Tuesday January 21, 2020

Contraceptive Pills May Impair Women’s Ability to Recognise Emotion: Study

There is a need for further studies that replicate and extend the findings of the present study before thinking about changing current guidelines regarding the prescription of OCPs, the study noted

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Despite the widespread use of oral contraceptives (OCPs) by women, many are not aware that it may impair their ability to recognise others’ emotional expressions, which may have serious consequences in interpersonal contexts, suggests a new study.

The study showed that healthy women who use birth control pills are poorer judges of subtle facial expressions than non-users.

“More than 100 million women worldwide use oral contraceptives, but remarkably little is known about their effects on emotion, cognition and behaviour,” said senior author Alexander Lischke from the University of Greifswald in Germany.

“However, coincidental findings suggest that oral contraceptives impair the ability to recognise emotional expressions of others which could affect the way users initiate and maintain intimate relationships,” said Lischke.

To investigate the effects of OCPs on women’s emotion recognition, the researchers administered a special emotion recognition task to two similar groups of healthy women: 42 OCP users and 53 non-users.

Birth control pills could impair women’s ability to recognise emotion. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The findings, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, showed that OCP users were nearly 10 per cent less accurate on average than non-users in deciphering the most enigmatic emotional expressions.

Though the groups were equally good at recognising easy expressions, the OCP users were less likely to correctly identify difficult expressions, results showed.

The effect held for both positive and negative expressions, and regardless of the type of OCP or the menstrual cycle phase of non-users.

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“Cyclic variations of estrogen and progesterone levels are known to affect women’s emotion recognition and influence activity and connections in associated brain regions. Since oral contraceptives work by suppressing estrogen and progesterone levels, it makes sense that oral contraceptives also affect women’s emotion recognition,” said Lischke.

There is a need for further studies that replicate and extend the findings of the present study before thinking about changing current guidelines regarding the prescription of OCPs, the study noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Premature Menopause More Likely to Increase Health Problems After 60

Compared with women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51 years, women with premature menopause were twice as likely to develop multimorbidity by the age of 60, and three times as likely to develop multimorbidity from the age of 60 onwards

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Bone Health
Women who have already been through menopause may experience problems related to their bone health. Lifetime Stock

Women who experience premature menopause are almost three times more likely to develop multiple, chronic medical problems in their 60s, says a new study.

It is known already that premature menopause, occurring at the age of 40 or younger, is linked to a number of individual medical problems in later life, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

However, there is little information about whether there is also an association between the time of natural menopause and the development of multiple medical conditions known as multimorbidity.

For the findings, published in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers at the University of Queensland followed more than 5,000 women aged 45 to 50 from 1996 until 2016.

“We found that 71 per cent of women with premature menopause had developed multimorbidity by the age of 60 compared with 55 per cent of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51,” said study researcher Xiaolin Xu from Zhejiang University in China.

“In addition, 45 per cent of women with premature menopause had developed multimorbidity in their 60s compared with 40 per cent of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51,” Xu added.

The women responded to the first survey in 1996 and then answered questionnaires every three years (apart from a two-year interval between the first and second survey) until 2016.

Sexual Dysfunction increases by nearly 30 per cent during perimenopause and vaginal dryness most often has the greatest effect on desire, arousal and overall satisfaction, Here are some Causes. Wikimedia Commons

The women reported whether they had been diagnosed with or treated for any of 11 health problems in the past three years: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety or breast cancer.

Women were considered to have multimorbidity if they had two or more of these conditions.

During the 20 years of follow-up, 2.3 per cent of women experienced premature menopause and 55 per cent developed multimorbidity.

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Compared with women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51 years, women with premature menopause were twice as likely to develop multimorbidity by the age of 60, and three times as likely to develop multimorbidity from the age of 60 onwards.

“Our findings indicate that multimorbidity is common in mid-aged and early-elderly women,” said Indian-origin researcher and study senior author Gita Mishra.

“We also found that premature menopause is associated with a higher incidence of individual chronic conditions,” Xu added. (IANS)