Oral contraceptive use is associated with blunted stress response and brain activity differences during working memory tasks in women who started using birth control during puberty. Early adulthood exposure to oral contraceptives was linked to significant structural changes in brain areas associated with memory and emotional processing.
A new neuroimaging study reveals women who take oral contraception have reduced hypothalamic volume compared to women who do not take the pill. Smaller hypothalamic volume was associated with increased negative emotions and depression risk.
No association was found between oral contraceptive use and depressive symptom severity in females aged 16 to 25. However, 16-year-olds who take the pill reported higher depressive symptom severity than their peers who did not use oral birth control.