Q: Does the pill make you gain weight?
A: According to experts, the answer is no. It’s often considered as fluid retention and subside within two to three months.
“Over 40 studies have basically disproved the theory or myth that birth control is related to significant weight gain,” says Petra Casey, MD, associate professor and ob-gyn at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
Any weight gain can be related to other lifestyle changes which happen to coincide with taking the pill.
“In adolescence or when they go off to college is when most women start the Pill, and these are also times when young women tend to gain weight,” explains Dr. Ross. “I think it’s important to really look at what’s happening," she says.
The variety of contraceptive pills
If you do find that you are one of the unlucky few women to pile on the kilos, then you might want to revisit the type of contraceptive pill you are taking. Not all pills are the same and have different levels of progestin and estrogen which can affect your weight differently.
Combination pills and weight gain
Combination contain around 30-35 per cent estrogen which can be related to fluid retention and therefore temporary weight gain.
Estrogen is also related to sleeplessness which can adversely affect your weight.
Combination pills also contain levels of progestin which is linked to loss of muscle mass and increase of appetite.
Doctors recommend that as long as you follow a healthy lifestyle and get enough sleep, the Combination pill should not affect your weight. If it does however, your doctor may recommend after two to three months that you try another type of pill.
Brands: Alesse, Apri, Aranelle, Aviane, Enpresse, Estrostep, Lessina, Levlen, Levlite, Levora, Loestrin, Mircette, Natazia, Nordette, Lo/Orval, Ortho-Novum, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yasmin and Yaz. Lybrel, Seasonique and Seasonale (generic names: Jolessa or Qualsense)
Progestin only pills and weight gain
For women who do not react well to estrogen, your doctor may recommend progestin only pills often called mini pills.
Because these pills do not contain estrogen you are less likely to experience fluid retention and sleeplessness and therefore weight gain.
Progestin can cause nausea in some women and loss of appetite therefore some women have reported a loss of weight while on this pill.
Mini pill brands: Camila, Errin, Jolivette, and Micronor.