Black women were the most likely to gain weight while using
a long-acting form of contraception, such as a hormone implant or intrauterine
device (IUD), in a small new study. Researchers found that during a year of
using progestin-based long-term contraceptives, black women put on an average
of 1.8 to 2.7 kg, compared to a trend of slight weight loss or smaller weight
gain for white and other women.
But Dr Jeffrey Peipert, who worked on the study, cautioned
against blaming the implants, injections and IUDs for the extra weight gain
among certain women."Anecdotally, many doctors have had patients coming in
and saying, 'I'm gaining weight and I think it's my contraceptive method and I
want to stop using it,'" said Peipert, from Washington University School
of Medicine in St Louis. "
Gaining weight over
People don't realise that the norm, while it may not be
good, (is to) gain weight over time, and it may or may not be your
method."The findings are based on 427 women who were part of a larger
study in which participants were provided with one of four types of
contraception at no cost: a copper IUD or an implant, injection or IUD that
delivers the hormone progestin over time.
How much weight women gained - or lost - varied greatly
among those using each method, the researchers found. But on average, study
participants put on more pounds while using the hormone implants or injections
than a hormone-free copper IUD.
However, differences in age and race seemed to drive those
variations, the team writes in the journal Contraception. They found that
regardless of the contraceptive method used, black women tended to put on more
weight than others.
Different diets amongst
Peipert said that could be due to differences in diet or
exercise - not necessarily in how women respond to progestin-based
contraceptives. "There are many other factors that are involved in weight
maintenance, weight gain or loss other than contraception. And these other
factors probably are more important than the contraceptive method," he
Some researchers have believed progestin may slow down
metabolism or encourage women to eat more, according to Peipert. But the new
findings don't support a strong effect of the hormone."As a result of
pregnancy, women tend to gain a lot more weight than they do from a contraceptive
method," he said."My take-home message is, don't blame the