Saturday, August 8, 2009
Birth control methods were created to solve the numerous problems encountered by the family. Birth control pills are safe for most womenstatistically safer even than delivering a baby--but they carry some risks. Birth control pills are not ideal for women who smoke, and most practitioners won’t prescribe them to smokers over the age of 35 because the risks really escalate at that point.
Is there really a connection between birth control and weight gain? In a recent survey, 50% of all women believed that birth control pills might cause unwanted weight gain. Of these women, 20% said this belief was the main reason for not using oral contraceptives. There is also evidence that women or changing the methods of birth control or stop using the pill because they believe it contributes to weight gain. However, the good news is that the review found no evidence to support a possible association between combination contraceptives or birth control and weight gain.
Researchers have found it difficult to prove a connection between birth control and weight gain. While many women do gain weight after starting use of oral contraceptives, it is difficult to know whether this weight gain is actually caused by the use of the pill or other lifestyle factors. In most cases, women taking oral contraceptives report a weight gain of five pounds or less. Only a small percentage of women experience a weight gain of more than 10 pounds after starting a prescription of pills for birth control. Presumably, any weight gain or weight loss related to the use of contraceptive pills is a side effect that will happen within three months after the start of the recipe. Some studies have shown that while the pill may add a few pounds in the first water retention, the added weight disappears as the body adjusts to the hormones.
Another study found no difference between women taking hormonal contraceptives and those who took a placebo. The other studies looked at women with different types and doses of hormonal contraception, and reached the same conclusion.
The claim may have had some truth many years ago, when the pill contained high levels of estrogen, the hormones that cause water retention and increased appetite. Today, most versions of the pill have only half the amount found in early versions.
There is another factor that has nothing to do with the pill. It is a fact that most women in the western world start birth control as teenagers and continue through their 20 years, a period when women naturally tend to gain weight. It is also possible that women who expect to gain weight after starting on a prescription pill for birth control are unconsciously modify their diet and exercise habits. However, if a woman has tried various methods of contraception and had no success in controlling unwanted weight gain with diet and exercise, you may want to ask your healthcare provider if insulin resistance is contributing to their problems. A simple blood test can determine the presence of this condition. If a woman suffers from insulin resistance, a diet low in carbohydrates may be necessary to stabilize their weight.
Any weight gain after starting pills of more than 5% of body weight may be a sign of a female tendency to insulin resistance and abnormal glucose metabolism. With this amount of weight gain associated with an oral contraceptive, a woman should be evaluated for possible insulin resistance. If this condition is present, it will have to adopt a diet low in carbohydrates. Simple sugars in any amount and high carbohydrate meals only nullify all other efforts in the daily diet and frustrate any long term ability at weight control.
In most cases, unwanted weight gain associated with birth control can be prevented by paying extra attention to diet and exercise or simply switch to a different type of birth control. The link between birth control and weight gain can sometimes be exaggerated, and it is time to break the myths.