Women who hope to avoid becoming pregnant are often curious to know about the relationship between birth control and weight gain. Not only is this a concern from an aesthetic point of view, but a significantly high body mass index (BMI) may present health risks over time. Let’s break down some common myths in order to better understand the options at your disposal.
A Quick Look at the Most Common Methods of Birth Control
Thanks to modern medical technology, there are a handful of extremely effective birth control techniques. These can be classified into the following broad categories:
- Birth control pills.
- Cutaneous patches worn on the skin.
- A flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina.
- An IUD (intrauterine device) that is semi-permanent; preventing pregnancy for up to ten years.
The exact method chosen will depend on the female and her personal preferences. So, might any of these lead to weight gain?
Myth Versus Reality
What about the strategies themselves? Conclusive research has shown that there is no relationship between an IUD and weight gain (1). Even well-known brand names exhibit only minor and inconsequential effects. For instance, a paper published by WebMD showed that using a Mirena IUD and weight gain were not correlated in any way. The same holds true in regard to other techniques such a patches, pills and temporary vaginal rings. However, some other options could actually increase the chances of developing a higher body mass index. Let’s take a closer look.
Birth Control Methods to Avoid if You are Concerned About Gaining Weight
Some evidence suggests that a handful of birth control techniques may lead to weight gain. These two methods have been particularly highlighted:
- Birth control shots.
- Birth control implants.
Although research is still ongoing, it is thought that how these methods affect chemicals within the brain may play a crucial role (2). Such contraceptives function by having an indirect impact on a hormone known as ghrelin. Ghrelin is a chemical associated with the appetite. The birth control methods outlined above can sometimes cause an increase in ghrelin production. As a result, this leads to false feelings of hunger and temptations to snack on unhealthy foods.
Furthermore, another chemical known as serotonin may have an impact. Serotonin helps to stabilise moods and to provide a calming effect. It also plays a role in satiety. If levels begin to fluctuate, individuals may be tempted to eat more than would otherwise be healthy.
An important point nonetheless needs to be stressed before moving on. Not all women will experience the potential results outlined above. This arises from the simple fact that metabolisms differ and therefore, automatically assuming that these strategies will cause an increase in BMI should be avoided.
What is the Best Contraception to Avoid Weight Gain?
This is a slightly subjective question. In other words, women will react to each technique in a unique manner. It is still a good rule of thumb to abstain from injections or implants, as these have indeed been linked to increased weight in some individuals. Of course, be sure to speak with your doctor to learn more about your options as well as an additional side effects.
Additional Steps to Take
Women who do not wish to gain weight while taking a contraceptive have a host of other practical options to consider. Perhaps the most logical involves embracing a healthy diet and avoiding substances high in calories (such as sugary desserts and processed foods). It is just as wise to get plenty of exercise; particularly fitness routines associated with cardiovascular health. Remaining hydrated throughout the day and making certain that you obtain between even and eight hours of sleep are likewise excellent habits to follow.
A final option involves being fitted with an adjustable Spatz3 gastric balloon. If you are prone to gaining weight, this device will help to limit the amount of food that can be consumed at any given time. As a result, you can avoid storing excess (empty) calories as fat. The Spatz3 team will be happy to address any other questions that you may have.
Now that we fully understand the potential relationship between birth control and weight gain, it is simple to make an informed decision.