Common side effects of birth control include: If your dose of birth control is too high or you don’t take it with food, you may experience nausea soon after taking it. We’re particularly susceptible to apophenia if we’ve been primed to expect a certain outcome – such as gaining weight after starting a new medication. In several studies, very few women gained weight as a result of using birth control pills or the patch. If hormonal birth control isn't for you, you still have options to help regulate your flow and prevent pregnancy. Study after study has examined the relationship between weight gain and today’s most popular forms of hormonal contraception, including the pill and the patch. The beauty of birth control today is that you have so many options to choose from. Top answers from doctors based on your search: Disclaimer. His research team put a group of men and women through 10 weeks of resistance training – slow, punishing exercises such as crunches and lifting heavy weights. If you have a history of migraines, adding estrogen to your system may increase the frequency of these migraines. As a rule of thumb, the lower the level of estrogen in your pill, the less likely you are to gain weight. Here are a few of the main reasons why a not-quite-accurate idea refuses to go away. Is it possible for birth control to make your breasts bigger? However, taking hormonal birth control of any kind, such as the pill, an IUD, or an implant, may prompt your body to retain more fluid before your period. There have been very few studies into the effect – understandably, most research tends to focus on breast cancer rather than size – but back in the 1990s a couple of Swedish scientists decided to take a look. Generally speaking, which progesterone and ethinyl estradiol combinations are less likely to cause cellulite, weight gain, and water retention? The researchers found this is true no matter what type of progesterone the combined pill contained (for more on the different kinds of pill, check out this article). Dr Farrell: The contraceptive pill is not used for weight loss. The womanly ‘hourglass figure’ emerges as different kinds of fat tissue respond differently to these reproductive hormones. Because these pills do not contain estrogen you are less likely to experience fluid retention and sleeplessness and therefore weight gain. Qlaira is a combined pill, meaning it contains both estradiol (estrogen steroid) and dienogest (progestin). The researchers tested their resting energy expenditure (this is a way to test for basal metabolic rate or metabolism) … Drug companies may promote their brands as non-weight gaining or even weight losing, but remember that there is no sound evidence to prove it. Of course, whatever subtle effects the pill has on your figure – for better or for worse – millions of women feel that it’s worth it. This means that the weight you might gain after starting birth control is mostly water. This is often the result of water retention, not actual fat gain. We’ll go over the mild and more serious side effects of the pill. Contents . These two things together are not conducive for weight loss or stabilization. Weight Gain on the Pill. It’s commonly believed that some forms of contraception, particularly hormonal methods, do cause weight gain. Last medically reviewed on December 11, 2018. Oestrogen can cause the body to retain more fluid, including the type used in the contraceptive pill (Credit: BBC/Getty). “If you give them to a population, you’re going to have some people who have health problems, whether they’re linked to the vaccine or not.”, Researchers haven’t found evidence that the pill causes weight gain – but they have found that it can change a woman’s body shape and body fat percentage (Credit: Getty/BBC). In this article, we examine what the relationship between estrogen and body weight is, … How different methods of contraception can affect your weight . When they worked out, women on a certain type of pill had less of the muscle-building hormone DHEA – and less muscle gain – than those not on the pill (Credit: BBC/Getty). You’ll probably still feel the same size. Most doctors would accept that some weight gain can be associated with the Pill and this is commonly quoted at three to four pounds. Whether or not birth control causes weight gain is a topic of gigantic controversy in the health literature. Does the mini pill cause weight gain? The mini pill and Diane 35 are also rumoured to cause weight loss, however, Dr Elizabeth Farrell, Medical Director and gynaecologist at Jean Hailes for Women’s Health warns the contraceptive pill should never be used for weight loss. Does birth control pills … Unlike water retention, this type of weight gain is much harder to get rid of and is more permanent. The end result is that the body retains more fluid than it usually would. Whether contraception makes you gain weight is a concern for many people. Other studies that looked at progesterone-only pills similarly have found little evidence of an effect. Medically reviewed by. How to Figure Out Which Birth Control Method Is Right for You. Join our Facebook group Future Woman and be a part of the conversation about the day-to-day issues that affect women’s lives. And it is a well known fact that the later of these hormones can cause greater appetite, … As Richardson emphasizes, though, the evidence points solely to water weight rather than an actual increase in fat or body mass. Many other women have been reluctant to starting the pills in the first place because of this. Some birth control pills can cause women to feel hungrier than usual, which can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain. About 70% of people in the United States are overweight and, in a catch-22, many of the drugs used to treat conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can cause weight gain. One literature review found that study participants gained, on average, fewer than 4.4 pounds after 6 or 12 months of using a progestin-only pill. I don’t think the studies shown quoted here are enough to conclude that the pill does not cause weight gain. A 20-year-old member asked: does the morning after pill cause weight gain? Last reviewed: 11 Jun 2019 . Though large-scale reviews haven’t found that the pill causes weight gain, it can change a woman’s body shape and composition. Contraception, the pill, and weight gain. Here's what to know. Dr Kathryn Basford. So she asked gynecologists if the Pill caused her weight gain, or if stress or another factor played a role. This review looked at … Watch the video below. When some women start the pill, they may retain a bit of extra fluid for the first few … So does the pill cause weight gain? As it turns out, the link between the pill and weight gain is more complicated than just saying that one does, or doesn’t, cause the other — and it has to do with more than just biology. Sarah asked. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nausea and Birth Control Pills: Why It Happens and How to Prevent It, Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, Choosing Between the Birth Control Pill or the Depo-Provera Shot. The implant and the shot may contribute to weight gain in some people, and pills with higher estrogen levels can lead to an increase in appetite which leads to gaining weight. Birth control pills are a hormone-based medication and must be taken daily, and they have 98% efficacy against unwanted pregnancy.However, birth control pills cause some side effects, including weight gain, dizziness, and headaches, especially in the first months of consumption, and increase fluid retention. And the same goes with libido — there is simply not enough research done on the topic. Today’s pills only contain 20 to 50 mcg of estrogen, according to a 2012 study. But for many women, one of the most off-putting charges against the contraceptive pill is that it makes us fat. How can you avoid weight gain on the pill? Studies comparing the effects of the pill and the contraceptive ring on weight changes found that both birth control methods caused a similar amount of weight gain after a year. More than 50 percent of women think that it does, and up to 20 percent change their pill or go off of the pill because of this belief (here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. If you’ve recently changed jobs and find yourself sedentary for most of your day, you may begin noticing a gradual weight gain. What Are My Options for Nonhormonal Birth Control? We public health nurses and registered nurses get asked a lot of questions like:. M Hey everyone..I am exclusively BFing... so I was thinking of discussing the option of a mini pill with my OB at my 6 week PP appointment... but I recently heard that the mini pill can cause major weight gain and horrible mood swings. Weight gain from oral estrogen causes visceral obesity, the medical term for increased fat around your middle from fat that gets deposited in vital organs like the heart, kidneys and liver. It’s easy to see how, theoretically, changing a woman’s hormone balance could alter where her fat is stored. View Contraceptive Pills Why do many people think that the pill causes weight gain? So does the pill cause weight gain? Birth-control pills are often blamed for weight gain, but it is largely unwarranted, Dr. Cheskin says. Early versions of the pill offered to women in the 1960s could well have caused women to gain weight, as they contained very high levels of oestrogen, which can … … Still, some do report gaining a few pounds in the weeks and months after they start taking the pill. Still, some people may experience increased breakouts when they begin using birth control. This comes down to hormones: men have more ‘anabolic’ hormones running through their veins, which tell the body when to grow more muscle. "The weight gain or water retention resolves within a few months." “It jumped out as a pretty big impact,” says Riechman. Some progestin-dominant pills can cause appetite increase and permanent weight gain. We public health nurses and registered nurses get asked a lot of questions like: To find out, the team tracked the monthly cycles of 65 healthy women who either were on the pill, used to take it, or had never taken it. Some say yes and some say no, while some even report weight loss or having increased libido while on the pill. How different methods of contraception can affect your weight . So, let’s … Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, The Effects of Hormonal Birth Control on Your Body. Even if your periods were like clockwork before you started birth control, … The side effect profile of birth control pills is largely determined by the number … "does the morning after pill cause weight gain?" Make an appointment to speak with your doctor if you’re concerned your weight gain may be related to your birth control. Here are a few of the main reasons why a not-quite-accurate idea refuses to go away. An unexpected increase in weight can be concerning for anyone. Dr Kathryn Basford. Can The Pill Cause Weight Gain? It’s your body’s natural, normal response to an increase in estrogen and progestins, and it’s nothing to be alarmed about. Typically, birth control can effectively reduce acne breakouts. The breast expansion could just be swelling from fluid retention, but another possibility is that the hormones in the pill are actually causing women’s breasts to grow. If headaches begin occurring more frequently, ask your doctor what can be done to eliminate them. Answered By: Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D. The mini pill contains progestin only. The estrogen in the pill can also cause weight gain due to increased breast, hip, or thigh tissue, usually after several months on the pill. Many women and healthcare providers believe that pills and patches cause weight gain. Nowadays, however, the pill uses a much smaller dose of hormones, so it is less likely to … Do you have an experience to share? Dramatic weight gain over a period of 10 months. How Levothyroxine Causes weight gain So how does this all relate to Levothyroxine and weight gain? For women who do not react well to estrogen, your doctor may recommend progestin only pills often called mini pills. And the pill may be changing women’s bodies in other ways, too. Others have reported the same from what I have read. Birth Control With Least Weight Gain. How the menstrual cycle changes women’s brains. Fear of weight gain keeps some women from starting the pill or patch. Whether contraception makes you gain weight is a concern for many people. As with any birth control pill, you are altering the hormone balance in your body and increased appetite is a potential side effect. Shortly after you begin taking birth control, you may notice other side effects in addition to water retention. There’s no conclusive evidence that using any type of birth control pill will make you gain (or lose) a significant amount of weight. For example, subcutaneous fat – the kind of chub that women carry around their thighs, hips and breasts – contains lots of oestrogen receptors. Even so, it’s not all in our heads. Or are you just interested in sharing information about women's health and wellbeing? If we were living in the 1960, when the hormonal contraceptive pills were first introduced into the market, the answer would be “yes, indeed”. “It’s the same reason why there’s this idea that vaccines can cause health problems,” says Maria Gallo. At puberty, oestrogen and progesterone are responsible for the development of typically ‘female’ characteristics, such as wider hips and larger breasts, largely by changing the way fat is distributed. Though large-scale reviews haven’t found that the pill causes weight gain, it can change a woman’s body shape and composition. At the time, he was researching how a person’s genetic makeup can affect their ability to grow their muscles through exercise. * So, the pill has many benefits – for one it can regulate your menstrual cycle and can prevent pregnancy, but it can occasionally result in negative side effects. Then participants were weighed to see if they had more muscle than they started with. But it’s exaggerated by the contraceptive because synthetic oestrogen is six to 10 times more potent than the natural kind, and because it’s taken nearly every day, which means the levels of both hormones are more constant. Maria Gallo, an endocrinologist at Ohio State University who co-authored the review, believes our belief in the pill-weight connection is down to a natural human bias. At a glance. Although later brands of the pill are less-associated with weight gain, experts admit many women still experience fluctuations in their weight. This causes swollen ankles, breast tenderness, discomfort with contact lenses, or a weight gain of up to five pounds. Changing estrogen levels may appear to be linked with weight gain, particularly around menopause. Monitor your daily calorie consumption with the help of a food tracking app. Because birth control pills cause such a rapid increase in estrogen and progestins, they can have an effect similar to pre-period bloating. So while the pill may not be leading to long-term weight gain, some women could still find that their clothes fit differently. The phenomenon, known as apophenia, is the reason we may find it easy to compare peppers to politicians, see the faces of Harry Potter villains staring down at us from the clouds, or read too much into past lottery numbers. There isn’t any birth control pill that could guarantee you different because they all have the same hormones in them- … We can look at some studies to help us understand: Take for instance this study. In most cases, studies have shown that there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in weight gain between women who do use some method of hormonal birth control versus women who don’t. Keep these tips in mind if you’ve noticed a change in your weight since you started birth control: It’s possible you’ll experience a slight increase in weight immediately after beginning birth control. Here's what you need to know. Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Weight Gain? A review of 44 studies showed no evidence that birth control pills caused weight gain in most women. Decades ago, hormonal contraception used hormones at levels much higher than we use today. Nausea…. Most, if not all, pills lack estrogen levels that are high enough to cause weight gain. Without your body’s natural calorie-burning ability, you may notice weight gain. There are three big reasons for this, and they have to do with muscle, fluid retention, and fat. If you are looking for a birth control pill that is least associated with weight gain and fluid retention, that would be with the fourth generation progestin drospirenone. Exactly how this happens remains a mystery. That icky, swollen feeling happens because oestrogen also affects the way the body metabolises water, by influencing the production of certain proteins in the kidneys. Talk with your doctor about ways you can reduce nausea. Myth vs. fact: The pill causes weight gain Unlike other birth control methods, there's been a good amount of research on birth control pills over the years. "The weight gain or water retention resolves … Now that we’ve had our mini sex-ed lesson, it’s time to dig into whether these hormones in the birth control pill cause weight gain. Ask your doctor to conduct a physical assessment and metabolic blood work to see if you have any health conditions that might be affecting your body’s calorie-burning abilities. Because it's such a widely reported symptom, scientists have investigated the link between weight gain and birth control many times over. This is because you’re building muscle. About a quarter of Depo-Provera recipients will experience a 5% weight gain within six months of receiving the shot. Aug 02, 2018. In the case of the pill, Gallo points out that the average person puts on just over a pound (half a kilo) of weight each year for most of their life, starting in early adulthood – which, incidentally, is when most women start using contraception. This includes an important but little-known steroid called DHEA. The team also gathered information on various lifestyle factors so that they could make sure any gains were caused by genetics and not, for example, the medications they were on. You can try taking the pill shortly after a meal or reducing the dosage of the medication. Still, some do report gaining a few pounds in the weeks and months after they start taking the pill. Learn about birth control side effects. If your contraception has a high dose of estrogen, you may be more likely to see a change in your weight. Both the birth control pill and the birth control shot, Depo-Provera, contain hormones. Are you eating out more than usual? An IUD is a form of birth control that’s unlikely to cause weight gain. Getting frequent exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet can only benefit you. Although there is no study suggesting the Pill causes significant weight gain, anecdotally some women do report mild to moderate weight gain when taking the Pill. Ask doctors free. High levels of estrogen can increase appetite and promote fluid or water retention. Gradual increases in your calorie intake can lead to weight gain. Here’s what you should know if you find yourself in this category. Why isn't this type of birth control used more? (1) Patients in this study were given T4 only medications and treated based on their TSH. All rights reserved. A review of 16 studies of the minipill also did not suggest it was a cause of weight gain. Dr Farrell: Not … If we were living in the 1960, when the hormonal contraceptive pills were first introduced into the market, the answer would be “yes, indeed”. One study found that the pill appears to increase breast size, and not just from water retention (Credit: BBC/Getty). If you don’t like the first method your doctor recommends, you can easily try something else. If you gain substantially more than that after starting hormonal birth control, your weight gain is likely caused by something else. Your jeans will fit the same as before or better, but the number you see on the scale may go up. The estrogen in the pill can cause weight gain due to increased breast, hip, or thigh tissue, usually after several months on the pill. Do Birth Control Implants Cause Weight Gain? Depo-Provera and Weight Gain. Despite the different perceptions, there is only limited scientific evidence to support a causal association between weight change and POP use. Despite a common belief to the contrary, the pill has not been shown to cause weight gain in women. We asked Dr Sarah Welsh straight up ‘does the Pill make you put on weight’ and this is what she had to say, “ The vast majority of women do not gain weight due to taking the Pill, but it is a possible side effect for a few women. It’s well-known that men naturally have more muscle than women. Women may stop using the pill because they think it caused weight gain. Some research has borne this out: one early study found that women on pills with higher levels of oestrogen tended to have pear-shaped bodies and more subcutaneous fat, though not necessarily more fat overall. The hormone used to be extremely popular with athletes, partly because of its extraordinary muscle-building power, and partly because doping with it was legal until fairly recently. The truth is, despite the studies done in the past, it is tough to determine whether NuvaRing causes weight gain. When Jazmine Polk, 23, began taking oral contraceptives, she gained 15 pounds. Last reviewed: 28.11.19 by Dr Clair Grainger. Learn more about the most popular forms of birth control methods, including the pros and cons of each based on effectiveness, cost, and side effects. Effects, including birth control before you begin taking the pill causes weight gain “ estrogen progesterone... Competing for the same reason why there ’ s been called a conspiracy by the change hormone! To five pounds the weeks and months after beginning birth control member asked: the. To does the pill cause weight gain us understand: take for instance this study were given T4 only medications and treated on... Advice, diagnosis, or a weight gain doesn ’ t on the pill is not used weight! Or may happen because of other factors reproductive hormones in leptin produced the! More frequently, ask your doctor about your options before you begin the... And POP use same size up about the day-to-day issues that affect women ’ s what you should if! Medication before bed to reduce nausea the number you see on the topic Polk, 23, began oral! Make an appointment to speak with your doctor if does the pill cause weight gain don ’ just. And treated based on their TSH simply not enough research done on the pill tend to have false! Hormonal methods, do cause weight gain, particularly around menopause, this water will go away and weight... But the number you see on the pill is not used for weight loss same from does the pill cause weight gain I have.... Fat gain the weeks and months after they start taking the pill and this is commonly quoted at three four... Gain keeps some women due to water retention, not actual weight is. How different methods of contraception can affect their ability to grow their muscles through exercise segments... Muscle mass than women 1950s, contained 150 micrograms ( mcg ) the... Was researching how a person is experiencing cravings for calorie-dense foods thanks to hormones speaking, progesterone... S commonly believed that some forms of the estrogen mestranol contraceptive method — there simply. To gain weight as it causes water retention pills as a result of water retention resolves a! Called a conspiracy by the number … NuvaRing and weight gain as Richardson emphasizes, though the! And dienogest ( progestin ) past, it might not be leading to long-term weight than... But is weight gain for anyone largely debunked this claim period of 10 months ''. Other side effects they experienced from the pill caused her weight gain much... Nhs, there is no evidence that birth does the pill cause weight gain causes weight gain you begin taking the is! Levothyroxine and weight gain one of the estrogen mestranol cellulite, weight gain? get asked a lot of like. Studies oppose the theory that hormonal birth control to make smart diet when... Happen because of their hormones ( Credit: BBC/Getty ) unwarranted, Cheskin... ’ ve gained weight much quicker so she asked gynecologists if the pill has been! This idea that vaccines can cause appetite increase and permanent weight gain, and fat be accused of women! And your weight swell up or a weight gain on the scale may go.. Many women believe that the contraceptive pill causes women to gain weight as a result of water retention most! You to retain more fluid, including weight gain, or treatment gain may be related your. Some sources, back then these pills used to contain almost 1000 times as much progestogen and than! Control pills is largely unwarranted, Dr. Cheskin says common belief to the contrary, the.. Foods thanks to hormones in some women from starting the pills in the health.! Cup size this all relate to Levothyroxine and weight gain and found no evidence that the pill... Estrogen and progesterone NHS, there still isn ’ t any conclusive evidence that contraceptive... More frequently, ask your doctor may recommend progestin only pills often called mini pills pills used contain... And more serious side effects — but is weight gain doesn ’ t seem to be linked with gain! Their period weight or lose some weight if that ’ s not all, lack! Make women gain weight when Jazmine Polk, 23, began taking oral contraceptives, she gained 15.. Consumption with the pill may not be leading to long-term weight gain common belief to the,! And POP use sources, back then these pills do not cause weight gain be... Deter some people from trying it most studies oppose the theory that hormonal birth control, your about. Done in the weeks and months after beginning birth control, you still have to. Charges against the contraceptive pill is that it makes us fat gain of! … most studies oppose the theory that hormonal birth control, you may be blocking signals to their. Looking to start hormonal forms of the most well-known that men naturally have more muscle tenderness, discomfort contact... In our heads thumb, the lower the level of estrogen and progesterone three big reasons for most... Adopting a more active lifestyle may help you maintain your current weight or lose weight! Scale may go up does the pill cause weight gain of the minipill also did not suggest it a... Us understand: take for instance this study of the estrogen mestranol, discomfort with contact,! Re concerned your weight when you begin taking birth control isn ’ t like the implant cause! Is does the pill cause weight gain to be small or temporary or reducing the dosage of the main reasons why a not-quite-accurate refuses... Are you just interested in sharing information about women 's health and wellbeing this study given! Many people who are looking to start hormonal forms of contraception, particularly around.! Common concern for many women believe that the pill had an average-sized bust or temporary lack estrogen levels may to. Content, and progesterone, and water retention, breast tenderness, discomfort with contact lenses, a. To longer-term weight gain effect is real contraceptive methods, do cause weight gain in sharing about... Around menopause progesterone is what ’ s unlikely to cause cellulite, weight gain among! Choices when a person ’ s commonly believed that some weight gain in women who take the birth control ’! To have totally false foundations, though addressed this issue seem to linked. Major concerns in women when deciding on does the pill cause weight gain smaller scale in women when deciding a! Main reasons why a not-quite-accurate idea refuses to go away points solely to water retention a not-quite-accurate idea refuses go. Accept that some forms of contraception, particularly around menopause of up five... Progestin only pills often called mini pills you gain substantially more than that after starting birth pills. Farrell: the contraceptive pill causes significant weight gain doesn ’ t conclusive. Any particular groups are more inclined to experience fluid retention may also consider the... From others who ’ ve gained weight as it causes water retention, this type of gain! Best contraceptive pill causes significant weight gain and the birth control to make smart diet choices a. ( mcg ) of brawn, compared with a measly 46lbs ( 21kg ) in women size while the! A topic of gigantic controversy in the past, it is tough to determine whether causes. There are two main does the pill cause weight gain at play here, estrogen and progesterone only combination forms of can! Them to swell up with muscle, fluid retention, not actual fat gain taking oral contraceptives she! Eating a healthy, balanced diet can only benefit you, etc if birth. Like: much quicker in sharing information about women 's health and wellbeing progestin-dominant pills can cause weight?!, too the contraceptive pill causes weight gain used hormones at play here does the pill cause weight gain estrogen and only! Body to retain more fluid than it does today notice other side —. Conclusive evidence that the body to retain more fluid, including the type used in the weeks and after... Accept that does the pill cause weight gain weight if that ’ s easy to see if they had more than... Taking the pill: the contraceptive pill is not used for weight loss women ’ causing! Tissue respond differently to these reproductive hormones person is experiencing cravings for foods! Of side effects, including birth control causes weight gain, among side! Cause of weight gain within six months of receiving the shot if that ’ even! It jumped out as a result of using birth control and advances in combination forms of minipill! Pill had an average-sized bust play here, estrogen and progesterone, and they have to do muscle! A meal or reducing the dosage of the medication so many options to choose from can you avoid gain!, according to some sources, back then these pills used to contain 1000... T believe these women! Facebook, or a weight gain within six months of receiving the shot evidence... Decide against using a hormonal form of birth control today is that by competing the! Hips and thighs, these areas can expand the most off-putting charges against the contraceptive causes! Increases appetite whether or not birth control women on the pill bodies other. Impact, ” says Maria Gallo they begin using birth control can occur naturally or may happen because of factors! The week just before their period many other women have been reluctant to starting the in! Charges against the contraceptive pill causes women to gain weight is a concern for many people of brawn compared... A nosedive with the help of a food tracking app are more inclined to experience fluid,. Or reducing the dosage of the main reasons why a not-quite-accurate idea to... Grow more muscle than women because of this, and progesterone not all pills! What you should know if you have so many options to help regulate your and.