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Mood changes and other side effects of birth control pills

Some side effects that can pose a threat to your life. ©Shutterstock

Regular use of birth control pills can cause many side-effects, some mild and other critical. Read on to know the risks associated with oral contraceptives.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : May 23, 2020 12:37 PM IST

Birth control pills are an effective way of preventing unwanted pregnancy, but are they safe? Almost all medicines have side effects, including birth control pills, also called oral contraceptive pills.

Taking contraceptive pills is linked to a number of side effects. A new study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, has identified mood alterations as one of the side effect of birth control pills in women.

It found that women who take birth control pills have a much higher level of the hormone oxytocin in their blood compared to non-users. Oxytocin is a hormone found naturally in the body. It is sometimes known as the "cuddle hormone" or the "love hormone," because out brain secrets it during social cues and bonding.

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The elevated level of oxytocin could be the reason why feelings such as closeness, attachment and love appear to be altered in some women who use birth control pills, the researcher noted. The findings of the study are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

According to the researchers, even very small changes in brain oxytocin levels will affect the way we process emotions and how we interact with other.

Other known side effects of birth control pills

Regular use of birth control pills or oral contraceptives can cause many side-effects, some mild and other critical. Mild side-effects include mood changes, nausea, headache, heavy bleeding, swelling of the hands and feet, and skin rash. But there are some side effects that can pose a threat to your life. Here are a few critical risks associated with birth control pills.

Impairs Social Judgement

According to a study in Frontiers in Neuroscience, women who take birth control pills are nearly 10 per cent worse at recognizing subtle expressions of complex emotions like pride or contempt.

Affects Cognitive Ability

A study by University of California found that women who use contraceptive pills experience memory changes. They saw improved ability to remember the gist of an emotional event in women taking birth control pills. However, women not using the contraceptives were able to retain details in a better way. Luckily, the researchers say it does not cause damage to their memory.

Increases Epileptic Seizures

Texas A&M University researchers warn that birth control pills can increase the frequency of seizures in women with epilepsy. In a study conducted on animals, the researchers saw that seizures were also uncontrolled. The findings were published in the journal Epilepsy Research.

Increases Risk of Ischemic Stroke

Taking birth control pills may also increase your risk of ischemic stroke. The risk is higher in women with other stroke risk factors, according to Loyola University Health System researchers. They warn that women should avoid using oral contraceptive pills, as much as possible. The study appeared in MedLink Neurology.

Warning: Birth control pills should not be used by women who are pregnant and those who have a history of: breast cancer, endometrial cancer, unexplained vaginal bleeding, liver tumours or liver disease, increased clotting or stroke risk.

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