This post reviews some scientific literature on hormonal contraceptives to identify exactly what changes in the brain and the emotional constitution of a woman on the Pill.
Readership: All; Parents of adolescent daughters; Women who use birth control pills; Men with partners who use birth control pills; Men interested in vetting a woman for a relationship;
A previous post on Σ Frame, How the Pill Kills (15 October 2019), covered how Oral Contraceptive (OC) medication (AKA birth control pills) causes medical complications and death in young women. But the effects of the Pill don’t stop there.
Hormones are able to work at very small doses (parts per billion ranges). Therefore, endocrine disruption can occur from low-doses of exogenous hormone exposure or from hormonally active substances that interfere with receptors for other hormonally assisted processes. As these hormones disrupt the chemical balance in the normal endocrine cycles of the body, the brain, emotional moods, and the overall constitution of the person are affected, possibly even affecting the expression of personality and certain decision-making processes.
Reports on OC-related mood changes are inconsistent. There appear to be two populations of women – those who feel that OC’s improve their mood, and those who experience increased rates of depression, anxiety, fatigue, neurotic symptoms, compulsion, and anger. Many women who experience negative effects will discontinue taking OC’s, so that only women who have positive physical and emotional changes continue to take oral contraceptives. As a result, the results of studies of women on OC’s tend to be biased towards having positive emotional side effects. Even so, the effects are not so positive, as we will see.
The Pill is a Hatchet-Job Concoction of Biochemicals
Many people believe the biochemicals in the pill are expertly synthesized by professional chemists in a laboratory, and contain absolutely no impurities introduced from the chemical processing used to create those chemicals. This naïve notion could not be further from the truth. In the early days, the hormones (e.g. estrogen, progesterone) used in manufacturing oral contraceptives were extracted from animals, specifically horse piss, and the isolation and purification of these biochemicals was anyone’s guess. Since then, chemists have been able to synthesize more potent versions of these chemicals, and to concoct similar biochemicals from other biosources. For example, efforts have been made to synthesize bioidentical hormones from soy and yams, but with limited success. 
Harvard Health: What are bioidentical hormones? (August 2006)
Oral contraceptives manufactured outside of North America and Europe could be extracting these biochemicals from almost any kind of animal. I have no evidence of this, but I would guess that in eastern Asia, the massive pork industry would be able to offer the sheer volume of estrogen contained in urine that would be required to mass produce birth control pills for millions of women on a continual basis.
How the Pill Changes the Brain and Body Chemistry
Frontal Neuroscience  reported that oral contraceptives (OC) caused changes in the brain structure, neurocognitive processing, and emotions.
“…any hormonal contraceptives, irrespective of the progestin component, may facilitate testosterone actions on the brain, thereby masculinizing brain structure, function and behavior. Alternatively, it has been argued that some masculinizing effects are promoted by estrogen receptors after testosterone has been locally converted to estrogen via the enzyme aromatase (Roselli, 2007). Consequently, estrogenic actions of ethinylestradiol may contribute to possible masculinizing effects of hormonal contraceptives on the brain.”
In short, the pill tricks the body into behaving like she’s pregnant, and causes the brain to become more masculine. From a male perspective, this sounds like a recipe for disaster.
The Pill Ruins Libido
Women on the pill commonly report a decreased libido. One of the mechanisms responsible for loss of libido in women on the pill is a rise in the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). It combines with the woman’s naturally occurring testosterone, preventing it from having its normal effects on other receptors.
A decreased libido has one noteworthy consequence of reducing a woman’s interest in sex. Without a healthy sex drive, women on the pill become disinterested in their husbands/partners (and vice versa).
Note: The source paper by Cappellettia and Wallena  is informative, interesting, and readable.
How the Pill Changes Mood, and Affect*
* In psychology and the medical field, affect (emphasis is placed on the first syllable) is a person’s general emotional response that is expressed or observed. Affect also comprises the non-verbal expressions that are used to estimate how a person feels about something. For those readers who are unfamiliar with what variations in affect appears like, this video offers a half-hour long tutorial on identifying affect and mood.
Since the relationship between hormonal contraceptives and mood/affect was first studied in the early 1980’s, it has been shown that there is definitely a link. But because cyclic changes in mood are present even when there are no changes in ovarian hormone levels, and because of the wide variability in the physiological constitution and responses among many types of women, it has been difficult to pinpoint exactly how hormones change mood/affect.
Nevertheless, it can be safely concluded that hormonal birth control use (and similar medications) tends to decrease a woman’s Positive Affect during ovulation, and decrease a woman’s Negative Affect during menstruation. One paper on this subject  stated,
“From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that naturally-cycling women score higher in PA in the days they are fertile, the periovulatory time. Specifically, women who ovulate self-report more enthusiasm, alertness, attentiveness and activity levels during those days, which could be conductive to attracting and engaging a potential mate. These changes were not observed in the [Positive Affect] scores of hormonally-contracepting women which also makes sense since they do not ovulate. The limbic system could be implicated directly or indirectly in these findings since it is responsible for both triggering ovulation and the processing of emotions and motivation.”
A 2015 study  examined the association between oral contraceptive use (any current use, duration, and type) and major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and panic disorder (PD) in a nationally representative sample of 1,105 women aged 20-39 in the USA. The data were drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys dated from 1999 to 2004.
“Women using oral contraceptives had a lower past-year prevalence of all disorders assessed, other than subthreshold MDD. When adjusted for confounders, women using oral contraceptives in the past year had significantly lower odds of subthreshold PD, compared to former users (odds ratio (OR) = 0.34, 95% CI 0.14-0.84). Effects estimates were strongest for monophasic (versus multiphasic) oral contraceptive users. Hormonal contraceptive use was associated with reduced risk of subthreshold PD.”
In simple language, the Pill had a calming effect on women, even to the point of making some women depressed. Women experienced less anxiety, and were less panicky when taking the pill. However, women also displayed less enthusiasm, alertness, attentiveness, and other signs of vitality. In other words, the pill makes women become androgynous automatons. These findings support Pletzer and Roselli’s assessment that oral contraceptives produce a masculinizing effect on the brain.
Now, some men might think that less anxiety would be a good thing. But is it worth her losing a Positive Affect? Then what happens when she stops taking the pill? Do you think she’ll immediately regain her Positive Affect? You guessed it! Suddenly, she becomes a nerve-racked termagant who can’t handle life in her normal hormonal state!
The Pill’s Link to Depression
When you tamper with one brain system, you’re going to tamper with another. This should not be surprising, because everything in the brain and body are connected.
The BBC news  reported a scientific study which found that women on the contraceptive pill were more likely to be diagnosed with depression. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen studied the health records of more than a million Danish women aged between 15 and 34, in one of the largest studies to date . They found that…
- Women on the combined pill – which contains artificial versions of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone – were 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than those not on hormonal contraception.
- For women on the progestin-only pill, the figure rose to 34%.
- For girls aged between 15 and 19 on the combined pill, it increased even further, to 80% more likely.
The authors of this study concluded,
“Use of hormonal contraception, especially among adolescents, was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants and a first diagnosis of depression, suggesting depression as a potential adverse effect of hormonal contraceptive use.”
Using antidepressant medication has further implications on the brain and emotions.
In brief, antidepressants, especially SSRI’s, elevate serotonin and depress dopamine. Dopamine is associated with romantic love. As a result, it becomes very difficult for the person to have the experience of falling in love. Not only do antidepressants suppress the dopamine circuit, but they also kill the libido. And when you kill the sex drive, you kill orgasm. And when you kill orgasm, you kill that flood of drugs associated with emotional attachment.
This explains why women on birth control pills and antidepressants might have a hard time settling down with one love interest on her heart.
Finally, the Good News
The good news is that they’re making it easier for women to take androgeny pills without feeling androgenized.
Pletzer’s study  notes that the newer generation of pills (introduced during 2010-2014) contain anti-androgenic progestins, while older pills contain androgenic progestins.
Why is this an important change?
“Androgenic disorders have many negative physical effects [such as…] oily skin, acne, hirsutism, android obesity, androgenic alopecia… unfavorable lipid profiles, and increased incidence of diabetes and hypertension. [The external] manifestations of androgenicity often lead to poor compliance, decreased efficacy, and discontinuation of oral contraceptive use, especially in the younger patient. With the introduction of the newer oral contraceptive formulations containing less androgenic progestins (norgestimate, desogestrel, gestodene), androgen-related effects have been reduced and better compliance is anticipated.” 
Here, “compliance” means the patient is willing to follow “doctor’s orders” and continue using the pill. Apparently, these unwanted side effects are one of the primary reasons why women discontinue using OCs containing androgenic progestins.
“New generation progestin OCs have shown a decreased incidence of unwanted/negative external physical side effects; they also appear to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels and reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. The author concludes that the improved user compliance rate resulted from the prescription of new generation progestin OCs.” 
Judging by the last sentence (in bold), the underlying goal of the study was to (find ways to) increase “user compliance”. Reading between the lines, it becomes obvious that, “low compliance” poses a big problem to the pharmaceutical industry, which is intent on keeping as many teenage women on the pill as possible.
“I will not feel. I will not think. I must not be distracted by life. I must fornicate, but I must not breed. I must take my pills. I must obey my lord… Big Brother!”
A brief outline, summarizing the contents of this essay and the scientific research papers cited within, is as follows.
- The potent chemicals in contraceptive pills are harvested from equine biowaste materials.
- Small chemical imbalances in the body’s endocrine system lead to big changes.
- The pill masculinizes the brain structure.
- The pill puts the female’s hormonal state into “pregnant mode” thereby rendering the ovaries and uterus fallow.
- The pill causes a loss of libido resulting in a reduced appetite for sex.
- The pill creates a false sense of calm by flattening emotional affect, reducing anxiety, and muting panic attacks.
- The pill decreases a woman’s Positive Affect, especially during ovulation.
- The pill decreases a woman’s Negative Affect, especially during menstruation.
- Women on the pill are more likely to experience clinical depression. Depression introduces a further unique set of symptoms, including her inability to function normally and feel love.
- The academic, medical and pharmaceutical industries are actively seeking methods to retain their consumer base, and to keep more women on the pill.
All these changes have negative effects on a woman’s personality, social behavior, and love life.
With the sheer number of women on the pill, this medication spells out sinister consequences for society. Pletzer revealed the Black Hand when he wrote,
“The hormonal contraceptive pill is the major tool for population control. Hence, such behavioral changes could cause a shift in society dynamics and should not stay unattended.”
Ladies, stay off of the pill for your own good, and for the good of those around you!
Take responsibility for your body and sexuality without resorting to soul-bending, affect flattening drugs.
God’s way is best!
Note: This post may be updated upon future developments.
- Very Well Mind (feat. Nancy Schimelpfening): The Relationship Between Estrogens and Depression (26 November 2018)
- A. Pletzer, H. H. Kerschbaum, “50 years of hormonal contraception-time to find out, what it does to our brain,” Frontal Neuroscience, 2014 Aug 21;8:256.
- Maurand Cappellettia and Kim Wallena, “Increasing women’s sexual desire: The comparative effectiveness of estrogens and androgens”, Hormonal Behavior, 2016 Feb; 78: 178–193. (PDF)
- O. Rebollar, F. J. Menéndez Balaña, M. C. Pastor, “Comparison of affect changes during the ovulatory phase in women with and without hormonal contraceptives”, Heliyon, Apr.2017; 3(4).
- Cheslack-Postava, K. M. Keyes, S. R. Lowe, K. C. Koenen, “Oral contraceptive use and psychiatric disorders in a nationally representative sample of women”, Archives of Womens Mental Health. 2015 Feb;18(1):103-11.
- BBC News: Does the contraceptive pill cause depression? (4 October 2016)
- W. Skovlund, L. S. Mørch, Ø. Lidegaard, “Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression”, JAMA Psychiatry, 2016.
- E. Jones, “Androgenic effects of oral contraceptives: implications for patient compliance”, American Journal of Medicine, 1995 Jan 16;98(1A):116S-119S.