The birth control pill or “pill” is used to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
The birth control pill or “pill” is used to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Over the years, the pill has been accused of causing weight gain, sexual desire and even affecting the skin in a bad way. Which part is true? What part is a myth? Let’s find out.
The side effects of birth control pills are as follows:
- Weight gain or weight loss: Many women believe that the pill can cause weight gain, but there is no sustained evidence on this claim. However, the pill can alter the storage of body fat and therefore can change the shape of the body. For most women, it is very likely that any contraceptive tool, pills, vaginal rings or skin blemishes will not greatly affect their weight. Some women gain weight gradually over the years due to water retention or suspicion of fat storage. The research has shown very contradictory results. Some women have claimed to have gained weight, while some reported losing weight. Therefore, both weight gain and weight loss can be mentioned as possible side effects of birth control pills.
- Improves or worsens skin problems: Birth control pills can be used to treat the signs of hyperandrogenism. This is especially seen in women suffering from polycystic ovary disease (PCOD). Hyperandrogenism can cause excessive hair growth, excessive acne or hair loss in women. Birth control pills perfect the hormonal appearance of the body and prevent hyperandrogenism. Therefore, they can make the skin clearer, reduce facial hair and increase hair volume.
- Some women have the following skin problems while taking the pill:
- Reduces or increases acne formation: Combined birth control pills improve the ratio of estrogen to progesterone in the body. This helps with acne resistant, which is resistant to gels and creams for acne.
- Decrease or increase unwanted hair growth: Birth control pills cause the body to produce less androgenic hormones. With regular use of certain types of birth control pills (especially estrogen and anti-androgenic progestin combination), there will be less facial hair. However, some women reported that they had experienced an increase in facial hair growth. The estrogen component could help lower testosterone, which is also responsible for causing excessive growth of facial hair (known as hirsutism).
Consult your doctor for other conditions that may cause these problems, such as PCOD (hormonal disorder). Your doctor may switch to a different brand or method of birth control if the pills cause an allergic reaction.
Why do some gain weight during birth control?
Many women claim to gain weight because of birth control pills. However, women tend to gain weight due to one of the following changes.
- Fluid retention
- An increase in muscle tissue
- Increased body fat
Hormone birth control pills can contribute to weight gain (if they lead to fluid retention) and increase body fat. Some combined pills are said to increase appetite which can cause women to consume excess calories, which causes weight gain. However, it is not obvious why women who do not use hormonal birth control pills can also gain weight as they age. Rarely do some women weigh a little when they start taking birth control pills. It is often a temporary side effect that is due to fluid retention and not additional fats. Studies have shown no evidence of weight gain.
If you face side effects, such as weight gain, it will usually be minimal and will resolve within two to three months. There are two types of pills: the combination of estrogen with progestin and only progestin pills. Consult your doctor if you put a few pounds, the doctor may change the prescription.
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How does the birth control pill work for skin problems?
The combination of birth control pills suppresses a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) that stimulates the production of androgens (male hormones) and increases the binding substance of female sex hormones, globulin. This results in a decrease in free androgen levels, which leads to the improvement of acne and the reduction of excess hair growth. The hormone progestin is a weak androgen. The hormone estrogen can reduce the production of acne and androgens (male trait hormones that can make acne worse).
The action of combined birth control pills depends on their balance between estrogen and progestin (female trait hormone). In these pills, the effects of estrogen outweigh the effects of progestin, so it generally decreases androgen levels.
However, some older first- and second-generation progestins can sometimes activate the androgen receptor and can make acne breakouts worse. Therefore, consult your dermatologist before taking acne pills.
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Medically reviewed on 16/04/2021
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