Birth control pills do not cause weight gain.
More Info: Despite a recent nationwide U.S. survey in which 61% of women indicated their belief that birth control pills cause weight gain, clinical studies performed using a leading brand of oral contraceptive show the opposite is true. There is no causal effect between taking birth control pills and a woman gaining weight; in the case of these clinical studies, women taking the pill gained weight at the same basic variable rate as women who were taking placebo pills.
Birth Control Side Effect
Although the estrogen contained in birth control pills increases the size of human fat cells, it does not increase their number. However, the side effect of retaining water can make it seem as if weight has been permanently gained, though this additional mass generally disappears as soon as water retention levels in a woman’s body return to normal. In only a very small minority of cases does the male-sex hormone present in birth control pills lead to an increase in female muscle mass.
More Studies on Birth Control and Weight Gain Needed
While the strong belief among many women of a firm connection between birth control pills and weight gain may seem puzzling, the fact is that the trail was muddied early on by the premature pronouncements of some researchers connecting these two data sets. A pregnant woman’s weight gain (or loss) may have as much to do with other, non-contraceptive factors such as an alteration of diet, a reduction in exercise regimens and family history patterns.
New Birth Control Option
Beyaz, a new birth control pill launched by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, contains the vitamin B19, also known as folate. Ironically, this is the same supplement that women are advised to take while pregnant. The reason folate is being included in the anti-pregnancy medication is to provide it for those cases where women become inseminated despite taking the pill. The weight gain properties of this new strain of birth control have yet to be determined.
Cohen Landau, Sharon , Molly Parker Tapias, and Belle Taylor McGhee. “Birth control within reach: a national survey on women’s attitudes toward and interest in pharmacy access to hormonal contraception.” Contraception 74.6 (2006): 463-470. Print.
About.com – “The Pill – Just the Facts”, May 25, 2010, Retrieved October 12, 2010 from http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/birthcontrol/a/thepilljstthefa.htm
Mayo Clinic – Birth control pill FAQ, Retrieved October 12, 2010 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/birth-control-pill/WO00098/NSECTIONGROUP=2
Science Daily – “Birth Control Pill Does Not Deserve Its Reputation for Causing Weight Gaine”, November 3, 2008, Retrieved October 12, 2010 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081030110951.htm
Medical News Today – “New Birth Control Pill Beyaz Includes Folic Acid, Columnist Writes”, October 8, 2010, Retrieved October 12, 2010 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/203960.php