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elissalowe
01-02-2005, 02:44 PM
Hey Will and/or erp7e (or anyone else with the knowledge or experience to share):

I've been curious about this for a while now: can the use of oral contraceptives interfere with a woman's ability to gain lean mass and/or reduce body fat? I've been looking into this a bit and haven't been able to come up with any definite answers. The sense I get from what I've read so far indicate that OC use might not be a problem with regard to "normal" weight/fat loss (although individual responses vary), and that OCs don't reduce lbm or have a major impact on the performance of female athletes. But adding lbm, and/or reducing body fat to lower-than-average levels are different issues. Since OCs suppress ovarian/adrenal androgen production, increase levels of sex-hormone binding globulins, and alter body composition (i.e., increase fat mass) in anorexics and athletes with amenorrhea, I suspect that they may problematic for women who are looking to progress in the gym past a certain level. What do female bodybuilders and fitness competitors do? Is it an issue, or non-issue for them?

(Yes SIMES - I know this is a "wimmin's" query, and ought to be in the women's section. But I thought there could be some feedback from the guys w/wives or girlfriends...if not, I'll move it! :) )

WillBrink
01-02-2005, 04:07 PM
Hey Will and/or erp7e (or anyone else with the knowledge or experience to share):

I've been curious about this for a while now: can the use of oral contraceptives interfere with a woman's ability to gain lean mass and/or reduce body fat? I've been looking into this a bit and haven't been able to come up with any definite answers. The sense I get from what I've read so far indicate that OC use might not be a problem with regard to "normal" weight/fat loss (although individual responses vary), and that OCs don't reduce lbm or have a major impact on the performance of female athletes. But adding lbm, and/or reducing body fat to lower-than-average levels are different issues. Since OCs suppress ovarian/adrenal androgen production, increase levels of sex-hormone binding globulins, and alter body composition (i.e., increase fat mass) in anorexics and athletes with amenorrhea, I suspect that they may problematic for women who are looking to progress in the gym past a certain level. What do female bodybuilders and fitness competitors do? Is it an issue, or non-issue for them?

(Yes SIMES - I know this is a "wimmin's" query, and ought to be in the women's section. But I thought there could be some feedback from the guys w/wives or girlfriends...if not, I'll move it! :) )

The problem we face here is that all the studies are done on ďnormalĒ women, so itís not clear if exercise and a better diet offset the OC. I think most data would point us in the direction that it would hinder fat loss, but increasing LBM does not seem to be an issue. If anything, it may even help there. Anecdotally, the vast majority of women feel it hinders their ability to lose fat, and as you know, many put weight on when staring OC. As for the female bbers and fitness model types, my experience is that most of them avoid OC, but thatís often complicated by the use of other compounds, so it gets fuzzy. Personally, I do think OC will hinder that last ten lbs or so needed for a really lean look, but I think itís more an excuse then biological reality when women claim they put on 40lbs and they canít get it off ďno matter what they do.Ē My ex wife used OC, and the only thing she gained when she started was a cup size in breast sizeÖgoing in the opposite direction, all the women who use anti E drugs before a contest feel it makes a big difference in their appearance. a question I have that you may be able to answer is, why donít more women use IUDs? The newer ones are quite safe and very effective, yet it seems so few women use that option.

elissalowe
01-02-2005, 04:59 PM
The problem we face here is that all the studies are done on ďnormalĒ women, so itís not clear if exercise and a better diet offset the OC. I think most data would point us in the direction that it would hinder fat loss, but increasing LBM does not seem to be an issue. If anything, it may even help there. Anecdotally, the vast majority of women feel it hinders their ability to lose fat, and as you know, many put weight on when staring OC. As for the female bbers and fitness model types, my experience is that most of them avoid OC, but thatís often complicated by the use of other compounds, so it gets fuzzy. Personally, I do think OC will hinder that last ten lbs or so needed for a really lean look, but I think itís more an excuse then biological reality when women claim they put on 40lbs and they canít get it off ďno matter what they do.Ē My ex wife used OC, and the only thing she gained when she started was a cup size in breast sizeÖgoing in the opposite direction, all the women who use anti E drugs before a contest feel it makes a big difference in their appearance. a question I have that you may be able to answer is, why donít more women use IUDs? The newer ones are quite safe and very effective, yet it seems so few women use that option.

For me, the question of OC use is academic - we opted for a permanent solution over a decade ago. But I know a couple of younger women who are struggling with fat loss, despite a lot of hard work in the gym...nutrition and genetics are, of course, other factors, but I felt OC use could be an additional consideration.

In fact, I've used an IUD (a "Copper 7") in the past, although I was one of the few I knew who did (I never really liked the idea of taking exogenous hormones - even the lower dose versions - and never used them for more than a year at a time). I didn't mind it at all, and had no problems with it, although John suffered an occasional poke from the wire ( :eek: ), so he was less enthusiastic. I'm not sure why they are not more popular now...it may be more inconvenient, given that insertion is a bit more involved than a quick visit to the clinic to get a prescription. It also may be that IUDs are not marketed as aggressively as hormones are - after all, an IUD is good for a number of years, so they are likely to be less profitable for pharamaceutical manufacturers.

Thanks for the input.

WillBrink
01-02-2005, 05:22 PM
For me, the question of OC use is academic - we opted for a permanent solution over a decade ago. But I know a couple of younger women who are struggling with fat loss, despite a lot of hard work in the gym...nutrition and genetics are, of course, other factors, but I felt OC use could be an additional consideration.

In fact, I've used an IUD (a "Copper 7") in the past, although I was one of the few I knew who did (I never really liked the idea of taking exogenous hormones - even the lower dose versions - and never used them for more than a year at a time). I didn't mind it at all, and had no problems with it, although John suffered an occasional poke from the wire ( :eek: ), so he was less enthusiastic. I'm not sure why they are not more popular now...it may be more inconvenient, given that insertion is a bit more involved than a quick visit to the clinic to get a prescription. It also may be that IUDs are not marketed as aggressively as hormones are - after all, an IUD is good for a number of years, so they are likely to be less profitable for pharamaceutical manufacturers.

Thanks for the input.

The OC could be an additional consideration, but I also think it depends on which pill (strength, amounts of E to progest, etc), but solid smoking gun studies seem to be lacking. I am sure big pharma is not real motivated to show weight gain or a lack of weight loss with a product of theirs. Never considered the poking potential of an IUD, but anything seems better then a condom to me.

labrat
01-02-2006, 07:27 AM
The OC could be an additional consideration, but I also think it depends on which pill (strength, amounts of E to progest, etc), but solid smoking gun studies seem to be lacking. I am sure big pharma is not real motivated to show weight gain or a lack of weight loss with a product of theirs.
The weight gain is primarily due to the synthetic progestins used in the compounds. They induce most of the metabolic side effects experienced with OCs.

The two considerations are:
1. The sensitivity of the woman to each hormone component: estrogen and the progestin. That is a function of individual tolerance, dose and #2.

2. The type of compounding: monophasic, where the hormones are the same dose across the entire cycle; and triphasic, where concentrations of each hormone is varied throughout the cycle to mimic as much as possible the natural cycling of each hormone during the menstrual cycle. The latter is by far the better.

Most women on OCs will have to increase their exercise program, especially aerobic component, and be vigilant on their diet to avoid weight gain. Many of the OCs also increase appetite, so women tend to eat more. A recent study revealed why aerobic exercise reduces the propensity for women to gain weight on OCs, which finally supported the observations of weight gain.

elissalowe
01-02-2006, 03:27 PM
The weight gain is primarily due to the synthetic progestins used in the compounds. They induce most of the metabolic side effects experienced with OCs.

The two considerations are:
1. The sensitivity of the woman to each hormone component: estrogen and the progestin. That is a function of individual tolerance, dose and #2.

2. The type of compounding: monophasic, where the hormones are the same dose across the entire cycle; and triphasic, where concentrations of each hormone is varied throughout the cycle to mimic as much as possible the natural cycling of each hormone during the menstrual cycle. The latter is by far the better.

Most women on OCs will have to increase their exercise program, especially aerobic component, and be vigilant on their diet to avoid weight gain. Many of the OCs also increase appetite, so women tend to eat more. A recent study revealed why aerobic exercise reduces the propensity for women to gain weight on OCs, which finally supported the observations of weight gain.
Hi labrat:

Just an FYI: men - with the exception of mods/admins - may not post in this section of the forum. This area: http://www.bodybuildingrevealed.com/members/forumdisplay.php?f=71 has been set aside for men with questions/comments/info concerning women.

If - on the other hand - you are female, ignore this message and carry on! :)

Sorry, but it's sometimes difficult to determine gender based on screen names.

labrat
01-02-2006, 04:15 PM
Hi labrat:

Just an FYI: men - with the exception of mods/admins - may not post in this section of the forum. This area: http://www.bodybuildingrevealed.com/members/forumdisplay.php?f=71 has been set aside for men with questions/comments/info concerning women.

If - on the other hand - you are female, ignore this message and carry on! :)

Sorry, but it's sometimes difficult to determine gender based on screen names.

I am a female.

WillBrink
01-02-2006, 04:18 PM
I am a female.

Then as Elissa said, carry on! ;)

labrat
01-02-2006, 04:27 PM
Then as Elissa said, carry on! ;)
I think you know who I am. The code worked this time.

WillBrink
01-02-2006, 04:38 PM
I think you know who I am. The code worked this time.

Cool! Why not just use your name in your forum name so people can associate you with your many fine articles on the net and your new article on the Brinkzone?

labrat
01-02-2006, 04:43 PM
Cool! Why not just use your name in your forum name so people can associate you with your many fine articles on the net and your new article on the Brinkzone?
Testing the waters, so to speak.
I will change it later.

elissalowe
01-02-2006, 04:45 PM
I think you know who I am. The code worked this time.
LOL - I think I do too now. :)

At the least, you should post an intro over here: http://www.bodybuildingrevealed.com/members/forumdisplay.php?f=32

WillBrink
01-02-2006, 04:50 PM
Testing the waters, so to speak.
I will change it later.

Sounds good.

middlleagedguy
01-03-2006, 03:14 AM
My experience with prescribing OC's and depo-provera to women is that individual reactions to it are very varied. I've had women gain weight, lose weight, get migraines, stop having migraines , more libido, less libido, grow antlers, etc. It would be very hard to do an adequate study, especially if you're trying to find women who are at the fairly extreme edge of activity level. As labrat pointed out, there is also a lot of variation in the formulations and ratios of hormones in different OCD's. I will say that some of the weight gain women complain of is water retention, and some do well with a mild diuretic. One of the problems with any medication that someone takes for a long period of time is that anything that happens to them during that period will be blamed on the med! "The OC's made me gain weight, not that liter of Pepsi and the Doritos I eat!" BTW I do an IUD insertion every month or two- they are not as popular as they should be, but also have to be limited to women in a stable monogamous relationship due to the increased risk of STD's.
Paul

elissalowe
01-03-2006, 04:03 AM
Mod note: moved from "Bodybuilding & Chat for Women Only" section.

jmc
01-08-2006, 04:26 AM
I'm wondering if that may play a part in my seeming inability to get below a certain bodyfat %. Ive been on oral contraceptives most of my adult life, except for when I was pregnant or post partum. (i got pregnant all 4 times, when I was on OC!! So for forgetful people like me who forget to take a pill or two, its not the most effective method!) Ive never been below 24% on OC. One time when my 3rd baby was about six months old I asked both a doctor and a personal trainer about that and they told me that it was likely because of nursing that I wasnt getting below a certain % bodyfat. Well, I never asked about the OC but it seems like it would be similar since your hormones are not in their normal state then either. I took a break from OC this past year because of concerns as I was getting older about stroke risk, but I recently went back on because of irreregular periods and menoposal symptoms. (hot flashes, irregegular periods, mood swings, other annoying stuff) and it cleared all of that up, but I feel bloated much of the time. Its only been like 4 months and I was eating junk too, so now that my diet is clean, I'll see what happens and report back!

labrat
01-08-2006, 04:44 AM
I'm wondering if that may play a part in my seeming inability to get below a certain bodyfat %. Ive been on oral contraceptives most of my adult life, except for when I was pregnant or post partum. (i got pregnant all 4 times, when I was on OC!! So for forgetful people like me who forget to take a pill or two, its not the most effective method!) Ive never been below 24% on OC. One time when my 3rd baby was about six months old I asked both a doctor and a personal trainer about that and they told me that it was likely because of nursing that I wasnt getting below a certain % bodyfat.
Most women who breast feed often find that they lose weight post-partum relatively quickly.

Consider this, you are producing liquid food for your baby, which requires nutrients and energy. Breast feeding can increase your caloric expenditure by 250-500 calories/day depending on the frequency and volume the baby suckles.

The hormonal environment during breastfeeding appears to preferentially mobilize body fat that is associated with and independent of caloric balance. Most breastfeeding mothers return to their body weight before they became pregnant or even weigh less.
(the latter was my experience, too)

elissalowe
01-08-2006, 11:43 AM
Most women who breast feed often find that they lose weight post-partum relatively quickly.

Consider this, you are producing liquid food for your baby, which requires nutrients and energy. Breast feeding can increase your caloric expenditure by 250-500 calories/day depending on the frequency and volume the baby suckles.

The hormonal environment during breastfeeding appears to preferentially mobilize body fat that is associated with and independent of caloric balance. Most breastfeeding mothers return to their body weight before they became pregnant or even weigh less.
(the latter was my experience, too)
Agreed about nursing. I had 20 lbs. of excess after having my 2nd child (between being pregnant, working full-time and caring for a toddler, lets just say there was minimal time for exercise), but it evaporated within a few weeks, thanks to nursing full-time (I pumped milk at work).


I'm wondering if that may play a part in my seeming inability to get below a certain bodyfat %. Ive been on oral contraceptives most of my adult life, except for when I was pregnant or post partum... Its only been like 4 months and I was eating junk too, so now that my diet is clean, I'll see what happens and report back!
OC's may be playing a role, but before leaping to that conclusion, there are other factors to be eliminated. A "clean" diet isn't necessarily an optimal one, and there may be other factors in the background (sub-optimal testosterone, DHEA, thyroid, insulin resistance, elevated cortisol, for example) that also need to be considered.