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Video: Birth Control Pills Affect The "love Hormone" - Research
Birth control pills affect the "love hormone" - research
Oxytocin levels were found to be constantly increased in women who were protected with hormonal contraceptives.
Photo: CC0 Public Domain
The birth control pill is recognized as a reliable and safe way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But there are several side effects associated with their use, which include mood changes.
A new study by researchers at Aarhus University and published in Scientific Reports provides a likely physiological explanation for the effects of hormonal contraception on mood. Its authors found that under the influence of birth control pills in women, the level of the hormone oxytocin, which is often called the "love hormone", increases in the blood.
"Oxytocin is a hormone normally produced by the body during social interactions and emotional bonding, and it enhances social behavior," explained Professor Michael Winterdahl, study co-author.
In a new study, researchers measured 185 young women in blood levels of various hormones that can affect mood. This scientific work has shown for the first time a link between birth control pill use and increased oxytocin levels.
Winterdahl reported that persistently elevated oxytocin levels may indicate that the hormone is not being produced at the same rate as normal. It is this mechanism that may explain the effect of birth control pills on mood. It is the dynamics of oxytocin production that is important for feelings of closeness, attachment to a partner and love.
The authors suggest that the new data will help to understand over time why some women are more susceptible to changes in mood under the influence of hormonal contraception than others. Also, the discovery may lead to a revision of the safety profile of different contraceptive pills.