Research Raises Questions about Birth Control Pills and PCOS (Part 1)

woman and birth control pillTo control the symptoms of their condition many women with PCOS take birth control pills. But research has raised concerns regarding the long-term safety of seeking relief from PCOS in this way.

Newer “third generation anti-androgen” birth control pills contain a synthetic constituent called drospirenone, which mimics the essential female hormone called progesterone. These pills are often prescribed to women with PCOS because their condition can play havoc with hormone levels, lowering progesterone and producing excess levels of androgens – male hormones which include testosterone.

Yasmine is one of these newer birth control pills and it was included in a study by the University of Wisconsin, where researchers tested mental agility among a group of women who were taking various oral contraceptives or none at all.

Women using the older types of a birth control pill with an androgenic effect performed the mental test better than anyone else, including women who were not using birth control pills.

However, Yasmin users not only performed more poorly on the mental task compared to older generation pill users but they performed significantly worse than women using no birth control at all.

The researchers concluded that “visuospatial performance is hindered with the introduction of anti-androgenic preparations.”

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