Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can I use birth control to gain weight?"
I am a 20 year old female, 5'8" and around 48 kg. I feel I am very underweight. I have heard of people who have gained weight when they started using birth control pills. I am not sexually active, but I am considering getting on the pill to take advantage of this side effect. My question is, is this safe?
I am sorry to hear about your difficulty with weight gain. In order to provide an accurate recommendation, it will be necessary to fully review the details of your medical record and perform a detailed physical exam. Therefore, I strongly recommend you see a primary care physician. After such an evaluation, the doctor can make recommendations on possible causes of your low body weight and potential interventions. Your body mass index, based on your height and weight, is 16.1. This puts you in the underweight category. Before attempting a pharmacologic treatment, it is important to first determine why you have having difficulty gaining weight. A primary care doctor may have you document your daily food intake to see if you are eating enough calories. It may also be that your physical activity level is such that you require more calories than a typical person. You may have an endocrine disorder, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism, that make it difficult to gain weight. Gastrointestinal disorders can make it difficult to absorb nutrition, and people with eating disorders like anorexia often have low body weight. I encourage you to discuss these possibilities with a primary care doctor. Taking birth control pills for weight gain is not a standard therapy, and these medications do have risks. Therefore, I encourage you to see a primary care doctor first before trying this.
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