Do contraceptives make you obese?

There is a feeling that hormones lead to weight gain and make you become overweight or even obese. Among these  are hormonal contraceptives: oral, transdermal (patches), injectable, and the vaginal ring. This influences affects many potential users in terms of their decision whether to use them as a contraceptive method or as a treatment for correcting some gynecological condition: functional ovarian cyst, polycystic ovaries, hirsutism, acne.

Hormonal contraceptives often contain  two types of hormones: an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a synthetic progesterone (progestin).  Remember that a woman’s ovaries produce precisely these same hormones: estradiol and progesterone.

Hormonal contraceptives act by slowing down the action of the ovaries, thus minimizing the production of hormones and inhibiting ovulation.

What effect do oral contraceptives have on women’s weight? The effect on the weight will depend on three factors:

  1. Moods changes. On rare occasions  contraceptives cause mood swings  that will result in an increase in appetite.
  2. Excess estrogen.  Contraceptives that contain a high level of estrogen (30 to 50 ug) can cause  a fluid retention that becomes more apparent in the days prior to menstruation. This ‘extra’ amount of water  usually disappears once the menstrual period starts.
  3. Type of progestins. Depending on the type of progestin that they contain, some hormonal contraceptives  can cause  greater fluid retention before menstruation. 

Maybe you’ve heard that some brands of contraceptives make you lose weight. In this respect, I have to be emphatic: no contraceptive helps you lose weight. There are other treatments to lose weight

What effect do oral contraceptives have on cellulite?

Almost all oral contraceptives tend to increase it. This happens as a result of the excessive of ethinyl estradiol and its intermediate products (metabolites) that are produced when it passes through the liver.

To avoid this from happening, it may be worthwhile to consider contraceptives with low doses of ethinyl estradiol (20 or 15 ug), or (else use a different route -not oral- to avoid passage through the liver (transdermal patch or vaginal ring). Also, the newly released pills newest pills contain no ethinyl estradiol, but rather natural estradiol, which probably produces less or no cellulite