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Does the pill affect your weight?


For anyone considering taking the contraceptive pill, there are a number of things you may want to think about.

One of the most common concerns is that going on the pill will cause weight gain.

Anecdotally, it’s not unusual to hear females make this observation of their own experience of oral birth control.

But it’s important to note that there is absolutely no scientific evidence for this.

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What’s happening then?


What are we to make of a situation where the scientists say one thing, but women’s personal experience appears to be different?

One explanation could be that, when women begin taking the pill, changes to their water retention can occur.

While not a statistical weight gain, that can certainly make someone feel bloated and uncomfortable, as well as causing swelling in hands, arms, feet and legs.

How do I address water retention issues?

There are lots of simple steps to tackle water retention, which in turn should ease any concerns surrounding weight gain.

You can eat less salt and increase your intake of magnesium, which includes things like nuts, leafy green vegetables and, luckily, even dark chocolate.

More Vitamin B6 – which is found in foods like bananas and potatoes – should also help, as do potassium-rich foods such as avocado and tomatoes.

As ever, drinking more water and taking part in physical activity should also produce the results you’re after.


Other side effects


While there is no medical proof that the pill causes weight gain, there are some other downsides to look out for.

Temporary side effects include mood swings, headaches, breast tenderness and nausea. If these persist for a few months, it may be time to consider an alternative pill or a different kind of birth control.

It can also increase your blood pressure and cause breakthrough bleeding and “spotting”.

And remember, it won’t protect you against sexually transmitted infections.



But there are benefits too


Aside from its principal task, the pill can also provide some other benefits.

It can make periods more regular, lighter and less painful and reduces the risk of some cancers, including those of the ovaries, womb and colon.

It has also been found to reduce acne in some cases, protect against problems like pelvic inflammatory disease and reduce the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.


A big decision


Deciding whether or not the contraceptive pill is right for you isn’t easy.

There are so many things to consider beyond fears of weight gain.

If you have any further questions, why not drop us an email at [email protected].

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