Emily Ratajkowski Discusses Side Effects From The Birth Control Pill: "What If It's Rewiring The Chemistry Of Our Brains?"

More and more women are learning about the side effects of the birth control pill and how it might change their brain chemistry and mood. Model and podcast host Emily Ratajkowski is the latest person to encourage women to fully understand the side effects of the pill before they take it.

By Gina Florio2 min read
Getty/Theo Wargo

It's estimated that 16 years old is the average age at which women are prescribed the birth control pill for the first time. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only 42% of women on the pill take it exclusively for pregnancy prevention, meaning more than half of women are taking the pill every day to deal with some other issue, whether it's acne, heavy bleeding, unbearable cramps, or endometriosis symptoms. Whatever the reason may be for taking hormonal birth control, the numbers of women on the pill are rising steadily. But supermodel Emily Ratajkowski is encouraging all women to consider the side effects that might take place when you opt in for hormonal birth control.

Emily Ratajkowski Discusses Side Effects from the Birth Control Pill

There have been studies released in the last few years explaining how the pill could even change what kind of men you're attracted to. On her podcast "High Low," Emily talks about how it might affect the "dynamics of your relationship," citing Dr. Sarah Hill, a psychologist who often speaks about how the pill can even affect women's personality traits. "Doctors are so quick to prescribe the pill," she says. "What if it's rewiring the chemistry of our brains?"

Emily admits she has been on and off the pill since she was 17 and says there aren't enough people who actually talk about the side effects of it. Not only does it change who you're attracted, but it could also change the quality of your sex life, the likelihood of getting a divorce, and how you handle jealousy with your partner.

"It could impact everything I'm doing in my life," Emily says. "There's a ripple effect happening." She cites a study about how women are more likely to choose effeminate, less masculine men as their longterm partners when they're taking the pill. Additionally, women who chose partners while off the pill were more sexually active and they were having more orgasms. Emily also pointed to a study showing that women who chose their partner while on the pill were less likely to get a divorce.

"This just really freaks me out," she says. The pill mimics the state where you're more pensive and interested in nesting, coupled with your being less attracted to the masculine, protective type of man. "That blew me away," she adds. She says it's important to have these discussions so women can make smart choices about what birth control they're taking and what kind of life decisions they're making.

On a previous podcast, Dr. Hill has even talked about how the pill can nudge women into being bisexual for the first time, or it can nudge gay women into being attracted to men for the first time.

"The way the birth control pill works is it essentially tells the brain to not stimulate the ovaries to produce any egg follicles and the way that it does this is by giving a daily dose of the same hormonal message which is a relatively high level of this synthetic progesterone and then really low levels of synthetic estrogen," she says. "And getting that same daily message... is essentially making the brain believe that it's in the luteal phase of the cycle, the phase of the cycle right after an egg has been released."

This isn't too surprising when you consider the fact that the birth control pill affects your sex hormones, which of course affects who you are attracted to. Dr. Hill also points out that the pill can increase the likelihood for depression and anxiety, particularly in young women. Emily also says on her podcast that the pill can have tremendous effects on teen girls when they start taking it for the first time in terms of mental health. 1 in every 3 high school girls contemplated suicide in 2021; a statistic that recently came out that we should all be talking about.