Does birth control make you gain weight? Here’s the truth

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Does birth control make you gain weight? If you’re thinking of starting it, this may be a concern.

Maybe your BFF told you that since she started using birth control she’s been piling on the pounds even though she’s not eating more food.

However, is there any truth to this? Here’s what you should know if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy.

1. WHAT DO HORMONES IN BIRTH CONTROL DO?

The thing to know about birth control is that it contains progestin. This hormone is known to increase your appetite. On the other hand, high levels of the estrogen hormone in your birth control pills can cause fluid retention.

3. BIRTH CONTROL PROBABLY WON’T CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN

Various studies have explored the link between hormonal contraception and weight gain – not just the pill but also the patch – and have found limited evidence that using birth control will make you put on weight.

4. SO WHY DID YOUR FRIEND PUT ON WEIGHT?

What might happen when you start taking birth control for a few weeks or months is that your body experiences that annoying water retention we mentioned earlier. While it seems to be weight gain, it’s not, and it won’t stick around for a long time. Besides, your friend might have put on weight for other reasons and it’s not even her birth control that’s the culprit.

5. BUT, PROGESTIN CAN BOOST YOUR APPETITE

Woah, hold on. Before you decide to pop that birth control pill, it’s worth remembering that progestin can cause you to have more of an appetite, which in turn can cause you to eat more and put on weight. So, if your birth control has a high quantity of progestin, you should chat to your doctor about it if you’re worried about consuming more food. Your doctor might be able to recommend a different type of birth control.

6. WHAT ABOUT OTHER TYPES OF BIRTH CONTROL?

If you’re keen to use a different type of birth control instead of pills to sidestep those hormones, it’s good to know that birth control methods such as IUDs and the birth control implant contain the same hormones that you’ll find in pills.

8. YOU SHOULD NOTE SOMETHING ABOUT NON-HORMONAL IUDS

Non-hormonal copper IUDs release copper instead of hormones so that they can prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and they haven’t been found to be linked to weight gain.

9. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN

If you’re still worried about birth control making you put on weight, or if you have noticed that you’ve put on a bit of weight after starting birth control, healthy lifestyle habits will help you to keep your current weight or lose the extra pounds you’ve put on. Start taking up a new exercise to burn calories or try to add healthier foods to your diet instead of reaching for unhealthy carbs and snacks.

10. BE WARY ABOUT SWITCHING

Don’t get so wrapped up in worries about weight gain that you don’t choose a healthy birth control option. For example, maybe your doc wants you to go on a progestin-only pill because your body doesn’t tolerate estrogen well. The benefits you can gain from that can outweigh your worries about putting on weight or experiencing fluid retention, for example, so weigh up all the pros and cons to ensure you choose the healthiest birth control.

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