How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight After Stopping Birth Control?

Hormonal birth control is one of the most popular forms of birth control on the market, but it can cause unwanted side effects, with many women reporting weight gain.

If you gained weight while taking hormonal birth control, it might have encouraged you to stop. You may now be wondering if and when you will start to see the weight drop back off. This guide will help you understand how birth control affects body weight and what changes you can expect to see after stopping.

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Birth control and weight gain

Birth control and body weight can be tricky issues. While there are many anecdotal instances of people experiencing weight gain when taking hormonal contraception, research isn’t conclusive. In fact, no study has explored weight gain in relation to hormonal contraception specifically.

A study updated in 2017 found that weight gain due to hormonal contraception was unlikely, but the authors didn’t rule out the possibility that some women might experience it¹. A different study found that for women taking hormonal birth control, there seemed to be no effect on their weight at all².

Ultimately, some women will experience weight gain when taking birth control, and others will not. When someone does gain weight, it is also difficult to know if this is due to contraception or other factors like aging¹.

We do know that weight gain during contraceptive use can be caused by:

  • Fluid retention 

  • An increase in muscle tissue 

  • An increase in body fat¹

Will stopping birth control help you to lose weight?

Despite inconclusive research, there are still plenty of women out there who notice weight gain while taking birth control. There is, however, no guarantee that you will lose weight when you stop taking it.

Once you stop taking birth control, you may notice that you drop a pound or two within a few weeks as fluid retention decreases, but it is unlikely that you will lose a substantial amount of weight, if any at all.

How to lose weight after stopping birth control

If your goal is to lose weight, making changes to your diet and increasing the amount of exercise you do will offer much more significant results than stopping hormonal birth control. Here are some effective weight-loss ideas:

Consume a healthy and nutritious diet

Consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet and monitoring your calorie intake can aid in weight loss. Reducing your calorie intake by 500 a day is a good way to kickstart weight loss³. This is achievable by switching low-nutrient, high-calorie foods with low-calorie, nutrient-dense alternatives. Portion control is another good way to manage your weight and shed unwanted pounds.

Get active

Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and burns calories. Incorporating 30 minutes of aerobic exercise into your daily routine can help you lose weight and keep your heart and muscles healthy.

Low-impact activities include swimming, dancing, or even just going for a brisk walk. You can work your way up to running, cycling, and interval training which can burn lots of calories fast.

Take care of your mental health

Your mental well-being can impact your weight, so consider whether you are using food to help you feel better.

If you are struggling with your mental health, speak to your doctor or reach out to a mental health professional to get you back on track to a healthier mind and body.

Birth control alternatives

If you have stopped taking hormonal contraception because of weight gain, there are many alternatives that you might like to try — both hormonal and non-hormonal.

Other forms of hormonal birth control include:

  • Hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)

  • Implant

  • Vaginal ring

Note that these methods contain hormones that are similar to those in the contraceptive pill, so you may still experience weight gain.

Non-hormonal birth control methods include:

  • Condoms

  • Diaphragms (silicone domes that are inserted into the vagina before sex to block sperm) 

  • Copper IUDs (long-lasting devices containing copper that creates a toxic environment in the uterus for sperm)

  • Cervical cap (fits over the cervix and stops sperm from reaching the egg)

  • Birth control sponges (contain spermicide and are inserted to cover the cervix before sex)

The lowdown

Weight gain is a potential side effect of hormonal contraception that has been reported by many women, although research has not shown a conclusive link between weight gain and birth control.

If you are worried that your birth control is causing you to gain weight, you might want to try an alternative form of birth control. Ultimately, there are more effective ways to help combat weight gains, such as through diet and exercise.

Have you considered clinical trials for Weight management?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Weight management, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

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