Oral contraceptive use = teh suck in the gym?

August 25th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  6 Comments

From ScienceDaily by way of a couple of helpful Stumptuous readers:

Many active young women use oral contraceptives (OC) yet its effect on their body composition and exercise performance has not been thoroughly studied. A team of researchers has now examined the effects of OC on female muscle mass, and found that oral contraceptive use impairs muscle gains in young women, and is associated with lower hormone levels.

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  1. Trishy says:

    August 25th, 2009at 9:07 am(#)

    The summary of the article did not mention exactly what kind of oral contraceptive was being used. Hormone levels in these pills can vary quite dramatically from brand to brand, so I wonder if these effects are still seen with the low-dose pills, or if the study already included some of those.

  2. Jennifer says:

    August 26th, 2009at 8:24 am(#)

    Interesting…I had been off hormonal birth control for several years, but due to problems with severe menstrual problems (possibly endemetriosis), went back on OC a few months ago. I may not be gaining as much muscle, but at least I’m able to work out! Before I was laid up almost 2 weeks a month with pain, nausea, etc. Risk versus reward I suppose…

    Trishy also has a really good point about the high variability in levels and types of hormones on OC.

  3. Chaobell says:

    August 26th, 2009at 12:47 pm(#)

    Yeah, the particular kind of Pill in question can make a huge difference.

    The first Pill they put me on occasionally made me barf, and looking at a single watercress leaf made me gain ten pounds when it didn’t. The one they switched me to when I couldn’t stand this anymore allowed me to eat everything edible in a 10-mile radius and still drop weight. Crazy stuff.

  4. Sam says:

    August 29th, 2009at 8:21 pm(#)

    Well … shit. Yet another reason for me to get my tubes tied.

  5. MoxyThunder says:

    August 31st, 2009at 1:51 pm(#)

    interesting…I just went on bcp and this is not what i want to hear! Well, I will see how it affects me and my workouts and keep this in mind. And if it does have a negative impact, then the hubby will just have to get snipped instead. ;)

    Chaobell–what brand were you on before, and what are you on now?

  6. Trishy says:

    September 4th, 2009at 12:27 pm(#)

    MoxyThunder, if it’s any consolation, I think these effects are highly individual. Some women notice differences in their strength and stamina during their period or after starting hormonal birth control, but other women don’t. I personally never noticed a difference.

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