Weight gain is listed as one of the common side effects of using the birth control patch. For some women, this gain might be fat. For most women, weight gain is a temporary water retention or an increase in the size of fat cells triggered by the estrogen in birth control, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you've experienced weight gain and would like to continue using the patch, a few lifestyle changes can help you control these side effects.
Use your patch for at least three cycles to give your body a chance to adjust, according to Planned Parenthood. Some women report side effects when they first start a new form of birth control. These side effects can go away over time.
Start a journal to track symptoms you feel may be associated with your patch. Track your weight, moods, menstrual cycles, times when you feel bloated and anything else you notice. Look over these findings each month and compare your symptoms at different points in your cycle. Watch to see if your weight gain continues on a rising trend or if it stabilizes once your body adjusts to the patch.
Keep track of your calorie intake. Hormonal changes may lead to increased appetite and you may be unknowingly eating more. Use the American Cancer Society's calorie counter to estimate how many calories you should eat per day.
Eat a healthy, low-salt diet that consists primarily of lean meats, high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and healthy fats. Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like those found in nuts, olive oil and avocado. Eat protein, fiber and healthy fat with every meal to help you feel fuller longer. Consume fast food, fatty foods, desserts and alcoholic beverages in moderation.
Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes per day, three to five days per week. One of the numerous health benefits of exercise is that it encourages hormonal balance. This means exercise can both help you lose weight caused by the patch and prevent future weight gain.
Drink plenty of water to make sure you're adequately hydrated. Drinking enough water will help you flush out excess fluid. If your weight gain happened because of water retention, increasing your fluid intake and decreasing your salt intake will help, as will exercise. Exercise further increases fluid needs, so drink accordingly.
Ask if there's another form of birth control you can try that's less likely to cause weight gain, or any other side effect you don't like. If one method doesn't work for you, it doesn't mean that all methods won't work for you.
Avoid diet pills, crash diets or other dangerous weight loss methods. Hormonal birth control can increase blood pressure and cause other changes in some women that can be made worse by diet pills and poor self-care.