Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Christal
Birth control will not make you fat.
Somehow through all the grapevine that is social media, we all have heard that getting on birth control makes you fat. However, in a study by American Academy of Family Physicians concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the common belief that use of combination oral contraceptives and patches is associated with significant weight gain. In another study where they put 50 women on the pill and 50 women not on the pill, the women on the pill LOST on average 1 pound. Not a pound a week, not a pound a month, just 1 pound. And this is because the women not on the pill have menses and they bloat up and bloat down and weigh 1 pound more because of bloat.
You will definitely experience different side effects like mood swings, breast tenderness and nausea, but weight gain is rare. Some women experience the munchies while taking the pill and others do not. Each individual is different. There are 7 different progesterones you can try and it might be the dose of estrogen that’s affecting your munchies which can be lowered. If you think your pill is making you gain weight, then tell your doctor and try a different formulation.
Birth control pills do not cause cancer.
The Birth control pills actually DECREASE your chance of endometrial and ovarian cancer. Taking birth control pills is actually the only way to decrease you chance of ovarian cancer (that we know of) other than taking out your ovaries. However, if you already have breast cancer or liver cancer, the pills can make it worse. There is an association of birth control pills and breast cancer, but it is not a causation. i.e. Women who delay having kids until they are older increase their chance of breast cancer. Women who are the pill delay having kids. We do know that delaying having kids causes breast cancer, so we think that is most likely what is going with birth control pills and breast cancer. Here is a good link to read: Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk
Birth control can actually stop your period.
Yes you read right. You can turn off your periods with the birth control pill/patch/ring.
The only reason that we build the lining of our uterus every month and pop out an egg (ovulation) is to make a baby. On average in the US, periods start at 12 years old and women have their first baby by 26. If we aren’t going to make a baby, then why bother with the process of building the lining of our uterus and popping an egg every month? Every time we shed our lining and pop out an egg unnecessarily, it adds to the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer. It would essentially be 14 years of monthly periods for no good reason. So you can turn those off with the pill/patch/ring or IUD with hormones by skipping the sugar pills/continuously putting on a new patch every week/inserting a new ring every 3 weeks.
Usually you can get to 3 months with no periods and then you get some spotting. When you get spotting, come off the pills for 5 days (you’ll get your period) then go back on the 6th day regardless of being on or off your period. Each time you’ll go farther e.g. 1st time get to 3 months with no period, then 6 months, then 1 yr, then no more periods.
You can read about John Rock – one of the inventors of the pill – and how he made this conclusion.
Birth control will not make you infertile.
Many of my friends believe that taking birth control will affect their ability to get pregnant when they are older. This is not true. The pill/patch/ring are reversible birth control methods that will help prevent pregnancy while you’re using them, but none of those have long-lasting effects. In fact, women under 30 are so fertile that if they accidentally forget to take their daily dosage, they can get pregnant that month!
A study from 2007 of over 2,000 women who quit the Pill after using it for an average of seven years found that 21% were pregnant in one month and 79% were pregnant in a year. Women who quit the Pill get pregnant just as fast as other women, even if they’ve used the Pill for years. Women who quit the patch, ring, or IUD get pregnant at similar rates. This means you don’t have to worry, you’ll be fertile.
Birth control is not free.
Let’s get this right. Under the Affordable Care Act that was passed in 2010, private insurance plans are required to offer their female employees birth control without copays or deductibles. While the ACA has changed the way women can get birth control that doesn’t mean all birth control is now free. Most generic brands of the pill, patch, and injections are available to women without a copay, but if you’re on a specific brand name drug, say Lo Loestrin Fe, you will still have to pay out of pocket. Same goes for IUDs and NuvaRing. In addition, some religious organizations don’t need to provide birth control to their employees, and some women may need to renew their plan before they can reap the benefits. The best way to find out what your plan covers is by checking with your employer or insurance agency. If it turns out that your medication is not covered, you can try CoverHer.org to see if they can help you.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.