Birth control is so important for women to be well-informed about their family planning options, so they feel empowered to make the right choices for themselves. That said, one thing that may makes some girls and women unsure about birth control is the idea that birth control affects weight. I don’t want concerns about weight and birth control to stop you from seeking the reproductive health resources you need, so I thought I’d spend a little time to help clarify this important subject.
Does all birth control make you gain weight?
The rumors about birth control weight gain aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Generally speaking, hormonal birth control methods like the pill, hormonal IUD, patch, or ring have been associated with weight gain in many studies. However, this weight gain is usually minimal and temporary.
Other types of birth control, including non-hormonal copper IUDs and barrier methods like diaphragms and condoms, aren’t associated with weight gain. Does this mean you’re guaranteed not to gain weight while using these types of birth control? Not necessarily, since many other factors—including lifestyle and advancing age—are associated with changes in weight, too.
Why does birth control cause weight gain?
While it’s true that some women experience slight increases in weight while on birth control, this is usually due to water retention (bloating) rather than an increase in body fat. Water retention might occur with birth control methods that contain 30 and 50 micrograms of estrogen, since this hormone has a fluid-retaining effect.
Some women on birth control may experience changes in their appetite or mood that drives them to eat more. Fortunately, a solid exercise and nutrition plan can help mitigate this, along with some go-to stress management techniques.
Does birth control make you lose weight?
Just like birth control doesn’t generally make women gain weight, birth control doesn’t tend to make women lose weight either. That said, some women notice slight fluctuations or decreases in their weight as a result of changes in water retention. It really depends on the individual.
What about birth control for overweight women? The good news is that most forms of birth control appear to be just as effective for overweight or obese women as for normal-weight women. This includes IUDs, vaginal rings, contraceptive implants, and the birth control shot. Some research suggests that women who are obese and taking birth control pills might do better by skipping the placebo/sugar pill week, because having a higher body mass index (BMI) changes how long it takes medication to be metabolized by the body.
Is it hard to lose weight on birth control?
Being on birth control doesn’t make it any harder to lose weight compared to when you’re not on birth control. If you’re worried about IUDs and weight gain (or any other type of birth control), I encourage you to chat with your doctor.
Commonly Asked Questions
Which birth control makes you lose weight?
Birth control doesn’t generally make you lose nor gain weight. While birth control methods like the pill have been associated with weight gain in studies, this weight gain is typically due to water retention rather than increases in body fat percentage. Generally speaking, any weight fluctuations you might experience while on birth control will be temporary and mild.
Does birth control make your butt bigger?
Birth control doesn’t make your butt bigger—but lifting weights at the gym might!
Does birth control make you hungry?
Some women experience changes in their mood or appetite while taking birth control and may feel inclined to eat more. Fortunately, choosing foods that are nutrient-dense and filling (think protein, veggies, and fruit) can help you manage your appetite and weight.
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