Choosing your type of birth control is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. And unfortunately, it’s not an easy one to make. That being said, there are many different methods of contraception to choose from that vary in terms of effectiveness, methodology, hormone levels, and more. When it comes to deciding which birth control works for you, research is an imperative part of the process, but can be challenging as there are myths all over the Internet surrounding the different kinds.
This is one of the reasons that proper sex education classes are imperative, as it’s typically our first introduction to the big bad world of contraception. Sadly, reliable sex education is not especially common, with Healthline reporting that only 33 percent of people between 18 and 29 years old reported having any form of sex education. And of the young people who have received a sex education, about 23 percent of public schools in the US teach abstinence-only sex education, according to ABC News.
All of this is to say that understanding birth control and their subsequent side effects can be difficult, there are some myths that need to be debunked, including the likelihood of weight gain.
It is not abnormal to have side effects from contraception
One of the most common ways that contraception works is by balancing and controlling our hormones. While this has been proven to be a pretty effective way to prevent pregnancy (via the CDC), it should come as no surprise that it also comes with its fair share of side effects. Some of the most common forms of hormonal birth controls are the pill, the patch, the ring, a birth control shot, and IUD (intrauterine device), and the implant. There are also non-hormonal options of most of these methodologies, as well (via Healthline) which are generally just as effective, but they don’t touch the body’s hormones which simply works best for some bodies.
Some of the most common side effects of hormonal birth control include spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches, mood changes, missed periods, and a few other symptoms (via Medical News Today). However, weight gain is, fortunately, not as common as you’d think.
Research suggests that you probably won't gain weight from your birth control
It’s super important to remember that our hormones are incredibly individualistic, and birth control can affect everyone differently. That being said, one of the biggest myths of taking hormonal birth control is that you will gain weight. Chances are, you’ve heard this myth through the grapevine, or anecdotally through your sister’s friend’s cousin. But we’re here to tell you that gaining weight from contraception is actually uncommon. Web MD says it’s pretty rare, in fact. “A review of 44 studies showed no evidence that birth control pills caused weight gain in most women. And, as with other possible side effects of the pill, any weight gain is generally minimal and goes away within 2 to 3 months” (via WebMD).
Additionally, according to the BBC, birth control plays more of a part in changing how our body stores fat, than actually leading to weight gain. According to Cochrane, most birth control studies showed minimal weight difference, and for the people who did experience a change, it was small enough that they didn’t stop using the birth control (via Cochrane).
So if you’ve been thinking of starting hormonal contraception but fear the possibility of extra poundage? Fear no longer!
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