Oxytocin levels were constantly increased in women who were protected with hormonal contraceptives.
Birth control pills are recognized as a reliable and safe way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. But their use is associated with several side effects, which include mood changes.
A new study by scientists from Aarhus University and published in Scientific Papers gives a likely physiological explanation for the effect 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 "hormone of love," rises in the blood.
“Oxytocin is a hormone normally produced by the body during social interactions and emotional rapprochement, it strengthens social behavior,” explained Professor Michael Winterdahl, co-author of the study.
In a new study, scientists measured the levels of various hormones that can affect mood in blood in 185 young women. This scientific work for the first time showed a connection between birth control pills and an increase in oxytocin levels.
Winterdahl said that a constantly elevated level of oxytocin may indicate that the hormone is not produced at the same rate as normal. Perhaps this is the mechanism that explains the effect of birth control pills on mood. It is the dynamics of the production of oxytocin that is important for a feeling of closeness, affection for a partner and love.
The authors suggest that the new data will help over time to understand why some women are more prone to mood changes due to hormonal contraception than others. Also, the discovery may lead to a revision of the safety profile of various birth control pills.