Does Birth Control Make You Fat?

Most women are often concerned about gaining weight after starting hormonal forms of birth control pills. You may have some friends sharing their stories about gaining weight after being on birth control pills. Most studies do not testify the theory that hormonal pills have something to do with weight gain. Still, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about any other options you can try for birth control. There certainly are many more effective and safer options available today.

Does Birth Control Make You Fat?

The truth is that some women do put on some weight when they first start taking the pills. However, it usually happens due to fluid retention and is only a temporary side effect. It means you do not gain extra fat after taking these pills. Just start the pills and if you put on pounds, simply go talk to your doctor who will suggest a different birth control method or pill. Changing the pill may help because there are progestin-only pills and combination pills that contain both progestin and estrogen. Some brands have different type of progestin used that may not cause any weight gain.

Common Side Effects of Birth Control

Does birth control make you fat? You already know the answer. However, there are some other side effects associated with birth control pills. For instance:

1. Spotting Between Periods

About 50% of women on birth control pills experience spotting between expected periods. This is a common side effect in the first 3 months of starting the pill. It usually resolves on its own by the third pill pack. Keep in mind that the pill is still effective even if you experience spotting–just ensure that you do not miss a dose and take it correctly. Talk to your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding for 3 or more days.

2. Nausea

You may experience mild nausea when you first start taking the pill. The symptoms usually go away after a short time. You may consider taking the pill at bedtime or with food to lower the risk of nausea. It is important to seek medical help if you experience severe nausea that persists.

3. Breast Tenderness

You may experience breast tenderness or enlargement after taking the pill. The symptoms usually improve after a few weeks. Do not overlook your breast pain that persists or you develop a lump in the breast. Reduce your salt and caffeine intake to decrease breast tenderness.

4. Headaches

Birth control pills have different doses and types of hormone that can lead to the development of migraine and headaches. Pills with low doses of hormones are more likely to cause headaches, but the symptoms usually improve over time.

5. Mood Changes

Some women have complained about experiencing depression and other emotional changes after taking the pill. Talk to your doctor if you experience mood changes after taking the pill.

6. Missed Periods

You may notice irregularity in your menstrual cycle after taking the pill. Along with the pill, other factors such as travel, illness, stress, and thyroid abnormalities may also lead to a missed or skipped period. You may want to take a pregnancy test if you have had sex and do not have your period on time.

7. Decreased Libido

One of many side effects of birth control pills is decreased libido. Talk to your doctor if you also have other symptoms such as premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramping, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.

8. Vaginal Discharge

There may be a change in vaginal discharge after taking the pill. You may notice an increase or a decrease in vaginal lubrication. This can affect sexual intercourse as well. Speak to your doctor if you feel concerned about changes in vaginal discharge.

Other Birth Control Methods You Can Choose

Does birth control make you fat? It usually does not, but if you are concerned, you can always try other birth control methods. For instance:

1. Condoms

The best thing about condoms is that they not only prevent unwanted pregnancy but also lower your risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Both male and female condoms are now available. They are inexpensive and are effective against the transmission of HIV and STDs.

2. Patch and Ring

Both of these are hormonal methods of birth control because they contain progestin and estrogen like the Pill. You do not have to use it daily like the pill–the patch goes on your buttock, stomach, torso, or arm and stays there for at least a week. The ring goes into your vagina for three weeks at a time to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Both of these are as good as combination pills are with an added benefit of convenience. The patch may cause skin irritations and other side effects such as bloating, headaches, spotting, and breast tenderness.

3. Hormone Shots

It involves taking a shot of progestin in your arm to prevent pregnancy for three months at a time. It works by blocking ovulation and is 99% effective when administered properly. It also reduces your risk of uterine cancer, but it may be associated with irregular bleeding and lower bone density.

4. Diaphragm and Sponge with Spermicide

You have to insert the diaphragm in your vagina to ensure the sperm does not enter your uterus. You may also use a sponge with spermicide to kill sperm cells. Your doctor will fit the diaphragm in your vagina and you need to come back for check up on a yearly basis. Using a diaphragm is a good option for women with a history of breast cancer or anyone who asks "does birth control make you fat". Getting a diaphragm inserted may increase your risk for urinary tract infections and this does not protect you from STDs.

5. IUD

Your doctor will insert this T-shaped device called an IUD or intrauterine device into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The device contains the hormone progestin or copper. It is 99% effective in most cases, is invisible from the outside, and may remain functional for up to 12 years. It may increase cramping though.

6. Hormone Implants

Inserted by your doctor, this long piece of plastic contains progestin and goes under the skin of your upper arm. It stays effective for up to 3 years. It is as effective as an intrauterine device and you can have it removed any time to become pregnant again. Irregular bleeding in the first year is the most common side effect of this birth control method.

7. Vasectomy

If you already have children and do not want more, you can opt for a permanent form of birth control called vasectomy. It involves making a tiny incision in your abdomen to access the tubes that carry sperm in men and then closing it. There will be no change in your sexual function but it may increase risk of prostate cancer in some men.