The Surprising Connection: How Birth Control May Cause Weight Gain

Birth control pills have been a revolutionary invention for women who want to exercise control over their reproductive health. It’s a solution that has seen many women opt for the contraceptive, as it’s considered to be safe and effective. However, it’s common knowledge that the pills have side effects that vary from one person to another. One of the most common concerns among women is the weight gain associated with the use of birth control pills. Surprisingly, research has shown a direct link between contraceptive use and weight gain, leaving women who never knew of this side effect stunned.

How Birth Control Works

Birth control pills work by releasing hormones that suppress ovulation in women. Oestrogen and progestin are the two hormones used in the pills, with some pills having either one of the hormones or both. The hormones have the effect of altering how the body stores fat, and this results in weight gain. The pills stimulate the body to retain water, leading to bloating and slight weight gain in some people.

The Connection Between Birth Control and Weight Gain

A study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that women who used hormonal contraceptives had a higher average weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, waist circumference, and upper body subcutaneous fat compared to those who used non-hormonal contraceptives or no contraceptives at all.

Birth control pills result in a reduction in testosterone which impacts muscle mass in the body. As a result, women experience less muscle mass and can more easily accumulate fat in their bodies. This has a direct correlation to an increase in weight in women who use the contraceptive.

Other Factors That Contribute to Weight Gain

It’s essential to note that not all women gain weight due to birth control use. Other factors that may impact weight gain include reduced physical activity, changes in eating habits, and aging. Alcohol use and stress levels also have an influence on how women gain weight.


It’s essential to understand that the degree of weight gain varies from one individual to another, and it’s not a guaranteed side effect for all women. Importantly, it’s recommended that women talk to their gynecologist about the possible side effects of birth control pills and discuss alternative options like an intrauterine device (IUD) or barrier methods. If weight gain occurs, a certain modification in diet and exercise can help mitigate the effects. In any case, it’s widely believed that application of birth control pills should not be the sole cause of increased weight, and a healthy lifestyle should be maintained to support general overall wellbeing. Ultimately, the decision to take hormonal contraceptives and the side effects that are associated with them should be an informed one.

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