#128: This Is Your Brain on Birth Control with Dr. Sarah Hill

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What we’re talking about in this episode!

  • Exposing science’s dirty little secret and empowering women to give informed consent
  • Things to consider when weighing your options with hormonal birth control
  • How the birth control pill alters your brain, hormones, and mood
  • Dismissing misconceptions around birth control and its impacts on your body
  • Why the birth control pill is often mistakenly prescribed in an effort to promote hormone balance

Episode Summary

Usually, when we think about the birth control pill, we think about how it impacts our reproductive hormones. But did you know that the pill also has a huge effect on your brain chemistry, behavior, and ultimately how you experience the world? Dr. Sarah Hill, a leading researcher in evolutionary psychology, enlightens us on the effects of birth control on our psychology and health. 

After experiencing post-birth control syndrome firsthand, Dr. Sarah realized that the pill had altered how her brain functioned and changed her experience as a human being. Since then Dr. Sarah has worked to understand the way the pill changes the brain. Her goal is to provide women with the full picture of what is going on in their bodies with birth control so that they can make informed decisions about their health.

On this episode we are digging into exactly how the birth control pill impacts your brain function, hormones, mood and outlook on life. We examine why it has become commonplace for practitioners to prescribe birth control as a one-size-fits-all medical band-aid, along with the potential harm that the birth control pill is having on women without their knowledge. 

Hormonal birth control can influence everything from your zest and vibrancy for life, to who you are attracted to, to your likelihood of depression or suicide. It is important for you to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to make a decision that is right for you and your health. Your brain, decisions, stress, and behavior are all impacted by the messages you are sending them, and birth control is a key message that you do not want to overlook. 

Have you experienced a shift in your personality, motivation or overall outlook on life with birth control? Share your experience with the pill in the comments below!

Quotes

“It just all of a sudden hit me like a lightning bolt. The pill changes everything because it changes what the brain does.” (12:43)

“Something like the birth control pill doesn’t seem like a big deal because we only think about hormones in terms of how they influence things like endometrial lining proliferation or something like that, without thinking about this as something that plays a key role in what my brain is doing in creating the experience of being me.” (15:45)

“We need to be given the full picture of what the pill does to our bodies from head to toe, and especially our brain if we are going to be making informed decisions about our health.” (24:42)

“I wish doctors and medical research would understand how important fertility regulation is to us because we do these things even though it’s not good for us because of the fear.” (37:02)

“If we are going to be making informed decisions about our health, we need to know what it is that our body is going to be doing, and who we are going to be. Because it changes what our brain is doing, and it changes who we are.” (43:46)

Resources Mentioned

Dr. Sarah Hill Website

This Is Your Brain on Birth Control by Dr. Sarah Hill

Follow Dr. Sarah on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Essentially You episode #60: What to Know About Perimenopause and Birth Control with Dr. Jolene Brighten

Essentially You episode #93: The Menstrual Cycle Is the 5th Vital Sign with Lisa Hendrickson-Jack

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