How Birth Control Pills Affect Weight
Apparently, there has never been enough convincing evidence to show that birth control pills have an effect on weight. Recently conducted research has found little proof of weight gain among users of progestin-only pills. Likewise, a similar investigation from 2008 also failed to establish any evidence that birth control pills affect weight.
However, a number of studies have hinted that birth control pills may even have an opposite effect. According to a study conducted in 1997, women who took birth control pills were found to have a basal metabolic rate that is around 5 percent higher as compared to the women who didn’t take the pills. Also, a relatively small clinical trial, concluded in 2009, revealed that birth control pills successfully cut body fat in the women who were using them.
Why Birth Control Pills Are Infamous for Causing Weight Gain?
The question still remains: How did the rumor that birth control pills affect weight make its way to the general public? Some portion of it could lead back to the myths surrounding hormones, which are repeatedly blamed for just about everything, from mood disorders to breast tenderness. Moreover, the most influential factor in spreading this misinformation is the pill packets themselves.
Since most oral contraceptive labels identify weight gain as one of the most common side-effects, why wouldn’t everyone believe that weight gain is a negative effect of the pill? The truth of the matter is that the warning signs on the label are not always reliable. In some cases, they are merely there to highlight side effects that were reported in clinical trials. Test subjects are questioned about any symptoms they observed during the study, and the reasons that turn up most frequently may wind up being listed as side effects without any substantial evidence that they were due to the medication alone and not to other factors.
In the 1960s, when birth control pills were first introduced, they contained high levels of estrogen and progestin, almost a thousand times more than what a woman needs. This could have caused weight gain in the earlier cases of birth control pill consumption since estrogen in high doses can trigger weight gain due to fluid retention and increased appetite. Therefore, it is safe to assume that 50 years ago, birth control pills affected weight gain in women.
However, the current birth control pills have lower levels of hormones, making such birth control the most successful way of planning a family, if used correctly.