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Birth control and weight gain are often seen as interrelated. If you are planning to take birth control pills and have talked to any of your friends or family, you must have heard people giving you advice against because of its association with immense weight gain. However, this doesn’t hold true for everyone and depends on how the body reacts to the intake of these pills.
There is no clinical evidence for the phenomenon of weight gain due to the consumption of these pills. Hence, weight gain may just be one of the side effects of taking synthetic hormones which will go away within two to three months like any other side effect.
Birth control pills consist of two reproductive hormones- estrogen and progestin. Generally, you will find two types of pills, a combination pill containing both hormones and the mini pill having only progestin. However, if your weight gain is not subsiding even after three weeks, you must consult your doctor and get the pill replaced.
Birth control pills were first sold in the 1960s when medical science was not at its best and the number of synthetic hormones was way too high, leading to immense weight gain among women. But now after almost 60 years, the number of hormones in these pills have considerably decreased and hence weight gain is not a problem anymore.
Birth control pills don’t lead to permanent weight gain
Many studies have been conducted and almost every study has concluded that the birth control pill has no significant contribution to weight gain. However,the fact that a certain number of women are still facing the problem today cannot be ignored. Every woman’s body responds differently to the intake of hormones, be it either birth control pills, shots or an implant. These hormones at times prompt your body to retain fluid especially before your periods leading to weight gain. Now the amount of weight gain will totally depend upon the amount of water retained in your body. Generally,weight gain takes place around the hips, thighs, and belly but usually once your periods are over, the bloating and weight gain vanishes. Doctors around the world state that such a weight gain is temporary and usually disappears once our body gets used to the intake of these pills.
Among all birth control methods, birth control shots are an exception where there can be a significant weight gain that stays on for at least 6 to 8 months.
What actually leads to weight gain ?
Change in Appetite
Estrogen is one of the key hormones present in these pills and doesn’t have any direct impact on weight gain. However, the intake of synthetic hormones leads to a change in appetite which makes women feel hungry often causing overeating, which leads to weight gain. Such increased hunger levels also cause women to binge-eat adding extra pounds to their body weight.
We cannot always blame these pills for gaining weight, as there are many other factors that lead to the same. We forget about our lifestyle and find one thing to blame on for weight gain. It is really important to have a close look at the our lifestyle, our eating habits, our workout regimen, and many other things. Some of the reasons for weight gain other than taking these pills can be stress, mood changes, new environment or even a new relationship. Also, if your body is reacting in a certain way towards these pills then it is really important to change a few of your habits to overpower the side effect of gaining weight.
How to shed those extra kilos
As discussed,there are a lot of factors that contribute to weight gain including the estrogen level in these birth control pills. However, there are also several ways to control these extra kilos:
1. Take a short break from the pills, and consult your doctor for some substitute if your present birth control pill is leading you towards weight gain.
2. Try to control your appetite by controlling the portion size of meals.
3. Make sure to work out regularly without taking any break. Not only will this help you to stay fit but it will also help in evading problems such as water retention.
4. Lower the intake of salt which leads to water retention in the body. Decreased levels of salt in your body will help in preventing water retention that is the primary reason for bloating.
5. Substitute sugar with jaggery or any other less fattening product.
6. Drink as much water as you can to keep yourself well hydrated.
Following this regimen will help you to stay fit and not gain weight. Moreover, the weight gain that happens because of these pills is usually a temporary phase and will go away with time.
Substitutes for birth control pill
If you are not comfortable using these contraceptive pills and feel that these are just not right for you, then here are the substitutes that you can use for birth control:
Female or male condoms are yet another powerful way for birth control. These condoms act as a barrier that prevents sperms from entering the female body. However, even if used properly, condoms are only 98% effective.
2. Copper T
Copper T is an intra-uterine device, inserted inside a woman’s body through the vagina. It blocks the cervix and doesn’t allow sperms to enter the uterus. It can be placed for as long as five years, and the best part is that you can remove the same at any point of time in case you plan to conceive.
3. Withdrawal or the pull out method:
Another way of preventing pregnancy is to use the pull out method while having sex. This prevents semen from entering the vagina. However, in this method the male has to ensure that he pulls out before ejaculation to prevent it from entering the female body.
4. Vaginal ring:
One of the most affordable ways of birth control, this small ring-like structure is placed inside the vagina.The ring contains hormones, which are released near the uterus lining making it thick and thus preventing sperms from entering the uterus to fertilize with the female egg.
However, apart from condoms, no other birth control measures have a tendency to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
Hormonal birth control measures usually affect different women in different ways. No two women will have the same kind of effect. However, if you are not feeling comfortable taking one kind of birth control measure you can always switch to another one after consulting your doctor. Always discuss your lifestyle and medical history with your doctor so that they can suggest you the best preventive measure that will have minimal side effects on your body.
Always remember that there is no harm in trying two to three brands of birth control pills or shots. You must switch to another if the first one is leading to weight gain. You need to find the right kind of birth control pill for your body.
Now that you know everything about using these pills, you can choose any birth control method that you feel is right for you.