The Effects of Synthetic Estrogen

Sierra French, Reporter

Hormonal birth control has become a staple for women of reproductive age and has revolutionized the workforce, doubling the number of women pursuing undergraduate education, according to a study conducted by Goldin & Katz. However, hormonal birth control has been linked to several abnormalities on women, as well as affecting the ecosystem as a whole. Despite the overwhelming benefits of the birth control pill, including reduced cramps and lighter periods, the negative effects have been observed and documented by many researchers in recent decades. 


Women’s Preference in Sexual Partners 

The presence of the synthetic estrogen found in hormonal birth control has been linked to women’s preference in sexual partners. Women’s preference in men is determined in part by the level of estrogen that they produce. Hormonal birth control affects these levels and alters the number of testosterone markers they prefer in men. An experiment conducted by Little et al found that women on the birth control pill selectmen with fewer testosterone markers, specifically facial features associated with low testosterone. Especially, the presence of synthetic estrogen keeps estrogen levels low. When women have high levels of estrogen, they are found to prefer men with more testosterone markers in their faces.

Women’s Cortisol Production

Considering estrogen is a sex hormone, it is no surprise that synthetic estrogen effects sexual preferences in women. However, synthetic estrogen is found to affect a woman’s endocrine system as a whole; specifically cortisol production. Women who are taking synthetic estrogen has been linked to a blunted or even absent cortisol response in women. This phenomenon has been observed since 1995, however much of the research is being brought to the attention of the media as well as other researchers. A study conducted by the University of California Department of Neurobiology and Behavior observed this phenomenon and found that women on oral contraceptives have a blunted cortisol response in comparison to women who were cycling normally. This can affect mood, memory, and a plethora of other psychological effects. 


Effects on Fish  

The birth control pill is also getting into our ocean and causing abnormalities to be observed in marine life. When fish take in the synthetic estrogen from the birth control pill, it causes a mutation in their gene sequence which results in abnormal behavior. Not only that, many are left sterilized, according to Science Daily.