All over the world, women on their periods are accused of getting overly emotional. Most studies have attributed mood swings and emotional charges to the hormones released in the female body when menstruating. A new study, however, wants to know whether or not the birth control pill may have anything to do with it.

Scientists at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have discovered that two parts of the brain, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex, have a tendency to be thinner in women who are regularly taking oral contraceptive when compared to those who are menstruating on a regular, unaltered cycle. The lateral orbitofrontal cortex helps us to regulate our emotions and the posterior cingulate cortex helps us to evaluate ourselves internally. This could help to explain why some women have reported feelings of anxiety and depression after starting to take the pill.

There is still a lot more research to be done on the topic, but we are one step closer to more effectively and comprehensively understanding the complexity of the human brain.

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