Birth Control Affects Women's Muscle Mass

Cadrene Heslop

Do you realize your muscles gains are not increasing since you started consuming the pill? Birth control pills have several effects on a woman's body besides stopping ovulation. According to a 2009 study, oral contraceptives (OC) use can slow muscle gains in young women. Researchers say many active young ladies use OC to prevent pregnancies. Yet thorough studies on its body composition and exercise performance effect are incomplete.

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The Study

The research went underway in 2009; and involved 73 healthy adult women under 31. All the women did ten weeks of full-body resistance training. Thirty-nine (39) were not on oral contraceptives; the other 34 took the pill. When the experiment ended, scientists checked the body mass of both groups. The 34 women on birth control gained 60% less muscle than the other group.

The constraints of the study are the small test group and differences in women's bodies. But the evidence suggests birth control changes women's bodies.

The study's lead author Chang Woock Lee said:

"It is premature to say anything conclusively at this point. Vigorous future studies with more stringent control and clever design will be definitely needed to confirm the results and/or elucidate the underlying mechanism conclusively."

Why does oral contraception affect women's body composition?

The pill lowers hormone levels in women. Regular exercise and low hormone production may result in fewer muscle mass gains. But the muscle mass difference in women taking and those not on the pill did not affect performance.

Scientists are unsure why the pill affects muscle growth. But they suspect the case is progestin binds block receptors. This chemical reaction prevents muscle hypertrophy. which means muscle growth-activating hormones cannot get into cells and do their job.

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