For some women, mood swings and menstrual cycles are very much in sync. But for women on the pill, hormones and emotions can get really messed up.
A new study published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology suggests the birth control pill affects the way women respond to emotions and, in some cases, numbs users from other's emotions – particularly during their week off of the pill.
The study, which tested the emotional responses of three groups of women — on the pill, on their week off the pill and not on the pill — and found women on the pill responded better to emotions than those on their week off.
Data showed women on the pill were able to decisively choose an emotional response to hypothetical situations more effectively than women who did not consume oral contraceptives and women who were on their pill-free week, psychology news site PsyPost reports.
"The current study highlights the need for future research to shed more light on the neuroendocrine alterations accompanying OC (oral contraceptive) intake," the study's author Sina Radke wrote in her report.
The idea that oral contraceptives affect women's brains isn't a new one. Last year researchers from UCLA found that the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cigulate cortex were thinner in women who took the pill compared to women who didn't. These regions are believed to play an important role in emotional regulation and response to rewards.