Can Birth Control Make You Gain Weight? What You Need to Know

Women often rely on birth control pills to delay or prevent pregnancies. However, the connection between birth control pills and weight gain can be a concern to many women. Though rare, some women gain a few pounds while taking contraceptive pills. This could be because some birth control pills may increase fluid or water retention in the body, making you look and feel a little bloated.

Read on to learn more about which birth control method causes weight gain and how to prevent it.

Birth Control Pills and Weight Gain

The type of birth control pills you use can play a vital role in causing weight gain. Generally, two types of birth control pills will be prescribed, including combination pills (containing estrogen and progestin) and progestin-only pills. Progestin increases appetite, while high levels of estrogen contribute to increased water/fluid retention.

In the 1950’s, birth control pills had high levels of estrogen (150 micrograms), so they may have caused temporary weight gain (due to fluid retention) in some women. However, nowadays, these pills contain only 20-50 micrograms of estrogen, so they are unlikely to cause weight gain. Contrarily, according to another study, using progestin-only pills for 6 to 12 months may contribute to weight gain (fewer than 4.4 pounds on average).

Though birth control pills may lead to weight gain, the research shows only limited evidence on the link between weight gain and birth control pills. Therefore, if you gain weight (beyond 4.4 pounds) after taking hormonal birth control pills, your weight gain may be caused by other factors like underlying health conditions and changes in eating habits.

Weight Gain Due to Birth Control Differs from Person to Person

Not every woman on birth control gains weight; it depends on individuals and the birth control methods they use. While birth control pills, vaginal rings, intrauterine devices, and patches don’t impact your weight, birth control shots and implants may cause weight gain. However, not all women using these birth control methods gain weight, as everyone’s body is different.

Can You Avoid Weight Gain When on Birth Control?

Yes! Following a balanced diet and exercising regularly can help you lose the few pounds you might gain after starting birth control treatments.

Do You Lose Weight When You Stop Taking Your Birth Control Pills?

Birth control pills are not directly linked to weight gain; they tend to increase water retention, causing only temporary weight gain. Therefore, birth control pills are considered weight-neutral. Most women do not gain or lose weight when on birth control, and those who do so will often return to their normal weight after finishing the pills. However, this does not include weight gain resulting from lifestyle changes like increased calories, lack of exercise, etc.

Note that pregnancy impacts your weight due to psychological changes and hormonal imbalances.

Weight gain caused directly due to birth control is always temporary, as the water retention will subside over time. Nonetheless, visit your gynecologist if you experience any significant birth control weight gain or other side effects such as spotting, changes in your skin, headaches, etc. They may recommend other birth control methods that work better for you.

If you are looking for a leading gynecologist in the North Atlanta area, contact us today at North Atlanta Women’s Care. We are committed to offering excellent medical assistance for your birth control needs and other gynecological concerns.


North Atlanta Women's Care

North Atlanta Women’s Care specializes in complete women's health care and is the preferred source of comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology services for many women in Johns Creek, Georgia, and the greater Atlanta area.

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