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    Does birth control make you gain weight? All your questions answered

    Updated 04 January 2023 |
    Published 16 September 2021
    Fact Checked
    Dr. Amanda Kallen
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Amanda Kallen, Associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive endocrinology, Yale University School of Medicine, Connecticut, US
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    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    Birth control and weight gain have long been linked, but is there any medical evidence to suggest there’s any truth to it? Flo experts outline everything you need to know. 

    It’s an ongoing question: Does birth control make you gain weight? You might not have heard your doctor or sex education teacher say it, but somehow the myth prevails. So if you’ve found yourself wondering whether there’s a link between hormonal birth control and body weight, you’re certainly not the only one. 

    The debate about hormonal birth control and weight gain has been around for almost as long as birth control itself, and it may have even shaped which birth control option you choose to use. For many people, it’s a topic that feels close to home. Your relationship with your body is such a personal one, which is why it’s so important that you feel supported and sure about the contraceptive method you opt for

    But there’s a reason why you’ve never heard your doctor say birth control makes you gain weight: there’s no definitive medical link. So let’s get into it. Here’s everything you need to know about the science behind birth control and weight gain. 

    Does birth control make you gain weight? 

    Hands up if you’ve ever turned to the internet to ask if birth control and weight gain are linked. It’s a myth that’s spread like wildfire, and despite all your searching, it can often feel like there’s no clear answer.

    “Because we live in a weight-conscious society where larger bodies are stigmatized, fear of gaining weight can be a very powerful and negative force for people,” says Dr. Jennifer Boyle, obstetrician and gynecologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts, US.

    “Studies show that concern about weight gain can lead to stopping birth control even when people haven’t actually gained any weight. However, rigorous medical studies do not show any significant weight gain with hormonal contraception,” the expert adds. And that’s quite a staggering fact. 

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    One review looked at 49 studies that focused on whether weight gain could be linked to the combined pill (that’s the pill that contains both the hormones estrogen and progestin, the synthetic version of progesterone). It concluded that “no large effect is evident” but added (as many studies do) that there wasn’t enough research to be absolutely 100% sure of this.

    Similar studies have looked into whether other methods, such as the progesterone-only pill and combined estrogen-progestin contraceptive patch, can