Monday, July 13, 2020

Genes May Play a Role in Weight Gain from Birth Control

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     The university of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus conducted research on how genes interact with some hormones in birth control. This interaction can explain why some women gain more weight than others while taking contraceptives. In the journal Contraception, the study looked at the etonogestrel implant which is a rod-like type of birth control. Etonogestrel is the type of progestin that inhibits ovulation.
     In one experiment, 276 ethnically diverse individuals were studied and there was a 7 pound weight gain in 27 months of using the etonogestrel implant. 73.9% of these individuals gained weight. Lazorwitz and his colleagues found that genetic variants in receptor ESR1 were associated with clinically significant weight gain. ESR1 is found on chromosome 6 and encodes an estrogen receptor involved in cellular hormone binding and DNA transcription when activated. Women who had two copies of the ESR variation on average gained thirty or more pounds using the contraceptive implant. Other types of contraception could have ismilar interactions and lead to weight gain.


  1. Very interesting! I know many birth control methods do have a lot side effects, which have concerned me. It's a bit less intimidating after understanding why weight gain can occur.

  2. Before clicking the link, I thought about how I appreciate reading breakthroughs like this considering the lack of merit given to users of birth control. I thought it was ironic when I did click and the opening line was, "'For years, women have said that birth control causes them to gain weight but many doctors failed to take them seriously,'" said the study's lead author Aaron Lazorwitz, MD, assistant professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Family Planning at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.