impact for women’s health and autonomy — so it’s not that we’re suggesting adolescents should not take hormonal contraceptives,” said senior study author Benedetta Leuner, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

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Lack Of Pure Adolescent Samples

In addition to hypothesizing about the ability of HC to affect structural and functional aspects of the brain, we expected effects to be larger in adolescent subjects than in adult subjects. However, as we identified only one neuroimaging study ever to be performed on a purely adolescent sample, this hypothesis remains unresolved and the effects of such drugs on developing brains remain undetermined. The studies included many older subjects, making it impossible to disentangle potential differences between effects on the adolescent brain and effects on the adult brain. None of the studies investigated structural changes related to the use of HC in drug-naïve teenagers, but rather included convenience samples with mostly adult subjects. Only one functional study included a strictly adolescent sample, but there was no direct comparison with older subjects, nor any statistical test of age-covariates.

Given the evidence from the animal literature, as well as clinical registry studies such as that by Skovlund et al. , which strongly indicate an increased vulnerability of the brain during adolescence, combined with the fact that girls are using these substances from an early adolescent age, we argue that there is a strong need for future studies to be carried out on adolescent use of HC.

Help For Pms And Pmdd

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Dr. Saunders said she’s also seen birth control actually help some patients with mood disorders such as premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder . Many of us have likely blamed a crabby mood or two on PMS, but PMDD is more severe. It’s a condition that causes extreme irritability, depression, or anxiety in the weeks leading up to menstruation.

Birth control is one of the common treatment options for PMDD, said Dr. Saunders. “The fluctuations of natural hormone levels may be contributing to these mood disorders,” she said. “And we’ve seen women with pre-existing PMS and PMDD do better on continuous-use hormonal contraceptives.” For some, it seems that a steady level of “fake hormones” is better than up-and-down levels of real ones.

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Transcript For Sarah Hill

Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger. As always, I’m here with producer Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world’s most brilliant and interesting people, and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.

We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave and help you become a better thinker as well. If you’re new to the show, we’ve got episodes with spies and CEOs, athletes and authors, thinkers and performers as well as toolbox episodes for things like negotiation, public speaking, body language, persuasion, and more. So, if you’re smart and you’d like to learn and improve, then he’ll be right at home here with us.

And if you want to know how I managed to find all these amazing people, I find them through my network. Check out our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at It’s great for business, it’s great for personal, and it’s great for not being that guy who has to call in two years and go, “Hey, I know we haven’t talked, but I need a job.” Trust me this will change the game for you, and it takes a few minutes a day, By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course and the newsletter. So, come join us and you’ll be in great company. In the meantime, here’s Dr. Sarah Hill.

Jason DeFillippo: Right.

The Surprising Science Of Women Hormones And The Law Of Unintended Consequences

An eye-opening book that reveals crucial information every woman taking hormonal birth control should know one without pausebefore they even meet the future fathers of their childrenalready dailyMuch. theirsat all The New York TimesThe Washington PostScientific AmericanThe Economist

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This Is Your Brain On Birth Control By Sarah E Hill Phd Whats Your Take On It

Im currently reading this book but I have some doubts about some of the studies and how its written. The author is a psychologist, and although I am not going to discredit her work and research, her take on the book is very cis-het and only takes into consideration women who only take birth control so they dont get pregnant. So really this book doesnt pertain to me as Im queer and take birth control for health reasons. But this book might be helpful for someone else. But because Im not any kind of doctor or have any background in science anything, Ive been trying to find a review on this book by someone in biology or gynecology or anyone in the field of medicine. Ive looked at Goodreads, multiple book and science subreddits, YouTube, podcasts I cant find anyone. So please if youve read this book and you happen to be a doctor or scientists who works with medicine and/or biology, please let me know your views! Most of the reviews Ive found are women whove been on birth control and then stopped because of this book. Thank you in advance!

Your Brain On Birth Control

From Birth to Two: the Neuroscience of Infant Development

Early adulthood exposure to oral contraceptives was linked to significant structural changes in brain areas associated with memory and emotional processing.

Summary: Oral contraceptive use is associated with blunted stress response and brain activity differences during working memory tasks in women who started using birth control during puberty. Early adulthood exposure to oral contraceptives was linked to significant structural changes in brain areas associated with memory and emotional processing.

University of Ottawa

They are used by 150 million women worldwide and have been around for over 60 years. Oral contraceptives like birth control pills are part of many womens lives, often starting during puberty and early adolescence. Do they have any impact on brain health? A uOttawa team of researchers has been investigating the question. We sat down with senior author Nafissa Ismail, Associate Professor at the uOttawa School of Psychology and University Research Chair in Stress and Mental Health, to learn more.

Why did you decide to look into the effects of oral contraceptives on stress reactivity and brain activity?

Millions of women have been taking oral contraceptives, but little is known about whether the synthetic hormones found in the oral contraceptives have behavioural and neurophysiological effects, especially during puberty and early adolescence, which are critical periods of brain development.

What did you find?

Why is it important?


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Podcast This Is Your Brain On Birth Control With Dr Sarah Hill

This is an interview all women need to hear! Dr. Sarah Hill is a research psychologist who studies women, psychology, and health. Recently, she has turned her expertise to uncovering what we know and dont know about the impact of the birth control pill on the brain. Hence, her new book: This is Your Brain on Birth Control. Get ready to listen to an eye opening interview on womens health and the shocking lack of research involved in this field.

Review: This Is Your Brain On Birth Control

The subtitle of this book, The surprising science of women, hormones, and the law of unintended consequences, is a perfect description of what you will find inside.

For years, I have been aware of the harmful effectsphysical, psychological, and moralof the birth control pill, so I was excited to read this book because the evidence presented is based solely on science and clinical findings rather than on Church teaching. The reader should not go into this expecting to hear about religion, as the author advocates for the ability of women to choose whether they want to use the pill. However, the importance of this book cannot be underestimated. Dr. Hill is a psychologist who has conducted years of research on hormonal birth control. What she found is astounding and has far-reaching consequences for both women and men. Her purpose in writing this book is to give women the tools they need to determine for themselves if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Always fascinated by science, I dove into this book ready to learn. And learn I did! Dr. Hill does a fantastic job of presenting the science in a readable way so that even laypeople can understand. She explains the way womens hormones work, how natural hormones affect different parts of the body, and how synthetic hormones often wreak havoc on womens bodies.

This Is Your Brain on Birth Control by Sarah E. Hill, PhD Penguin Random House LLC 2019 320 pages $27.00

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Benefits Of Birth Control

Hormonal birth control has, without a doubt, changed lives simply by making it possible to choose when to start a family.

“Overall, oral contraceptives have a number of benefits,” said Ob-GYN Kecia Gaither, MD, who’s also board-certified in maternal-fetal medicine. Those benefits include pregnancy prevention, of course, but also clearing acne, treating severe cramping and heavy bleeding, decreasing symptoms of endometriosis, preventing ovarian cysts, treating symptoms of PCOS, and .

As the authors of the Current Psychiatry Report paper state, though it’s important to take reports on depressed mood as a potential side effect of oral contraceptives seriously, the reality is that discontinuation of the birth control pill can pose subsequent challenges in family planning. Therefore it’s important to weigh the mood-related side effects of oral contraceptives against their profound benefits for safe family planning.

So the first step isn’t to drop your birth control. The benefits still seem to outweigh the costs for many. Instead, we need more research about what birth control is really doing to our brains. As Dr. Gersh pointed out, “If we aren’t aware of what we’re doing, we’ll never get quality alternatives.”

The Brain On Birth Control

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They are used by 150 million women worldwide and have been around for over 60 years. Oral contraceptives like birth control pills are part of many womens lives, often starting during puberty and early adolescence. Do they have any impact on brain health? A uOttawa team of researchers has been investigating the question. Nafissa Ismail, Associate Professor at the uOttawa School of Psychology and University Research Chair in Stress and Mental Health, tells us more.

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The Pill’s Hormones And The Brain

Ob-GYN Felice Gersh, MD, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness, said she felt confident that birth control affects the brain. “To think won’t affect the brain would actually be ludicrous,” said Dr. Gersh. That’s because birth control was designed as an endocrine disruptor.

In fact, according to Medline Plus, birth control pills contain man-made forms of 2 hormones: estrogen and progestin. These hormones are made naturally in a woman’s ovaries.

These synthetic hormones, said Dr. Gersh, have some similarities with real hormones but can have different effects. And by essentially “replacing” your body’s real progesterone and estrogen with the synthetic versions, the pill may tinker with your brain, said Dr. Gersh. “We do know that hormones are hugely important to brain health and brain function,” she said.

Dr Sarah E Hill: We Have A Blind Spot About How The Pill Influences Womens Brains

The social psychologists new book tackles the tricky subject of how oral contraceptives may affect womens minds

At a time when womens reproductive freedoms are under attack, any suggestion that the birth control pill could be problematic feels explosive. But Sarah E Hill, a professor of social psychology at the Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas argues we need to talk about how oral contraceptives are affecting womens thinking, emotions and behaviour. How the Pill Changes Everything: Your Brain on Birth Control is her new book about the science behind a delicate subject.

Some US states have recently made it harder to get an abortion and the Trump administration is doing its best to chisel away at access to birth control. Is your book trying to dissuade women from using the pill?My institution was founded as a Christian school, but it doesnt have a particular religious bent now. My goal with this book is not to take the pill away or alarm women. It is to give them information they havent had up until now so they can make informed decisions. The pill, along with safe, legalised abortions, are the two biggest keys to womens rights. But we also have a blind spot when it comes to thinking about how changing womens sex hormones which is what the pill does influences their brains. For a long time, women have been experiencing psychological side-effects on the pill but nobody was telling them why.

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Ological Limitations In The Included Studies

We applied the validity typology of Donald Campbell and Thomas D. Cook which encompasses 4 types of validity threats with regard to our ability to make causal inferences: Internal validity, external validity, statistical conclusion validity and construct validity. While all types are important, low internal validity is paramount as is concerns whether an intervention was the likely cause of an effect. Thus, internal validity mainly encompasses confounders. See Supplementary Table 1 for a summary of the quality evaluation.

With the exception of Gingnell et al. , none of the studies randomized participants to receive either HC or placebo, and most of the studies were observational with no inclusion of HC-naïve women. Hence, only the Gingnell studies reached high internal validity. The combined structural and functional MRI study by Lisofsky et al. achieved intermediate internal validity as they employed a pre-post quasi-experiment with control group, because even though the subjects self-selected to use HC, risk of bias was lowered due to the longitudinal design, enabling comparisons of within and between group effects. Yet, this design cannot control for effects of previous use. While this is true also for Gingnell, they explicitly aimed to generalize to a population of previous users. Thus, as stated previously, the Gingnell study cannot be generalized to the population of all women.

This Is Your Brain On Birth Control

OT Rex – OT Cerebral Palsy Overview


This groundbreaking book sheds light on how hormonal birth control affects womenand the world around themin ways we are just now beginning to understand. By allowing women to control their fertility, the birth control pill has revolutionized womens lives. Women are going to college, graduating, and entering the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, and theres good reason to believe that the birth control pill has a lot to do with this. But theres a lot more to the pill than meets the eye.

This paradigm-shattering book provides an even-handed, science-based understanding of who women are, both on and off the pill. It will change the way that women think about their hormones and how they view themselves. It also serves as a rallying cry for women to demand more information from science about how their bodies and brains work and to advocate for better research. This book will help women make more informed decisions about their health, whether theyre on the pill or off of it.

I love this book! You will look at taking hormones in an entirely new way after reading This is Your Brain on Birth Control. A must read for men and women.

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