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Does the Pill Make You Fat?

Pill Woes: Women Are Getting Pregnant to Avoid Getting Fat

According to a new report, concern about weight gain is one of the biggest reasons women quit taking the pill. Then some of these women are getting pregnant, which is a bit counterproductive if you're trying to not pack on the pounds. But the myth that the pill causes weight gain is just that, a myth, fueled by horror stories and false information, says the lead author of the paper. Studies show that oral contraception doesn't make you gain weight, and it may even cause you to lose weight.

While the warning labels on the pill's box may list weight gain as a side effect, these lists aren't always trustworthy. They list side effects anyone taking the medication in a trial believed they had, and the reasons for weight gain are difficult to pinpoint. In controlled studies there wasn't a big difference between the side effects women who took the pill had compared to those who took a placebo — spotting and bleeding in between periods are the most common.

Scientists say that a major factor in women believing they'll get fat on the pill is the "nocebo effect," aka the power of suggestion. If we think we might gain weight on the pill, we will. What has your personal experience been with the pill? And has a fear of gaining weight ever prevented you from taking the contraceptive?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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