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TOPIC: Tips for losing weight on birth control pills

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October 11, 2013 7:07 AM
I think that this is very much a person-to-person and medicine-to-medicine thing - both the possible hormonal weight gain and addressing it. The answer will be exercise and eating right - and finding the right pill/medicine for you.

I'm a HUGE fan of the Mirena (hormonal IUD). I don't have to remember to take anything at a certain time every day, it's a low-dose-localized hormone, and I don't need to do anything with it until I'm 30 (it's good for 5 years).

Also, I haven't had a period since December 2011. At first I thought this would be weird, as I'm one of those naturey-reusable-menstural pads-diva cup person (<3 the diva cup), but it turns out - not bleeding every month is pretty damned convenient.
Edited by aelphabawest On October 11, 2013 7:09 AM
November 9, 2013 8:42 AM
First, note that Lo Loestrin Fe is an entirely different pill than Loestrin 24 Fe. That being said, I was on Lo Loestrin Fe for about six months, and I gained somewhere close to 15 lbs. No changes in diet or exercise, yet the weight piled on. Now, I was given sample packs over those months because my doctor wanted to be sure that it wouldn't affect my blood sugar (T1 Diabetic) or cause blood clots before I started using the prescription. It turned out that insurance won't cover Lo Loestrin Fe (it's fairly new on the market compared to various other pills, & it's considered a so called "designer pill", which insurance companies generally refuse to cover), and unfortunately there is no generic equivalent as it's the lowest you can get. On top of the weight gain I was also getting nauseous in the mornings after i took the pill regardless of whether I ate or not. And then of course, it stopped my periods completely, a very unnerving experience.
So they switched me to Sprintec, which I've been on for three weeks, and I've already begun to drop down to my normal weight. I'm not super hungry and I have a normal appetite. I can't really recommend one pill over the other, however, because everyone's body is different, and that's clear by the number of different pills available. The best bet is to start with a low dose pill and see what works, and don't ever be afraid to just call your doctor to ask if you think you're experiencing side-effects. They're there to help you find the best pill for your body.
November 9, 2013 9:07 AM
I have the depo provera injection. I have lost weight successfully. Some women say monthly fluctuations affect hunger. I find the depo wipes all those problems out. But if anyone chooses this method. Be warned, it took me ages to get pregnant after coming off of it so bare that in mind.
December 3, 2013 10:47 AM
I know this is an older forum, but wanted to add in my experience. I am on lo-loestrin Fe (for about 3 years now) and I love it--as far as birth control goes. My skin went crazy (i have been put on "Clindomycin-T" and if I use it daily, my skin is clear) and the first few months I had very large, painful bumps on my shins (this is not a common side effect to lo-loestrin FE, but I have seen it listed by other people, and a reaction was the only cause). After 3 months the bumps went away, and since then I have been okay. No migraines, no periods whatsoever, and not too moody (all a vast improvement over the other 6 pills I've tried).

However--I have been tested recently and have found that since being on a form of birth control for nearly 9 years straight, my natural progesterone levels are non-existent. This means I am estrogen dominant and therefore have gained about 12 pounds in 9 years, despite eating very healthy and working out. Symptoms of estrogen dominance are weight gain in the midsection, tiredness, irritability, sluggish metabolism, and painful swollen breasts. I have all of these symptoms, and a test confirmed my progesterone levels are low. Progesterone is not supplied naturally by birth control (Progestin is--which is entirely different), and sometimes women's body's will stop naturally making progesterone on its own when ovulation is suppressed for many months. I am now using a progesterone cream in combination with birth control, and have lost about 8 pounds in 3 months while continuing my normal routine. Many doctors told me weight gain was all in my head, and that I probably am just reacting to age, since I am getting closer to 30 (currently 27), but I knew that they were just not willing to investigate, so I decided to research myself and finally found a doctor willing to give me a hormone level test.

I am not saying this to scare anyone or to promote one birth control over another, but when people say that 'birth control cannot make you gain weight' , I think they need to really look at a much larger picture over a very extended period of time. The body is a very complex machine, and often altering one chemical component can drastically change the body's own regulatory reactions, which can affect many aspects of health, including weight. Please-please do your own research on these things,and do not solely listen to standard practitioners and those who tout their 'black and white ' claims. The body can be altered by the moon-phases, food we eat, chemicals in our environment, and certainly anytime we dump 30mg of fake estrogen into our body. Society wants us to think that all medications are safe and do not have adverse side affects, but this is simply not the case. Having worked very closely with psychiatric patients in my career, I know how difficult side effects can be, and they are not the same for everyone, and are certainly not 'a result of not trying enough to lose weight or hypochondria'. Side effects result because we are putting laboratory made chemicals into our bodies daily, and while they I am very thankful for birth control-there is no way to manipulate the body so strongly without some type of side effect.
December 3, 2013 11:44 AM
Birth control causes weight gain two ways:
1.) You retain a bit of water and although the number on the scale goes up, you don't look any different.
2.) Some may increase appetite. Mine makes me crave salty junk food even though I never ate it before. If you indulge those cravings too much, obviously you will gain weight.

Edited to address the post above mine: Some people have odd reactions and there are extreme (but rare) side effects that a small percentage of people experience. But generally speaking, birth control doesn't cause weight gain aside from what is mentioned above.
Edited by F00LofaT00K On December 3, 2013 11:56 AM
December 3, 2013 11:54 AM
I've taken Yasmin on and off since I "became a woman." I've been on it solid for the last 5 years. I didn't have an issue with weight gain when I started and I haven't had any weight loss problems since I started working on it. I did stall for about 3 weeks when I skipped my period. I normally don't skip but I was going to be in Vegas and I didn't want to worry about that too. Once I started my next cycle, I lost almost 4 pounds in just a few days.
December 3, 2013 12:07 PM
the injection made me lose weight because i was so depressed I skipped dinner every night and just curled up in bed as early as 6pm some nights. I also bled for weeks straight...never again. The mini pill made me put on weight, not the pill itself but it made me depressed and hormonal so i just ate crap all the time : ( too scared to try anything else now as I am doing well and dont wanna screw that up
December 3, 2013 12:21 PM
I've been on loads of different pills (kept switching because of issues such as acne) and its never made me gain weight. None of my friends have gained weight on the pill either.

Like most people have said, it doesn't directly cause weight gain it can just make you more hungry.
December 3, 2013 12:34 PM
I've been on Apri (aka Mircette, Desogen, Cyclessa, etc) for over a decade now (good heavens). As far as I can tell it hasn't affected my weight any. Can't speak as to how it affected appetite - I can't really recall.

It HAS affected the amount of sleep I seem to need, though.
December 3, 2013 6:47 PM
The pill itself won't make you gain weight or stop you from losing weight but it does play with your hormones which can cause you to crave more foods and if you are not aware of this you can be mindlessly overeating. I have been on the pill the whole time I have been losing and I have not noticed any negate effects on my weight loss. If I crave something I wait a bit because the craving will usually pass. If it doesn't I allow myself a small amount of what I crave as long as it fits in my calories. Working out regularly also helps to regulate your mood and hormones. Just listen to your body and talk to your doctor about your concerns.
February 26, 2014 12:24 PM
I've been looking into this because I started Sprintec 2 and a half weeks ago and in that 2 and a half weeks I've gained 5 pounds. I track my calories and macros closely and exercise religiously. I have no idea if it's water weight or fat but it's extremely discouraging and I understand where people are coming from. I think it's stupid to call bull**** on someone that has gained weight since they got on BC.
March 13, 2014 9:25 AM
I was on Loestrin before and found it near impossible to lose weight. I didn't gain, but I could not lose at all and I was eating healthy and working out. I am about to start Sprintec and hope that I will be able to post something positive in here soon!
March 19, 2014 11:44 AM
It's definitely not a myth and birth control pills effect everyone differently. I went on a diet and exercise program 3 years ago and lost 30lbs. I've gained it back after having a baby and have been on birth control pills for a year. I have been following the same diet and exercising program for a few months and have barely lost 4lbs. The only difference is the BCP's so to me that's the problem. Maybe it's causing me to lose weight slower. I think i'm just going to get an IUD.
March 19, 2014 11:56 AM

Ok, first of all the doctor's you have talked to are quacks, because I have been on birth control since I hit puberty, and nothing makes my weight fluctuate like birth control. I have taken Lo esterine Fe before, and it did affect my weight. I gained 40lbs in 2 months, and considering I am already overweight, I didn't need that pill to help me in that department. I have been taking Orthotricyclen Lo for the last almost 3 years. This is the only pill that hasn't messed with my weight. My weight has been pretty consistant since I started it, until now because I am trying to lose it lol...well I hope that helps!

I had the same experience on multiple pills. I was in perfect health/weight when I started the pill. I gained 45lbs in a matter of months. (I was only 16 year old when it happened so my metabolic rate was not the problem.) I started working out & dieting but I ended up having to get off the meds to start losing weight.

It depends how your body reacts to the hormones. However, it is VERY possible you will start gaining weight. To be honest, no birth control pill is all that good for you. It is just the nature of the drug.
March 19, 2014 12:03 PM

The pill itself won't make you gain weight or stop you from losing weight but it does play with your hormones which can cause you to crave more foods and if you are not aware of this you can be mindlessly overeating. I have been on the pill the whole time I have been losing and I have not noticed any negate effects on my weight loss. If I crave something I wait a bit because the craving will usually pass. If it doesn't I allow myself a small amount of what I crave as long as it fits in my calories. Working out regularly also helps to regulate your mood and hormones. Just listen to your body and talk to your doctor about your concerns.

This is NOT true. I was a 16 year-old & I gained 45 pounds from EATING LESS AND HEALTHIER when on the pill. Synthetic hormones will LITERALLY put weight on you as well as affect your mood. (and long list of other side-effects) Often times, the doc will not be completely honest with you about all of the side-effects. (I know mine was not.) It pays them to sell more pharmaceuticals. Just saying.
June 25, 2014 7:08 PM
I have been on the pill for less than a week and holy crap! Today I ate more than I usually do in a week... I don't know why but it does make you crave food. For me especially sugar. Also, I don't seem to feel full. I think if this keeps up I will stop taking it. My Dr. said its a myth that it makes you gain weight - but now reading the majority of these posts, I disagree with my Dr.
Edited by frostedcherry06 On June 25, 2014 7:09 PM
June 26, 2014 1:17 AM
It's a total myth that the pill makes you gain. I lost 10kg when I got on the pill. The only reason I gained since was eating badly and not exercising enough. I'm still on the pill and now I'm losing again.
July 29, 2014 1:15 PM
A few months ago I ran out of BC and so I stopped taking it. Up until that point I had been on a great weight loss track, losing 40lbs, all while being on the pill. I don't know if it was related, but when I stopped the pill I started gaining weight. (It very well could also be me "falling off the wagon" with my eating, although I was exercising more). I just got a refill (FINALLY!) and I'm hoping to see a decrease in my weight. I know it usually goes the other way around but with this pill (Ortho cept) I never had an issue losing weight. Good luck!
July 29, 2014 1:17 PM
Also to the people saying the pill doesn't affect your weight: everyone is different. But adding hormones to your body will have some affect, it just depends on how it manifests. People with PCOS who have hormones issues have a VERY difficult time losing weight, and BC is supposed to help with that. So don't flat out say "gaining weight on the pill is a myth".
July 29, 2014 1:22 PM
Up until last month I was on the pill. I had no problem losing whilst on it, my blip started when I came off it.
July 29, 2014 1:24 PM
I've been on cyclessa for close to 10 years and have never felt that it lead me to gain or lose weight at all.
July 29, 2014 1:37 PM

When I first started the pill, I was ravenously hungry all the time. The first month, all I wanted to do was eat and sleep. That feeling went away though!

The pill hasn't made me gain any weight. What I have noticed though, is that it seems a lot easier to lose weight when I'm on the withdrawal week. I usually lose a couple of pounds pretty easily during that week. Because it seems easier to lose, I'll work out a little bit harder on the off week to reap the benefits! I think I might look a bit more bloated as well while on the pill. But it's just water!

Anyone else find that it's easier to lose weight on the pill-free week?

i don't think i've found that is easier to lose on the pill-free week, but I do have less of an appetite that week. I've always thought it was due to cramping and a general "I feel gross" feeling though.
August 23, 2014 11:45 AM
I noticed every body reacts differently to birth control , and you'll never know how it will react with you . My doctor room the same birth control as me , never gained weight and could lose weight , however I gained 25 pounds from it without changing my lifestyle. And can't lose weight for the life of me
August 23, 2014 1:02 PM
Try it, whilst maintaining your diet and exercise as they are currently, and if you gain a significant amount of weight after a couple of months, go back to your doctor and see what they suggest.

I've been on Loestrin 20 since I was 18 (nearly 8 years now) and don't think it's had any impact on my weight. My weight has fluctuated over those years but that's been down to lifestyle changes - I have both gained and lost weight without trying at times on the pill, and have now just started trying to lose weight again and it seems to be working OK.

The only other side effects I've had are on my periods - I get very light periods that only last a couple of days, no cramps, no bloated feeling or mood swings, but I also get breakthrough bleeding.

Hormonal contraception seems to affect everyone differently, but there are lots of different products so if the first one you try doesn't suit you, go back and ask your doctor to change it.
August 23, 2014 1:07 PM

I think it's a myth, and I think people use it as an excuse. I am on Tri-cyclen and I haven't had an issue losing weight.

This. From WebMD " a review of 44 studies showed no evidence that birth control pills caused weight gain in most users."


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