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The Truth About This Questionable Side Effect Of The Birth Control Pill

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Photographed by Megan Madden.
A version of this article originally appeared on Shape.

Don't get us wrong — there are plenty of reasons to go off the pill. While your plans to have children or your relationship status are common factors to consider, a new study published in the journal Contraception has found another, much more surprising reason why many women are forgoing hormonal birth control for less effective methods of contraception. Simply put, they wish to avoid the weight gain that's come to be associated with the pill.

Related: How To Find The Best Birth Control For You
The study found that women who had concerns about gaining weight were much more likely to use non-hormonal forms of birth control. For some women, this meant using a copper IUD or condoms instead, while others adopted withdrawal as their main form of birth control. Some even reported having no go-to birth control plan at all.

The researchers noted that doctors need to be aware that their patients might be choosing their birth control based on whether or not they'll gain weight. This presents a natural opportunity to discuss all forms of effective birth control, and to remind their patients that it's a myth that the birth control pill leads to weight gain.
Related: 6 IUD Myths — Busted!

"Studies comparing large groups of women who take and do not take birth control have shown no difference in weight gain," gynaecologist Richard K. Krauss, MD, told Shape.

This brings us back to where we started — you can and should choose your preferred method of birth control however you see fit. As Bedsider notes, the relationship between the pill and weight gain is complex; it's true that large studies show that there's no direct link between the pill and weight gain overall, but that's not to say that individual variations are impossible. This means that the best advice is to choose the method that makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle. Still, knowing that weight change is at best a very unlikely side effect can keep you from prematurely ruling out options that may work really well for you.
Click through to Shape for more on maintaining your sexual health and well-being. (Shape)

Related: 8 Scary Condom Mistakes You Could Be Making
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