Is your birth control pill making you fat and sad?
Most general practitioners prescribe the contraceptive pill so freely that we almost believe that it doesn’t ‘count’ when it comes to being classified as a medication. Going back to my own teenage years a script was written at the first sign of a skin condition, irregular or a painful menstrual cycle or perhaps as a way to skip a cycle all together! We have somehow lost sense of what this is actually doing to our bodies and our minds. What is even more alarming is that we are led to believe that this is ‘fixing’ underlying hormonal imbalances.
Does the pill really make you fat?
The main culprit for weight gain is linked with the hormone ostrogen. Oestrogen promotes the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the body and depending upon which type of pill you take it is one of the main ingredients. It is hard to label any hormone good or bad but it is important to have the right ratios. The ratios are already difficult to manage with additional lifestyle stressors without adding synthetic hormones to the mix. The problem is that with too much oestrogen we can push our body towards what is known as oestrogen dominance which can cause fluid retention, painful periods, contribute to cellulite and make it hard to shift body weight particularly around your tummy hips and thighs.
The problem arises because oestrogen’s natural role is to store energy as fat as well as adding weight by increasing the bodies water retention. If you are putting extra oestrogen into your body in the form of the birth control pill then it’s only natural that you will experience this. Many women beat themselves up over it and can’t understand why despite dieting they simply can’t shift the bloat!
2. Increase appetite
The hormone oestrogen found in the pill can also be responsible for increasing your appetite. With an increased appetite comes the weight gain as you are consuming more food than you need. Also, it’s important to mention that there are some progestin-dominant birth control pills that can cause an increase in appetite and of course, more permanent weight gain.
3. The pill and mood disorders
There have been so many recorded instances of the pill causing mood disorders amongst women. Some being detrimental to their well-being, lives and ability to function in a relationship. The birth control pill can be responsible for turning women into monsters, emotional wrecks, crazy anxious and jealous versions of their former selves. It is often the cause of low libido which is a complete oxymoron to the outcome most women are looking for. The most likely explanation regarding the mood disorders would be to do with hormones. Many women experience mood changes throughout their natural menstrual cycle anyway, so pumping more hormones into your body makes it very possible to have even crazier mood swings. Some women may be very sensitive to the way these added hormones interact with their body and experience horrific mood swings.
Studies have also proven that there is a relationship between mood disorders and the pill. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen investigated health records of more than 1 million Danish women aged between 15 and 34.
It was discovered that those women taking the combined pill, which contains artificial versions of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone were a staggering 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than those not on hormonal contraception.
For women on the progestin-only pill, the number rose to 34%. It increased even further, to 80% more likely, for girls aged between 15 and 19 on the combined pill.