Oral contraceptives less effective in obese women

A research team from the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University has determined why obese women taking oral contraceptives experience a different hormone balance to non-overweight women.

Women who are obese take longer for their hormone levels to balance out and reach the correct blood concentration of contraceptive hormone to prevent pregnancy. This means that there is a longer period of time where an obese woman may become pregnant despite being on birth control.

Oral contraceptives reportedly concentrate in fat tissue and it took obese women longer to achieve the right hormone balance to ensure that she would not become pregnant, the average being around 20 days.

Women of normal weight experienced the correct hormone balance in around five days.

Assistant professor Ganesh Cherala explained that this should be taken into account when putting together drug guidelines.

“There’s a growing awareness that we need to more carefully consider obesity and other factors that affect drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and other factors,” he said.

For women who experience some extreme symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome, they can try relaxation and breathing techniques to distress. Herbal supplements such as chamomile may also offer a calming effect. ADNFCR-1960-ID-19275660-ADNFCR