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The Birth Control Pill and Weight Gain

Birth Control and Weight Gain

Since the introduction of the birth control pill nearly 50 years ago, its side effects have been scrutizined – such as the link between weight gain and birth control.

Oral contraceptive pills are one of the most popular reversible methods of birth control. You can find dozens of brand names and different formulas available. In the United States, birth control pills and condoms are the two most popular forms of contraception. An estimated 10.7 million American women use the birth control pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

There are various contraception methods available for women:

  • The Pill and Mini Pill: The artificial hormones present in the pill stops a woman from ovulating. When she does not ovulate, she cannot get pregnant. There are combinations of hormones available in these birht control pills. Some brand names of birth control pills include Beyaz, Desogen, Loestrin, Norinyl, Ortho-Cept, Yasmin, Yaz, Ortho-Novum, Necon, Triphasil, Tri-Levlen, and others.
  • Injectable Contraception: The hormone progestogen is released very slowly   into the body to prevent ovulation (an egg being released). Depo-Provera is a well-known birth control shot.
  • Intrauterine System (IUS): Called the intrauterine device (IUD) in the United States, this type of birth control stops the sperm from meeting the egg, by delaying the egg’s reach to the womb, or by preventing the egg from implanting in the womb.
  • Vaginal Ring: The ring contains the female hormones oestrogen and progestogen, they are absorbed by the vaginal walls to prevent ovulation. NuvaRing is a common brand of vaginal contracpetive rings.
  • Diaphragms / Cap:  A flexible rubber or silicone device, lubricated with spermicidal cream, is inserted into the women’s vagina to cover her cervix and prevent sperm reaching the egg.
  • Condoms: This is a thin rubber sheath which is put on the erect penis before having sex and it prevents the sperm to enter the vagina.

The Birth Control Pill and Weight Gain

It is really difficult to establish a connection between contraceptive pills and weight gain. It’s common for women to gain a few extra pounds after starting the birth control pill, but there’s been no research to prove that there is a direct link between weight and birth control itself.

Many women do not choose birth control pills because of their beliefs about weight gain. The slight weight gain may be caused by water retention, which can occur after you first start taking the oral contracpetive.

Once your body readjusts to the hormones in the pill, your weight should comes back to its normal range. You cannot ignore lifestyle factors, like overeating and lack of exercise, which can be a major contributor to weight gain.

Earlier birth control pills had high amounts of estrogen, which made water retention worse and increased a woman’s appetite. This is probably where the myth about weight gain and birth control began.

Today oral contracpetives are manufactured with the earlier side effects in mind.

Women who start taking birth control pills in their mid twenties, and this when they start to naturally gain weight. (You start to lose your high school size as you approach your thirties and forties.) So it is possible that the weight gain and birth control pills aren’t related.

A review of 44 studies showed that their so no link between weight gain and contraceptives.

Do Women Actually Gain Weight After Being on Contraception?

Earlier studies showed that women who took high estrogen birth control pills gained up to five extra pounds.

In a recent study, women who gained weight, and women who lost weight were almost equal after beginning birth control pills. This research shows that contraceptive pills, overall, do not cause extra weight gain.

Do Birth Control Pills Cause Water Retention?

The estrogen found in birth control pills can cause you to gain weight in the form of water retention.

A high estrogen birth control pill causes more water retention. The estrogen in pills tends to stimulate kidney substances called renin-angiotensin. This leads to higher salt retention. A birth control pill with only 20 micrograms of estrogen will not increase your weight.   

New Birth Control Pills are Better than the Old

After reviewing all research studies, there is really no direct relationship between contraceptives and weight gain. But the personal experiences of women cannot be ignored or negated. The new pills in the market are safer than the previous ones.

You should always consult a doctor before taking any birth control pills.

If you end up gaining more than five percent of your total body weight while on birth control pills, contact oyur healthcare provider immediately. This can be a sign that you have an abnormal glucose metabolic rate, or you have insulin resistance.

This article is a contribution by Jefferey Morgan, Jeff and his wife have been very health conscious since the time they met, Jeff has written great articles on health and wellness, weight loss, meditation & yoga, Visit his site to know .

About the author: This blog post was written by a guest contributor. If you’d like to guest post for Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies, please read my Guest Writing Policy for a guideline of what I am looking for. All guest posts need to be at least 500 words and be original to this site only.

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