Do birth control pills make you gain weight?

How the pill may change your body shape


The simple answer is no; birth control pills do not usually cause weight gain. But don’t stop here, keep reading. In this article, we’ll debunk the myth behind birth control and weight gain while giving you a better understanding of what you’re putting into your body. 

Trust me, we get it – weight gain is not ideal, and trying to regulate your weight is hard enough. No matter how it happens, weight gain affects mood and self-esteem. The potential for weight gain is a big concern amongst women when talking about birth control pills. It may even prevent some women from taking the pill. Let’s put the control back in birth control.


What types of pills are available?

Let’s start with the basics. Currently, 15.9% of women in the US aged 15-44 are using birth control pills, of which there are 2 types: 1) The combined pill: estrogen and progestin 2) The progestin-only pill. The type of estrogen used is the same, but the dosage varies between pill brands. On the other hand, different types and doses of progestin are used in each brand of pill. This means that the effects and side effects of different birth control pills can vary.
An analysis of 40 studies, demonstarted a lack of evidence of long-term weight gain with the use of birth control pills.  Although the pill can cause weight gain, it is a temporary phenomenon. While some women gain around 0.2kg during the first three weeks of commencing the pill, weight will normally revert to baseline after 2-3 months. This weight gain is usually attributed to water retention, not fat. The increase in water weight is linked to the hormone estrogen. Estrogen, which is a main ingredient in the pill, causes an increase in water retention and insulin production. The added water retention can cause a few pounds in weight gain, but the extra pounds should disappear within less than one month.

Contraceptive pills are used for more than just preventing unwanted pregnancy. They can also be prescribed to reduce the symptoms of several conditions. These include endometriosis, PCOS, painful or irregular periods, and anemia from heavy bleeding.

Talk to your healthcare provider today and get all your concerns addressed. There is no need to leave yourself unprotected do to unfounded fears of weight gain! 

Keep in mind that if weight gain persists past the expected period, it is important to look at other factors that may be causing this. Life stressors (e.g. starting a new relationship, new job, moving) can also be a culprit for weight gain, as can hormonal deficiencies. if you can’t seem to pinpoint the reason behind your weight gain, it might be time to book an appointment with your doctor. 


Managing the weight gain

Time can help

This can be applied to birth control and weight gain. As studies have shown, the initial weight gain is a consequence of water weight, not fat. So give it time, and with healthy eating and exercise, your weight should return to baseline. 

Change is good

Check the levels of estrogen in your pill. Pills with a high estrogen content are more likely to stimulate weight gain, so you may want to switch to a pill with a smaller amount. 

Estrogen increases your appetite.  Increased levels of insulin stimulated estrogen can lead to more energy storage when carbohydrates are consumed.  Excess carbohydrates can then be stored as fat. and then stroed in your fat. 


Regular exercise coupled with a healthy balanced diet is beneficial. Try to cultivate a more active lifestyle. It will help you shed the extra weight you might initially gain from the pill. 


The final points

  • Woman may experience different side effects from differnet pills
  • Some women gain weight and others don’t
  • Don’t give up - there are many different birth control options to choose from
  • Keep trying until you find the type that suits you best
  • Practicing safe sex is very important 



  1. Hopkin, M, "Contraceptive pill 'does not cause weight gain'.". in Nature, , 2006.
  2. Gupta, S, "Weight gain on the combined pill--is it real?.". in Human Reproduction Update, 6, 2000, 427-431.
  3. Carpenter, S, & L Neinstein, "Weight gain in adolescent and young adult oral contraceptive users.". in Journal of Adolescent Health Care, 7, 1986, 342-344.
  4. Rosenberg, M, "Weight change with oral contraceptive use and during the menstrual cycle.". in Contraception, 58, 1998, 345-349.
  5. Gilliam, M, M Warden, C Goldstein, & B Tapia, "Concerns about contraceptive side effects among young Latinas: A focus-group approach.". in Contraception, 70, 2004, 299-305. 
  6. Web MD, ‘Birth Control Pills,’ Web MD, Accessed 21st August 2019
  7. Medline Plus, ‘Birth control pills – Overview’, Medline Plus,, Accessed 21st August 2019
  8. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Contraceptive Use’, CDC, Accessed 21st August 2019

Buy birth control from Medzino, a discreet and convenient service to save you hassle


Complete a quick consultation, choose a FDA
approved treatment and get it shipped for free.

Free shipping on all orders

Your trusted online doctor

Free shipping on all orders
Order now for delivery on Wednesday