Answered: Do IUDs Make You Gain Weight?
When deciding which method of birth control is best for you, there are many factors to consider, including the cost, efficacy, ease of use, etc.
In spite of all the considerations to weigh in on when it comes to selecting a contraceptive method, the first and most common question amongst girls and women continues to be, “Will an Intrauterine Device implant make me gain weight?”
What is an IUD?
An IUD, or an Intrauterine Device, is a small T shaped birth control device that is placed into a woman’s uterus through the cervix to prevent pregnancy. In Canada, there are currently 3 three types of IUDs available:
- Copper (non-hormonal) and;
- Mirena and Kyleena (hormonal)
Copper IUD and Weight Gain:
Weight gain is not one of the listed side effects of the Copper IUD. This type of Intrauterine Device is non-hormonal and is said to be unlikely to cause weight gain. However, Copper IUD users do still seem to gain weight gradually over time. Studies show that this increase in weight is comparable to the weight gain of those who aren’t using any form of Intrauterine Device or birth control.
The similarities in weight gain between Copper IUD users and those who are not using any type of contraceptive help validate the fact that Copper IUDs are unlikely the reason behind an increase in body weight.
Mirena & Kyleena IUDs and Weight Gain:
These are hormonal IUDs and may cause weight gain. However, this weight gain may be due to water retention. Progestin, the hormone in both Mirena and Kyleena IUDs, can cause water retention, which in turn leads to bloating.
This type of weight gain is not an increase in body fat percentage, but rather the body getting used to the introduction of progestin into the bloodstream. The bloating should subside within a few months.
Progestin Levels in Mirena and Kyleena Intrauterine Devices:
It is worth noting that the Kyleena IUD contains lower levels of progestin than the Mirena IUD, while still providing similar results from a contraceptive standpoint. These lower levels of progestin may result in less weight gain due to water retention.
While the Kyleena may have lower levels of progestin, the Mirena is the preferred IUD for those who require both a method of contraception as well as treatment for heavy menstrual periods. These variables should also be taken into consideration when deciding which IUD is best for you.
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Why do People Gain Weight with IUDs?
Women are more likely to gain weight in their reproductive years, with or without an IUD. This natural weight gain may also be due to lifestyle choices and changes, including stress, a lack of physical activity, changes in work/life balance, etc.
That said, everyone is different. Any variances in the body’s natural balance of hormone levels can trigger changes, including weight gain. Any weight gain related to the IUD itself should be minimal and temporary.
What should I Do if I Gain Weight?
When any form of weight gain occurs, the first step is to evaluate your current diet, activity levels and stress levels for any cues as to why your weight may be creeping up.
It is important to note that subtle changes in weight, with or without an IUD, is not an immediate cause for concern, as this type of weight gain is normal.
If the weight gain is significant or worrisome, or if the healthy lifestyle changes you have made don’t seem to be making an impact, connect with your doctor/medical professional for advice.
Other questions about birth control methods, answered:
- Is the IUD procedure painful?
- Is the birth control (Evra) patch safe?
- How to choose the right birth control pill?