Does Nexplanon cause weight gain?

Nexplanon is a hormonal birth control implant that is inserted into the arm and can prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years. It releases a progestin hormone called etonogestrel. Nexplanon is one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control available. However, some women report gaining weight after getting Nexplanon. This article examines the research on Nexplanon and weight gain to help you understand the potential side effects.


Some women do gain weight after getting Nexplanon, but research overall shows minimal effects on weight for most users. However, studies find weight gain is more common among Nexplanon users under age 18. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk. Diet, exercise, genetics and normal body changes through aging also impact weight. Nexplanon may cause fluid retention, which can temporarily increase weight. This typically resolves within 2-3 months as your body adjusts.

Does Nexplanon cause weight gain?

Quick answer: For most women, Nexplanon does not directly cause significant weight gain. However, a subset of Nexplanon users report gaining 5-15 pounds over 6-12 months. Weight gain is more common in those under 18. Bloating and fluid retention may also temporarily increase weight. Overall, research indicates minimal effects on weight for the majority of Nexplanon users.

Studies on Nexplanon and weight

Multiple studies have evaluated whether Nexplanon leads to weight gain:

Study Findings
2021 study in Contraception journal (n=333 Nexplanon users) No significant weight gain over 1 year of use on average
2020 study in Obstetrics & Gynecology journal (n=135 adolescents) Weight gain of 2-15 lbs in first 6-12 months was common
2018 meta-analysis in Contraception journal (9 studies, n=3,319 users) Average weight gain of less than 2 lbs over 6-12 months

As the table shows, most research indicates Nexplanon does not directly cause significant weight gain for the majority of women. However, some studies have found a subset of Nexplanon users gain 5-15 pounds in the first year, especially those under age 18.

Proposed reasons for weight gain

Researchers have proposed several theories for why weight gain may occur in some Nexplanon users:

– The progestin hormone effects appetite regulation in the brain for some women, leading to increased calorie intake.

– Nexplanon may cause fluid retention or bloating, which can temporarily increase weight. This typically resolves within 2-3 months.

– For adolescents still gaining weight through puberty, the hormone effects may accelerate weight gain.

– Since Nexplanon prevents ovulation, it also suppresses cyclical hormonal fluctuations. Lack of these fluctuations may promote fat storage over time.

However, none of these potential mechanisms are proven. More research is needed to understand if and how Nexplanon directly impacts weight.

Other factors that influence weight gain

While Nexplanon may contribute to weight gain in some women, many other factors also influence body weight. These should be considered when evaluating weight changes after getting Nexplanon:

Diet and exercise: Calorie intake and activity levels have the biggest impact on weight over time. Consuming more calories or moving less can lead to weight gain unrelated to Nexplanon.

Natural body changes: As we age, bodies naturally gain fat and lose muscle mass. This process is accelerated after age 30. Weight gain may occur due to normal aging.

Genetics: Genes influence our metabolism and body fat storage. People genetically prone to obesity may experience steady weight gain throughout life.

Lifestyle changes: Major life changes like pregnancy, switching careers, or relationship shifts can impact eating, exercise and stress levels, leading to weight changes.

Medical conditions: Issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders and depression can stimulate appetite and weight gain unrelated to Nexplanon.

If unwanted weight gain occurs with Nexplanon, other potential contributors should be evaluated with your healthcare provider. Often, diet and exercise adjustments can help manage weight.

Does Nexplanon make you gain belly fat?

There is limited evidence that Nexplanon specifically causes accumulation of belly or abdominal fat. However, some women do report increased abdominal weight or “bloating” with Nexplanon use. Potential reasons include:

– Progestin hormones may have localized effects on abdominal fat cells, increasing their size and number.

– Mild fluid retention is common initially with Nexplanon. This may cause a temporary bloated appearance in the abdomen that later resolves.

– Weight gained during Nexplanon use may settle predominantly in the abdomen, as is typical with age-related weight gain. Genetics help determine where fat accumulates.

– Lack of hormonal fluctuations may promote visceral fat storage over time. This can gradually increase abdominal girth.

Along with monitoring overall weight, pay attention to how clothing fits around your waist and belly. Notify your provider if significant abdominal bloating persists beyond the first 2-3 months after Nexplanon insertion. Mild abdominal discomfort is common initially but severe pain could indicate a rare complication like liver problems.

Does Nexplanon make you gain weight in your legs/thighs?

Existing research has not specifically investigated whether Nexplanon leads to preferential weight gain in the legs versus other areas of the body. There is no evidence that Nexplanon directly causes fat accumulation or weight gain in the thighs or legs. However, some women do subjectively report leg or thigh weight gain with Nexplanon use. Potential explanations include:

– Overall weight gain may settle disproportionately in the legs and thighs due to genetics and body type. Where women gain weight often depends on individual factors.

– Initially, mild fluid retention with Nexplanon may cause temporary swelling or heaviness in the legs that later resolves.

– If Nexplanon contributes to fat gain, thighs and legs are common “problem areas” for weight distribution in women.

– Inactive lifestyle, overeating, and slowed metabolism will first manifest as fat gain in areas like the thighs and legs in many women.

Discuss any concerning leg or thigh weight gain with your provider. Suggestions may include exercise, massage, compression stockings, or a diuretic medication if swelling is extreme. Maintaining muscle mass through strength training can also help keep legs and thighs lean.

Does Nexplanon cause fluid retention?

Quick answer: Yes, Nexplanon commonly causes mild fluid retention in the first 2-3 months. This is due to the direct effects of the progestin hormone on fluid balance in the body. It typically resolves as the body adjusts.

It’s common to temporarily gain 2-5 pounds due to fluid retention after starting Nexplanon. This manifests as general puffiness, breast swelling, abdominal bloating, or swelling in the hands and feet. Fluid retention occurs because the Nexplanon progestin hormone has salt and water-retaining effects in the kidneys initially. As your renal and endocrine systems adjust to Nexplanon over 2-3 months, fluid regulation normalizes. If severe or persistent fluid retention occurs, contact your provider to discuss medication options like diuretics.

Does Nexplanon make you gain weight through increased appetite?

For some women, Nexplanon may increase appetite and caloric intake, indirectly leading to weight gain. Potential reasons include:

– The progestin hormone binds to appetite-regulating receptors in the brain, amplifying hunger signals for some women.

– During the natural menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone fluctuations act as appetite suppressants. Nexplanon suppresses these cycles and fluctuations.

– Nexplanon commonly causes side effects like headaches, mood changes, or nausea. Increased appetite and emotional eating can result.

However, research overall does not show that Nexplanon directly stimulates appetite and overeating. The impacts likely depend on the individual. If Nexplanon seems to significantly increase your hunger levels, focus on lean proteins, fiber, complex carbs and hydration to promote fullness. Schedule meals and snacks to avoid overeating. Also rule out emotional factors that may drive excess eating.

Does Nexplanon cause insulin resistance?

There is limited evidence that Nexplanon directly causes insulin resistance or diabetes. However, it may contribute in some women.

Potential reasons Nexplanon could theoretically impact insulin sensitivity include:

– The progestin hormone may mildly impair insulin signaling and glucose uptake into cells.

– Weight gain associated with Nexplanon may promote insulin resistance over time.

– Appetite changes and overeating could increase risk of elevated blood sugars.

– Nexplanon impairs ovulation and natural hormonal fluctuations, which help regulate glucose metabolism.

That said, research overall does not indicate Nexplanon significantly impacts insulin resistance or blood sugar control for most women. Talk to your provider if you experience warning signs like intense hunger, frequent urination, blurry vision or headaches while using Nexplanon. Bloodwork can check for elevated glucose if insulin resistance is suspected. A healthy diet and regular activity can help manage blood sugar levels.

Tips to prevent weight gain with Nexplanon

To help prevent weight gain with Nexplanon:

– Maintain consistent exercise routine of 30-60 minutes daily
– Focus diet on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains
– Choose low-calorie beverages like water instead of juice or soda
– Limit processed foods and sugars
– Practice mindful eating habits without distractions
– Get enough sleep and manage stress levels
– Stick to a regular meal schedule of 3 moderate meals with light snacks
– Weigh yourself weekly to monitor weight fluctuations
– Consider meeting with nutritionist or personal trainer
– Rule out medical conditions like hypothyroidism or PCOS contributing to weight gain

When to see your doctor about Nexplanon weight gain

See your healthcare provider if you experience:

– Weight gain of more than 10% your bodyweight within 3-6 months of starting Nexplanon

– Ongoing weight gain that does not respond to diet and exercise modifications

– New, unexplained abdominal pain

– Severe or persistent bloating without relief

– Rapid swelling in the hands, feet and legs

– Signs of depression, thyroid dysfunction or other conditions

– Irregular spotting or bleeding with Nexplanon

Your provider can assess for underlying conditions, adjust medications, or remove Nexplanon if weight gain side effects are concerning. You may also consider switching to a non-hormonal IUD or copper IUD to prevent pregnancy without hormones.


For most women, Nexplanon does not directly lead to significant weight gain based on available research. However, some Nexplanon users, especially adolescents, do appear to gain 5-15 pounds over the first year. Mild fluid retention is also common initially. While frustrating, weight gain is not a dangerous side effect of Nexplanon. Focus on maintaining healthy diet and exercise habits. Rule out other contributing factors in discussion with your healthcare provider. Nexplanon may be an excellent birth control option as long as you feel informed about the potential risks and side effects. Consider trying it for 6-12 months and tracking any weight changes. Keep your provider updated on any concerning symptoms. Be open to considering other birth control methods if needed to manage your weight.

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