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Is the Pill to Blame?

The pill's side effects have had a bad wrap for quite a while now — weight gain, mood swings, blood clots, etc. — but now researchers are adding poor judgment when it comes to finding a mate to that list. We all know about pheromones, but MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genes are another big player when it comes to compatibility. Apparently the best mates are those with a different MHC smell than you, but new research found that women on the pill are actually attracted to men with matching MHC.
According to Live Science,

MHC genes churn out substances that tell the body whether a cell is a native or an invader. When individuals with different MHC genes mate, their offspring's immune systems can recognize a broader range of foreign cells, making them more fit.

To make things even more complicated, matching MHC can cause fertility problems and the potential for the relationship to dissolve if the woman goes off the pill since her order detection will change.

As someone that's been on the pill before, and had a string of incompatible mates, I can't say if it was pure coincidence or if the pill was actually to blame. What do you all think? Does this research have any merit when it comes to your personal life or do you think it's all happen circumstance?


Join The Conversation
frenchie77 frenchie77 8 years
Not sure I'm convinced about it - if only because I have a hard time believing chemicals really have that much to do with falling in love. Falling in lust is a different matter - I have made some pretty bad decisions based on my hormones and the alcohol didn't help, when I was a bit younger, but I don't believe it's bad enough to trigger actually starting a relationship with someone not matched to you. However the pill is simply nasty for me.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 8 years
Well, this is something to ponder. For now, I'm definitely in the safe because I met my boyfriend before getting on the pill, and I'm not interested in ever having children. Also, I don't have many side effects of being on the pill. I mean, I have occasional spotting (Only because I changed the cycle of my periods), but I still have mood swings when I'm PMSing, and I haven't gained any weight. It's just made my periods more predictable instead of a surprise gift from Mother Nature.
looseseal looseseal 8 years
Since what the pill does is make your body think it's pregnant, does this mean if you meet someone while not using the pill and get pregnant, your pregnancy hormones will cause you to be attracted different men other then the man who got you pregnant? The words "new study" always makes me skeptical.
chocolatine chocolatine 8 years
The pill was a godsend for me. I used to have ovarian cysts (though not full-blown PCOS), an erratic cycle and debilitating cramps. The pill alleviated all of that. I've been taking it for 10 years now, and have taken 3 different types as my needs have changed and more advanced formulations became available, and I've had no bad side effects whatsoever. A brielleblonde has said, find a good gyno, and he/she will find the right contraception for you.
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 8 years
hm and I was considering going on it lol.
brielleblonde brielleblonde 8 years
wow. the pill was a lifesaver for me. it made my periods last only 3-4 days, instead of TWO MONTHS (i joke not...). i think u need to go to a good gyno to put you on the right pill, because one set of meds isn't right for everyone. and with the pill and getting fat, i think it just so happens that girls get put on the pill during that time when they naturally gain weight and their metabolism slows down. yes, some of it could be water weight from the pill, but water doesn't contribute to wider hips and actually looking like a woman!
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
man! things like this make it sooo much harder for me to decide whether to go on bc or not. :(
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 8 years
I think it could be remotely possible, but I don't think that if it does happen that it happens to everybody, because it is a POTENTIAL side affect, not a guaranteed one. I started getting involved with my boyfriend before I started BC, and my level of attraction to him didn't change when I went on it. So, while it could possibly happen, I don't really think that is the case with most women. Those who think that it could be could try going off the pill for a while and using condoms instead and see what happens, but that's up to them. There is no guarantee they will find a "good" guy the first time they pick someone new to date either. So doing that is really taking a gamble on a chance. Not very good odds, especially when you're putting yourself at risk for pregnancy in the process..
georgie2 georgie2 8 years
Wow - i just wanted to post that my experience of the pill was positive, none of the horrible side effects listed here by other posters. I didn't feel different, the only thing that bugged me was that I got my period on a shorter cycle (28 cycle instead of my natural give or take 35 days...) But this news makes me glad that I am off the pill and I plan to stay off it until I smell the right man ;)
brookrene brookrene 8 years
I would believe it, but i definitely dont think it would make or break a relationship. I've been on the pill for 7 years atleast, and met my current bf on the pill. We;ve been together 4 years. Will it make you gain weight, sure it might. Everyone has different reactions to medications. I'd love to go off of it, but unfortunately i don't think they would tie my tubes seeing as I'm only 25. Until I have that option, the pill is the only way for me! :)
cjmara805 cjmara805 8 years
Well that just explains EVERYTHING. Just kidding.
juicylove juicylove 8 years
bluestar bluestar 8 years
When I was on the pill I had no side weight gain, nothing. I also didn't have a child I didn't want. I met my ex before I got on the pill and liked him the same after I got on it. We broke up because he's a complete asshole, not because of some mismatched MHC. Although it would be nice to say that I stayed with him for so long because I was on birth control, not because I liked having sex with him! LOL
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
While I love nothing more than to abide by the cold, hard truth of science, I don't think matched or mismatched MHC will make or break a relationship. Having a successful romantic partnership with another human being depends on ALOT of additional factors that AREN'T dependent on this hormone (or even any hormones at all, for that matter). I think by blatantly stating that this will cause "fertility problems" and "potential for the relationship to dissolve if the woman goes off the pill" is just exciting fear where there need not be any. You're not a doctor, and neither or your readers, but in subscribing to your articles they trust you to provide them with sound advice, and I think that's what's lacking here. What fertility problems, exactly? How severe? Are they permanent or temporary so long as your on the pill? Is the potential for the relationship to turn sour after getting off the pill just your speculation or are there actual documented cases of this occurring? I've been on the pill for over 3 years. I met my current boyfriend of 1.5 years while I was on the pill, and we're great together. Birth control is a miracle pill that's kept me from who knows how many unwanted pregnancies, various cancers, and lessened period cramps. Also, I'm surprised by the number of people that still look to blame their birth control for getting fat. Hasn't it been proven that the pill is not related to putting on pounds? Or are we all just in denial of that?
ajennilynrushhh ajennilynrushhh 8 years
I was on the pill and I hated it. I became more and more hungry, like every hour I'd look for something to eat. I was just sad and mad for no reason, I was bipolar at times. I just hated it. Good thing I stopped using it.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I've heard this before, and it seems really convenient that it keeps coming up as birth control gets more and more expensive and even unavailable. We shouldn't forget that birth control is one of the truly revolutionary and life-saving advancements of modern medicine in the last century. Anyway, I've never been on birth control BEFORE meeting a boyfriend... that comes later as we decide to become exclusive and begin a sexual relationship. It's nice to be off of it right now because I don't have to come up with the extra $40 a month.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Interesting article. I've had a short bout with the pill, and I didn't like it. I had every side effect imaginable -- physical and psychological. What struck me was the overwhelming FATIGUE, and I had odd weight gain. My mid-section section thickened up, and so did my thighs. My waist was gone, and I lost my hour-glass figure. It was bizarre weight gain. Psychologically, I was a wreck. I remember crying and yelling at my doctor over the pill . . . ! I NEVER behave that way. I'm normally reserved and poised. Needless to say, I'm no longer on the pill. Thank goodness, all the side effects went away, and I'm back to myself.
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 8 years
When I took the pill I was also depressed and bipolar at times. My sex drive dissolved completely and I just felt sad for no reason. I thought it was just me until I read about other women having the same side effects on an online forum. I'll never take the pill again for many different reasons. besides- taking a pill that tricks your body into thinking it's pregnant can't be good for you. i mean, look at all the health risks they found associated with the patch- scary thoughts. they should make a pill for men, hah.
ElizabethRae ElizabethRae 8 years
I believe it. I think screwing with something as major as the hormones that rule your body is scary. I didn't used to understand it, but now I think taking major stuff like that on an elective basis is something that should be very carefully considered.
jenwils jenwils 8 years
I'm just glad I met my man while I was not on the pill! :) The pill does have some horrifying side effects - weight gain & decreased libido for me. However, I chose inappropriate men when I was young & not on the pill - I think it's more about being young & unwise than it is about hormones.
stellarseller stellarseller 8 years
This article doesn't surprise. My personal experience with the pill was horrifying. It made me depressed and suicidal which are completely opposite from my personality. My friends began to think I was having a break down at 22. So while in that state not only did I make bad life choices, I could have easily made bad relationship choices too. Now that I'm off the pill I feel like my self again. Thank God for that.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
Bad rap, no?
Bearwoman Bearwoman 8 years
All I know is that I've been on the pill for a few months now and I'm not going to take it anymore after I finish this month. I have bleedings, bloating, mood swings and I my sex drive is at an ultimate low, not even my boyfriend (hottest man alive in my book) can turn me on these days. The pill is the devil I say! But all jokes aside, this new information doesn't surprise me at all.
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