Contraception And Weight Gain-Are they related?
Times have really changed and on one hand as technological advancement has given us whole lot of control over our lives there on the other hand life has become little complicated too. Reasons are quite obvious as we have less physical work to do and more of unhealthy packed food to eat. Comfort is what we keep looking for in our daily lives including food. Nothing comes without a price. My both sets of grandparents had 7 and 8 children each including my parents; no prize for guessing that either they didn’t believe in birth control or were pretty ignorant.
If we analyse their situation and times, then we will realise that there was hardly any awareness about birth control methods and most of the women were home makers, for whom bearing children was supposed to be their one of the most important duties. It was in 1951 that birth control movement got started in India but people thought of adopting birth control methods after they had a complete happy family of four children minimum. All said and done one thing was wonderful that despite of bearing minimum four to five kids those women never put on any weight, something we modern women always complain about..” I put on weight after delivery”, is the most common utterance among today’s women.
I think, the amount of household work these old women used to do throughout the day was the key point for them not putting on the weight. I have seen my grand moms feeling uncomfortable sitting and resting during daytime even at the age of 80. Of course, these women had no household help for cleaning swapping swabbing and laundry. Everyone depended on them and kept them on their toes. So where would have the weight come from? And yes not to forget the poor financial conditions of the six to ten members family with just one earning member; so the least amount of food the person in the family who got was always the poor mother. Those women struggled to get enough food just to stay alive. And what we are doing now, trying to keep our weight in a healthy range, by being careful about diet, exercise, sleep, supplements etc.
Today’s woman is career oriented women with goals to achieve in her professional life and for that matter she cannot afford to have any or more than two babies. Okay now for that she is generally not relying on her partner and adopting measures to keep herself free of any commitment of child bearing and being a mother. At this point one question that pops up often is whether contraception is making weight management harder. Stress, anxiety as it is almost killing the ambitious lot and on top of that a woman trying to figure out what is best for her body, is really challenging.
Contraception and weight issues
One thing that we need to keep in mind very clearly about modern women is whatever you say normal healthy women gain weight during the fertile years with or without contraception. But yes once they begin using contraception chances of gaining weight become higher and brighter. That can be called the side effect of contraception especially which affect the hormonal system of our body.
Pregnancy and childbearing leave such great impact on our bodies that we are forced to ask one question undeniably ” What will be its side effect?” Today’s most used method of contraception is pill which is considered to be the biggest cause of weight gain. Though research available suggests that most contraceptives have little effect on weight of course with a few very important exceptions. Lets take a look at the most popular contraception methods.
The copper IUD is completely non-hormonal. This means that, despite some insertion and adjustment issues , it is for those women who don’t want any artificial hormones. Its effect on weight is very little and inconsistent. For most Indian women, Copper-T is the most popularly used IUD. The newer generation IUDs contain hormones that are slowly released into the uterus.
Birth control ring
This is a soft, flexible ring that has to be inserted into the vagina and works by releasing hormones similar to those in the pill. But unlike the pill, the ring is effective for 3 weeks, so it does not have to be changed every day. It is widely believed by women and doctors alike that the pill and related combination contraceptives cause weight gain.
Depot contraceptive injections
Instead of taking a pill every day, contraceptive hormones are given as intramuscular injections. Depot Provera, an injection containing is effective for about 150 days. Periods do not occur while on this birth control method but is considered bad news for weight conscious women. When compared to IUD users, women using Depo-Provera gained an extra pound a year on average. (Is that really that serious?) But some women’s bodies react quite differently, with weight gain that over time is unhealthy. It now appears that any woman who gains 5 percent of her body weight in the first six months on the shot can face risk for contraception related weight gain and should consider alternate method.
Is it a myth that pill makes you gain weight?
Despite of all hear say the truth is that your weight gain due to contraception might depend on your prescription. In 2011, a research conducted at the Cochran Database System Review analyzed around fifty studies comparing various birth control methods and found no evidence that contraception methods cause weight gain. However, a 2009 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women using the Depo-Provera shot gained an average of 11 pounds and increased their body fat by 3.4 percent over three years, though they’re not sure what caused this effect.
What should you do?
If you are worried about gaining weight, it is important to talk to the doctor about the best option for you. Each woman is different and each body responds in a different way to hormones. Some women feel have terrible periods while some of us just breeze through. Some women gain just a few pounds during pregnancy while some gain a third or even half of their body weight. It is to be understood that there are differences in how we respond to hormonal contraceptives as well, and you need to listen to your own mind and body.
It won’t be wrong in pointing that it always helps to update our knowledge, since technology and research are constantly changing.
The bad news!
Well the bad news about contraception is that though it isn’t the good explanation for those frustrating extra pounds yet you are likely to gain some weight over the next decade regardless of contraception or not.
And the good news!
The great news about contraception is that we have good options when it comes to managing our fertility and are better off than our mothers or even grandmothers. There is this new birth pill very interestingly named ‘Yasmin’ that can actually help you lose weight instead of gaining. This is one contraceptive pill which does not cause weight gain, headaches or mood swings. Its makers claim that it can also improve skin and relieve premenstrual syndrome. One medical study has found that women taking Yasmin have, in fact, lost weight within the first year of taking it. Yasmin sold out within two weeks when it was launched in the U.S. and Germany .
Most of the women give up pill as contraceptive due to weight gain and side effects such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, spots, mood swings and greasy skin. But this new pill seems to be quite different. The secret of Yasmin’s success lies in its hormonal formula which is based on a new form of progestogen – drosperinone – which mimics the body’s own hormones and acts as a diuretic.
All said and done what we can understand is that Yasmin is already available in India but whatever method of contraception you adopt, to keep your weight controlled you will have to eat healthy and move. So get up get moving and after that … go to your bedroom. 😛
Do you think contraception has any direct link with weight gain?
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