The Real Reason Being On Birth Control Can Make You Gain Weight

While weight gain is a common concern among women looking to start hormonal birth control, it is actually pretty rare. According to WebMD, more than 40 studies have shown no direct link between birth control and weight gain. Instead, weight gain is often a temporary side effect caused by water retention.

Hormonal birth control increases estrogen levels in the body, which can also cause water retention. Most pills available today, though, do not contain estrogen levels high enough to cause actual weight gain. Current birth control pills only contain 20 to 50 micrograms of estrogen, according to Healthline.

So while some women can gain a few pounds within the first three months or so of starting birth control, it is most often water weight, not body fat. Estrogen levels vary from pill to pill, so if you're worried about water weight, you can ask your doctor to start you on a different pill or simply switch to a lower dose.

Potential causes of weight gain and how to manage them

It is not uncommon for people to begin using the pill during a time in their lives that coincides with changes in weight. If you do gain more weight than you'd like to, it may be due to lifestyle and environmental factors.

"In adolescence or when they go off to college is when most women start the Pill, and these are also times when young women tend to gain weight. I think it's important to really look at what's happening," Dr. Sherry Ross at Providence Saint John's Health Center in California toldĀ Health.

Any changes in diet, daily routine, and exercise can cause weight gain or weight fluctuation. Changes in your body's natural metabolism can also lead to significant changes in weight. If you feel you need to take steps to manage your weight gain, you can try going to the gym on a regular basis and eating a healthy and balanced diet.