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Jolessa and Weight Gain

Recent studies suggest that weight gain is not a side effect of birth control pills, including Jolessa. Nevertheless, some women do gain weight while on "the pill." If you are noticing a weight gain with Jolessa, things you can do to get your weight back under control include exercising more; limiting alcohol intake; and eating less fat, sodium, and sugar.

Does Jolessa Cause Weight Gain?

Jolessa™ (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. Despite "common knowledge," weight gain is probably not a side effect of Jolessa or most other birth control pills.

Weight Gain on "The Pill"

It is commonly believed that birth control pills cause women to gain weight. In fact, the prescribing information for most birth control pills lists weight gain as a possible and common side effect. Many women stop taking birth control pills, or will not start taking them at all, because they fear weight gain or blame their weight gain on the product.
However, recent studies indicate that birth control pills probably do not cause weight gain for most women. Although women taking these drugs often gain weight, this is probably 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.
The weight gain that some women experience while taking birth control pills is probably unrelated to the medication. Poor diet, inactivity, and other factors are more likely causes of weight gain. Of course, this does not rule out the possibility that birth control pills could cause weight gain in a rare individual.

Suggestions for Dealing With Weight Gain While on Jolessa

If you are noticing unexplained and undesired weight gain while taking Jolessa, there are a few things that you can do to combat this problem. Some suggestions include:
  • Participate in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
  • 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.
In addition, if you are noticing weight gain with Jolessa, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can give you other suggestions. Your healthcare provider may also look for other causes, such as certain types of medical conditions. If the weight gain continues, he or she may 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.)
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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