Young woman in jeans holding birth control pills

There can be some side effects to using birth control pills but packing on the pounds usually isn’t among them. Some women worry that using birth control will make them gain weight, but studies have shown that methods like the pill, the ring and the patch don’t make most women gain or lose weight.

This common misconception can be traced back to the birth control pills your mother may have used. Progestins in birth control pills can increase appetite and high levels of estrogen tend to increase fluid or water retention, but today’s birth control pills use a fraction of these active ingredients compared to earlier generations.

Certain methods of hormonal birth control do have higher doses of progestin that can cause weight gain in some women. This includes the birth control shot that’s designed to last longer than a daily pill.

Some birth control methods can also increase insulin levels and that can lead to weight gain. This is especially true for women who already have high blood sugar levels. If you want long-term birth control without these side effects, an implant or IUD may be a better option.

So, if it’s not the birth control pill causing permanent weight gain, what is it? Sometimes, it’s temporary water retention. Other times, it’s weight that will likely disappear after a few months as your body adjusts to the medication.

The good news is that there are many options for contraceptives and your doctor can help you find the one that works best for you without worries about weight gain.  If you live in the Southgate or Downriver areas of southeast Michigan and are looking for an OB/GYN, Northline Women’s Health Center has offices in Southgate and Brownstown, and you can request an appointment online.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax