What Birth Control Pill Is Best For Weight Loss

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Does Birth Control Make You Gain Weight? I review the research and share the best birth control options for preventing weight gain.

What Birth Control Pill Is Best For Weight Loss

What Birth Control Pill Is Best For Weight Loss

Let’s be honest, ladies – taking the pill is a rip off. We hear about all the bad side effects of birth control pills from family, friends, and the media, but the alternatives (Unwanted Babe, anyone?) seem worth the risk. While everyone has their own horror stories, it’s nausea, spotting, breast tenderness, depression, decreased libido and—scary for many women—weight gain while you play Russian roulette with hormones is always fair game. The idea that years of taking the pill can (possibly) lead to uncontrollable weight gain often deters many women from taking the pill, but is it true or an old wives’ tale? And what about the new male birth control pill that’s been making a splash in the media lately — is this a better answer? I’ll examine the research to discern fact from fiction to answer the question, “Do birth control pills cause weight gain?”

Is Your Generic Birth Control Pill Really The Same As The Brand Name Version?

First, I’ll give you a quick history lesson on how we got our hands on this amazing little tablet. The birth control pill, or “the pill” as it is often affectionately called, has been around since the 1960’s and originally only contained synthetic progesterone. Estrogen was later introduced into the pill because it was found to reduce bleeding in the original cocktail. The popularity of the birth control pill exploded, and by 1965 approximately 6.5 million American women were taking it. In 1969, Barbara Seaman published “The Case of Doctors Against the Pill,” a controversial book about the Pill’s side effects including blood clots, heart attack, stroke, depression, loss of libido, and weight gain. By 1988, they realized that these side effects were caused by high doses of the pill, and quickly released a lower dose variation. Since then, through extensive research, they have developed a contraceptive pill that is safer and has fewer side effects. Some new releases include those that help with acne, pills that only need to be taken a few times a year, and most recently the continuous birth control pill with no more periods!

In adult females, the ovaries are responsible for producing the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, and very small amounts of testosterone. Along with some other major factors, namely luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone, these hormones control the menstrual cycle each month. So here’s how your hormones change depending on the time of the month:

So, to quickly recap, your hormones are naturally highest around day 14 and 22, and estrogen is also high around day 14. Birth control pills work by balancing hormone levels. So no estrogen peak = no egg release…but we’ll talk about that later. Basically, we all naturally produce different amounts of estrogen and progesterone, just like what’s in the pills – this is why a particular pill doesn’t affect all women the same way – you basically Basically trying to figure out what’s best for you. And, my friends, this is hard stuff.

As of 2015, more than 70 percent of Canadians use contraception, and more than 75 percent of women will use oral contraceptives at some point in their lives. The variety of birth control pills can seem confusing, so I’ve broken them down into easy-to-understand categories.

Using Birth Control To Treat Pcos

Combination pills contain estrogen and progesterone – this is the most common type of pill. They work by preventing ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovary. They also thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter. They can vary depending on how often you want your period or pill dosage to stay the same or change.

Progesterone-only pills work by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus (lining of the uterus), which prevents sperm from reaching the egg. They also sometimes prevent eggs from being released from your ovaries, no eggs = no pregnancy.

As you may remember from high school health class, there were about a million alternative birth control options out there, so I’ll break them down into two simple categories for you:

What Birth Control Pill Is Best For Weight Loss

Now that we’ve taken our mini-sex ed lesson, it’s time to delve into whether or not these hormones in birth control pills are causing weight gain. There are two main hormones at play here, estrogen and progesterone. I classify birth control types as having two hormonal changes – estrogen and progesterone, and progesterone only. So, let’s see how well these two birth control methods work and see if they cause weight gain.

The Best Birth Control Pill For You: A Guide To Contraceptive Options

In 2014, Cochrane conducted a major review of combined (estrogen and progesterone) contraceptives and weight gain. Four studies of birth control found no significant difference in weight gain compared to the controlled trials. The remaining studies compared two different types of combined birth control pills and showed that the pills did not cause changes in weight. The maximum difference in weight gain after 12 months was about 4 pounds. This is important because if estrogen is responsible for the weight gain from birth control pills, then when comparing combination birth control pills that both contain estrogen, we would expect more weight gain in the higher dose group. However, this is not the case. Interestingly, the only study that found weight gain was in the group with less estrogen, not more. Another study from the University of Cambridge looked at the effect of oral contraceptives on the metabolism of young women and found that women who took the pill had a 5% higher metabolic rate. Furthermore, two randomized controlled trials (a good source of evidence!) found no significant evidence of weight gain with combined contraceptive use (here and here). Remember when I told you about the history of the birth control pill? Well, in the beginning, pills contained high doses of estrogen, which was linked to weight gain as well as some horrible side effects. However, the doses of estrogen and progesterone were very low.

A comprehensive review of 16 studies examined the effects of progestin-only birth control and weight gain. They found that, on average, the weight gain was modest — about 5 pounds over 12 months. There was no difference in weight gain when progesterone-only birth control pills were compared to any other type of birth control pills. However, when progesterone contraception was compared to a control group of non-hormonal contraceptive users, the progesterone group had increased body fat and decreased lean body mass. Overall, it should be noted that most of these studies are of moderate to low evidence – so we need to take them with a grain of salt.

It’s worth noting that there is one progesterone-only birth control method that has been directly linked to weight gain — long-acting medroxyprogesterone acetate, or DMPA. For those of us who don’t even know how to say it, it is often referred to as the Depo-Provera lens. One study found that teen girls gained an average of 10 pounds during the first year of use. There have been extensive studies (here, here, here and here) pointing to similar results. This weight gain has been shown to be associated specifically with fat gain, but unfortunately, not with water retention.

We need to remember that despite the evidence, everyone’s body is different and may respond differently to the hormones that birth control pills provide. Several studies have found that some participants lost weight while others gained a few pounds, suggesting that women may respond differently to each birth control method. If you have tried different pills yourself, you probably noticed this yourself. After taking one pill, you feel like busting your partner’s head, and after taking another, you lose 5 pounds! This is why the side effects, including weight gain, may not apply universally to everyone.

About To Get Married? Here Are Some Birth Control Methods You Can Consider

I looked into possible reasons why some women might think the pill is causing their weight gain, and lo and behold, there was more conflicting research!

It was found that half of the teenagers who took the pill thought their appetite had increased, but this was just their perception and was not tested against actual calorie intake. Another study looked at Depo injections (which we know cause weight gain) to see if increased appetite and caloric expenditure were responsible for the weight gain, but they found that appetite was not a factor. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research on this because women’s appetites vary widely. Overall, there is not enough research to link increased appetite with birth control pills and weight gain.

Historically, the first high-dose estrogen pills on the market caused water retention. This is why many women feel bloated before their period due to high levels of estrogen. Recently, studies have shown that doses of hormones in birth control pills

What Birth Control Pill Is Best For Weight Loss

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