Study Finds That Birth Control Pills Can Affect Memory

More than 100 million women use birth control pills. While many health effects of the pill have been studied, not much research has been done on the cognitive effects of the pill. But a new study is shedding light on how birth control pills — and therefore hormones — affect memory. According to the study published in the September issue of the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, contraceptives like birth control pills change how women experience memories.

While being on or off the pill wasn't linked to having a better or worse recall of events, women on the pill were better able to remember the gist of an emotional event, while women not using birth control contraceptives better retained the specific details of an event, according to ScienceDaily.

The researchers say that the results help to explain why men and women process memories differently. Because birth control pills suppress hormones to prevent pregnancy, scientists say that the research suggests that estrogen has an influence on how women remember emotional events. Men, who naturally have lower estrogen levels, typically rely more on right-hemisphere brain activity when it comes to memory and retain the gist of things better than specifics. So women on the pill, who have lower levels of estrogen, may remember emotional events similarly to men, according to the article.
 
Researchers believe that this new insight may help them better understand why women experience post traumatic stress syndrome more frequently than men, and how men remember differently than women.
 
Pretty fascinating stuff! Are you on the pill? Do you think your memory has been affected by it at all? Share in the comments!

Study Finds That Birth Control Pills Can Affect Memory-2

 

Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.

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