Changes in weight, total fat, percent body fat, and central-to-peripheral fat ratio associated with injectable and oral contraceptive use

  • Abbey B. Berenson
    Reprints: Abbey B. Berenson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555-0587
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

    Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
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  • Mahbubur Rahman
    Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
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      The purpose of this study was to determine changes in bodyweight and composition that result from hormonal contraception.

      Study Design

      Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry was performed at baseline and every 6 months for 3 years for 703 women (African American, 200; white, 247; Hispanic, 256) who were beginning the use of oral contraception (OC; n = 245), depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA; n = 240), or nonhormonal contraception (NH; n = 218). DMPA discontinuers were observed for up to 2 years to examine the reversibility of the observed changes.


      Over 36 months, DMPA users increased their weight (+5.1 kg), body fat (+4.1 kg), percent body fat (+3.4%), and central-to-peripheral fat ratio (+0.1) more than OC and NH users (P < .01). OC use did not cause weight gain. After DMPA discontinuation, NH users lost 0.42 kg in 6 months; OC users gained 0.43 kg in 6 months.


      Bodyweight and fat significantly increase with the use of DMPA. After discontinuation of DMPA, some decrease in bodyweight and fat occurs when NH is used.

      Key words

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