Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team

Many women are hesitant to go on hormonal birth control because they are afraid it will make them gain weight. In this article, Dr Sophia Yen, CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, discusses whether the birth control pill, patch, and ring can cause weight gain. 

The bottom line? Birth control pills, the birth control ring, and the birth control patch do not make you gain weight. 

Have no fear! Here’s what the research shows and what Dr. Yen says you can do to avoid gaining weight on hormonal birth control. 

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Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health headshot

Can birth control make you gain weight?

One research study put 50 women on the birth control pill and 50 women not on the birth control pill. The 50 women who were NOT on the birth control pill, on average, weighed 1 pound more. Because women NOT on the pill bloated up and bloated down with their natural period, whereas the women ON the birth control pill experienced none of that, and their life and hormones were smooth, smooth, smooth. They didn’t bloat up, they didn’t bloat down, and weighed (on average) 1 pound less.

Not 1 pound a week or 1 pound a month. Just 1 pound – because they didn’t bloat up and bloat down.

Why does birth control cause weight gain?

However, there is a hormone in combined oral birth control pills, patch, and ring called progesterone, which I think of as the “male hormone”, and sometimes that affects different women differently.

Some women may respond to that hormone with the munchies, and it’s all how you respond to the munchies.

If you’re a person who responds to the munchies with French fries and chips, then you’re going to gain some weight. But, if you’re a person who responds to the munchies with diet soda and sugar-free gum, then you’ll be fine.

But, most women on the birth control pill, patch or ring do NOT gain weight. So don’t worry about it.

Read our in-depth article on weight gain and birth control for more information on the relationship between weight gain and birth control and how you can manage this potential side effect.

How Can Pandia Help? 

When you’re ready to start taking birth control, Pandia Health is here to help. We pride ourselves on prescribing birth control based on the ‘Pandia Health algorithm’, which considers several factors, including age, ethnicity, BMI, and your personal medical history. All these factors can influence your body’s reaction to birth control.

With just one $25 payment a year, you can get access to our expert doctors (available in these states) for 364 days. To change your birth control or get started on the right birth control for you, get in touch today.

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The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.