Xulane can cause weight gain in some people. However, clinical studies on whether hormonal birth control causes weight gain are conflicting; some women report gaining weight, whereas others report losing weight.
This is why hormonal contraceptives have both weight gain and weight loss listed as their possible side effects on the product information.
When people gain weight, it is usually due to one of the following factors:
- Fluid retention
- Increase in body fat
- Muscle tissue growth
In theory, hormonal contraceptives could contribute to weight gain if they cause fluid retention and increased body fat.
What is Xulane?
Xulane (norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol) is a hormonal birth control transdermal patch that is applied to the skin like a bandage. It is a generic version of Ortho Evra, which is a prescription birth control patch approved by the FDA to prevent pregnancy in women with a body mass index less than 30.
The active ingredients in Xulane, norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol, act as progesterone and estrogen hormones in the body. Each patch provides about 150 mcg of norelgestromin and 35 mcg of ethinyl estradiol per day.
How to use a Xulane patch
A Xulane patch is placed on the clean, dry skin on any of these areas: outside of the upper arm, lower abdomen, buttock, or back.
The patch is to be applied either on the first Sunday following the start of the period or on the first day of the period. The patch should be changed once a week on the same day for 3 weeks in a row and should not be worn during the fourth week.
What are the side effects of the Xulane patch?
Although Xulane is considered safe and effective for most people, it may cause mild to serious side effects in some people.
Mild side effects of Xulane typically go away in 2-3 months and may include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Sore breasts
- Spotting (light bleeding or brown discharge)
- Changes in menstrual cycles (early, late, or missed)
- Painful, heavy, or irregular periods
- Abdominal pain
- Reduced sex drive
- Fluid retention
- Hair loss
- Blotchy darkening of the skin, most commonly on the face
- Skin itching/dryness/pain/swelling/rash on the application site
Serious side effects may include:
- Heart problems
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- High cholesterol levels
- High triglyceride levels
- Gallbladder disease
- Anxiety disorders
- Allergic reactions, such as:
What are other birth control options?
In addition to Xulane, there are many other birth control options available:
- Barrier methods
- Short-acting hormonal methods
- Long-acting hormonal methods
- Copper intrauterine devices (IUDs), such as ParaGard
- Hormonal IUDs (such as Mirena, Skyla and Kyleena)
- Contraceptive implant (Nexplanon)
- Spermicide or vaginal gel
- Tubal ligation (in women)
- Salpingectomy (permanent removal of fallopian tubes)
- Vasectomy (in men)
- Emergency contraception
- Fertility awareness method
- Rhythm method
- Cervical mucus method
- Basal body temperature
Birth Control Options. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11427-birth-control-options
Birth control options: Things to consider. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/birth-control/in-depth/birth-control-options/art-20045571
What are the side effects of the birth control patch? Planned Parenthood https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-patch/birth-control-patch-side-effects
Xulane Patch, Transdermal Weekly-Uses, Side Effects, and More. WebMD https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-166145/xulane-transdermal/details
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