Does The Pill Make You Fat? / by Dr. Natalia P Zhikhareva

Oh the pill!  One of the many different methods of birth control available today still feared by women.  No need to wonder why – as most myth goes – this one is due to the half-truths and misconception that this method of contraception leads to weight gain. 

The magical pill was a big hit when it became available in the early 1960s.  Over 50 years later, it is still one of the most popular methods of birth control!

This oral method of birth control – when taken correctly – is up to 99.9% effective.  Those are some precise percentages!  Exactly how does hormonal contraception work?

The birth control pill contains a small amount of man-made estrogen and progestin hormones.  These hormones work to inhibit the body’s natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. 

Pregnancy is prevented by combination of factors:

  • The hormones in the pill usually stop the body from ovulating.
  • Hormones also change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to go through the cervix and find the egg.
  • Hormone can also prevent pregnancy by changing the lining of the womb so it’s unlikely the fertilized egg will be implanted.

So what’s all the hype over the weight gain?

As history dictates, when the pill was first sold – recall early 1960s aka “Mad Men” era – they had very high levels of estrogen and progestin.  Just how high?  Nearly 1,000 times more hormones than most women needed! 

Hence fat enters.

Estrogen in high doses can cause weight gain due to increased appetite and fluid retention.  Leading to the birth of myth equating birth control pill with the weight gain in women.  Now that's one fat myth!

Rest assured today’s magical pill has much lower amount of hormones and remains one of the most effective – remember the 99.9% - forms of birth control.  When in doubt, always ask your doctor!


WebMD Birth Control Health Center.

Dare to bare and share your experience with the birth control and the myth of weight gain?