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Oral Contraceptives and Weight Gain Risk

Potential risk of gaining a couple of additional pounds is among the usual concerns of women, deciding to start birth control pills. Though there are many women, who really experienced certain weight gain while taking oral contraceptives, modern science is confident that the ability of birth control pills to cause weight gain is approximately the same as the ability of Coca-Cola to cause addiction.

Many recent researches of the issue proved that modern oral contraceptives can not cause weight gain; and, in fact, it is a widely spread myth and misperception, which has nothing in common with the data of clinical trials and scientific surveys. For example, the researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration, a known authority in reviewing and summarizing data from clinical trials, analyzed 39 clinical trials and found no evidences that combined oral contraceptives caused weight gain.

However, there is no smoke without a fire, and many women, as well as many doctors, confirm that there might be some weight gain while taking daily contraceptive pills.

After researching the issue of oral contraceptives and weight gain and summarizing data from different sources, one may come to a conclusion that the pills themselves are really unlike to cause weight gain; though taking the pills may trigger certain changes in the human organism, which may contribute to gaining weight in the favorable situation.

There are several theories, which explain weight gain, which may be experienced during taking the oral pills.

Theory 1: Appetite
There are some suggestions that oral contraceptives may cause weight gain by stimulating appetite. Since modern contraceptives contain one or more hormones, they interfere with the hormonal balance inside human organism. Increasing or decreasing amounts of certain hormones oral contraceptives may thus stimulate hormones, which are responsible for appetite. Increased appetite naturally leads to large portions or more frequent eating, which can definitely add a few pounds to the waistline.

Theory 2: Water Retention
Sometimes women on the pills experience weight gain due to water retention - a condition, when too much fluid is kept inside the body instead of leaving it as urine or perspiration. Though in the majority of cases water retention is not considered to be a health risk, some women may feel uncomfortable when they start to gain some weight due to water retention.

At the same time, some daily pills, for example Yasmin, are said to counteract water retention and help women maintain their normal body mass. Anyway, water retention can be quite easily managed with limiting the amount of salt in the food or using diuretics.

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Theory 3: Nature
Speculating on the ability or inability of the oral contraceptives to cause weight gain, many doctors underline the fact that body weight is not fixed and many factors, such as lifestyle or stress, can make one's weight increase or decrease. Furthermore, people tend to gain weight, when they grow older.

Thus, in many cases weight gain cannot be linked directly to the use of oral contraceptives only. Modern science recommends not to overestimate the role of oral contraceptives in causing overweight or even obesity, but pay more attention to such factors, as smoking, misbalanced diet, and lack of exercising, which are acknowledged as the major causes of gaining weight.


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