Birth Control and Weight Gain

While all types of hormone birth control have their own side effects, weight gain may not be as much of a risk as you may think. There are so many types and brands of birth control pills available that it may just take some patience to find the right one for you.

Weight gain is a common concern for many people who are looking to start hormonal forms of birth control and most studies oppose the theory that hormonal birth control causes weight gain, still, some do report gaining a few pounds in the weeks and months after they start taking the pills. This is often temporary and it is as a result of water retention and not actual weight gain.

Most birth control pills lack estrogen levels that are high enough to cause weight gain in a person. The first birth control pill that was developed in the 1950s, contained about 150 micrograms (mcg) of the estrogen mestranol. Pills today only contain 20 to 50 mcg of estrogen, according to a 2012 study.

If you are noticing weight gain and can’t pinpoint a reason, it could be due to one of the following common causes:

1.      Changes in diet; are you eating out more than usual? Gradual increase in your calorie intake can lead to weight gain. Monitor your daily calorie consumption and doing so can help you maintain your current weight or lose some weight if that’s your goal.

2.      Changes in Metabolism; Depending on your age, your metabolism could be contributing to changes in your weight and energy levels. As you age, your metabolism can take a nosedive and without your body’s natural calorie-burning ability, you may notice weight gain.

3.      Changes at the gym

4.      Changes in routine

Hormonal contraceptives have a number of uses in addition to protection from unwanted pregnancy. They are also used to treat or reduce symptoms of PCOS, endometriosis, heavy/irregular painful periods and anemia. Fear of gaining weight may hinder one from starting a birth control medication or could lead to them using it inconsistently or incorrectly, or could cause them to stop using it. This could leave one without effective protection from unwanted pregnancy or without treatment for a particular condition. 

Talking to your healthcare provider about this  can help you consider the possible risks and benefits of taking hormonal birth control pills.

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