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Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo and Weight Gain

With many birth control pills, such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, weight gain is reported as a common side effect. However, studies show that weight gain may not be related to oral contraceptives. Even if birth control pills do cause this side effect, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo appears to be less likely to cause weight gain because it contains a lower dose of hormones than other pills.

Does Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo Cause Weight Gain?

Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo® (norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. Weight gain is probably not a true side effect of Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo (or of birth control pills in general). Even if birth control pills actually caused weight gain, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo would, theoretically, be less likely to cause weight gain, since it contains a low dose of hormones, compared with older birth control pills.

Does the "Pill" Really Cause Weight Gain?

It is commonly believed that birth control pills cause women to gain weight. Many women stop taking birth control pills or will not start taking them because they blame them for their weight gain. However, recent studies indicate that birth control pills probably do not cause weight gain for most women. Although women taking birth control pills often gain weight, this is likely not caused by birth control pills. In studies, there were no significant differences in weight gain between women who took birth control pills and those who did not. While it may be easy to blame weight gain on birth control pills, poor diet, inactivity, and other factors are probably the real causes.

Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo and Weight Gain: Suggestions

If you are noticing unexplained and undesired weight gain while taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, there are a few things that you can do to get your weight back under control. Some suggestions include:
  • Participate in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. Try to find something you enjoy, as you will be more likely to keep it up.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet should include:
    • Lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
    • Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
    • Limited amounts of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol and "empty" calories, such as sugary sodas, candy, or other sweets.
Remember that quick fixes, such as weight loss pills, are usually not the answer. The best weight loss plans aim for moderate, steady weight loss through diet and exercise.
Also, if you are noticing weight gain with Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can give you other suggestions for dealing with any weight gain. Your healthcare provider may also look for other causes of weight gain, such as certain types of medical conditions. If the weight gain continues, he or she may also recommend other lifestyle changes or possibly switching to another method of birth control.
(Click BMI Calculator to see if your weight is within a healthy range.)
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