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The Pill 'Numbs' Women's Emotions And Can Harm Relationships, So Says Study

The Pill is the most popular form of contraceptive in Australia and a new study has found that it can inhibit a woman's ability to read emotions -- and affect their relationships.

Researchers from the University of Greifswald, Germany, have discovered that the oral contraceptive pill -- commonly known as the Pill -- can numb users' ability to recognise emotions in others.

The study involved 95 women -- 42 were on the Pill and 53 weren't -- who were shown black and white pictures of peoples' faces and asked to identify their expressions.

Turns out the ladies on the Pill found it harder to recognise emotions -- particularly negative ones -- than their non-Pill-taking counterparts.

"Women with oral contraceptive use may be specifically impaired during the processing of negative expressions that are difficult to recognise," the study said.

Image: Getty.

READ MORE: A Tiny Contraceptive Patch Could Mean The End Of The Pill For Good

While women on the Pill were able to tell if someone was happy or scared, they were 10 percent less likely to pick up on expressions of pride or contempt.

In this way, the Pill can harm relationships as an inability to distinguish different emotions is, according to the study, "essential for the initiation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships, in particular, intimate ones."

The researchers concluded that the difficulty in distinguishing emotions in Pill users was caused by various female hormones, including estrogen and progesterone.

They even went as far as to recommend that impairment of emotion recognition should be included in the list of side effects of Pill use.

READ MORE: This Study Claims The Pill Changes Who Women Are Attracted To

We spoke with Dr Deborah Bateson from Family Planning Australia who said it's important that the findings aren't overblown and women shouldn't feel worried.

"New research is always good but this is an extremely limited study with a small number of women and a narrow outcome," she told 10 daily.

Image: Getty.

"We therefore cannot conclude that the Pill is clouding women's judgement and harming relationships," she said.

In other words, there's no need for alarm and the findings shouldn't be used as a deciding factor for whether or not you should start taking the Pill -- or stop taking it if you already are.

Dr Bateson explained that the Pill can come with unwanted side effects such as headaches, bloating, acne, mood changes, breast tenderness, breakthrough bleeding, nausea and a very small risk of blood clots.

"Women should see their doctor as there are lots of different options to try," Dr Bateson said.

The Pill can also have a positive effect such as clearing up acne, controlling blood loss for women with heavy periods -- it has even been found to reduce the risk of some cancers including uterine, ovarian and bowel.

Feature image: Getty.