Taking birth control pills can alter women's mate preference, medical experts reveal

An illustration picture shows a woman holding a birth control pill.Reuters

Women suffer from several negative side effects when they take birth control pills, medical experts warned.

During a recent symposium called "Contraceptive Conundrum" held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., researchers and medical professionals from all over the United States and overseas tackled the little-known risks of taking the pill.

The health issues linked to the pill included depleted nutrient absorption and long-term alterations in brain activity and the ability to interact with the world, according to the Catholic News Agency

One new finding is that the pill brings about chemical changes in one's choice of a mate.

Dr. S. Craig Roberts, a researcher who specialises in mate preferences, revealed that the pill can alter the chemistry of attraction. Normally, "women express preferences for genetically-dissimilar, masculine-faced men. But the pill seems to alter these preferences," he said.

"Women on the pill tend to choose male partners who appear more feminine (and who are) more genetically similar to them," he revealed.

Roberts said health and mental issues affect not only the women taking the pill. Children born from the union of genetically similar parents may have greater health risks, he said.

Moreover, women who come off the pill and decide to have kids might revert to their natural attraction patterns, and therefore feel dissatisfied with their current partner, whom they met on the pill, Roberts said.

"Women who met their partner when on the pill are more likely to initiate divorce," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nicole Peterson, a researcher at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, warned that there is already enough evidence proving that the pill creates changes that may make permanent alterations to brain pathways.

"In women on the pill the amygdale, the memory-making part of brain, responds less to emotional stimuli," she explained.

"If a woman is on oral contraceptives for long enough, she has a different kind of brain... there's no guarantee that your brain remembers what the baseline is," said Dr. Melissa Farmer, a post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.