Many women choose not to take the contraceptive pill because they are concerned they will put on weight, but scientists have found no evidence to support this theory.
According to experts at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), women may be avoiding the pill for no good reason as research does not suggest that the pill causes weight gain.
Professor Peter Sawicki, the institute's director, believes that doctors may be too quick to attribute a patient's weight gain to the contraceptive pill.
He said: "Trials which systematically assessed what happens to women when they use the pill have not proven any substantial link between hormonal contraception and weight gain.
"Many women gain some weight as they get older, whether or not they use the pill. Limiting contraceptive choices will not help women keep their weight under control," the expert noted.
A recent report by the Office for National Statistics found that the pill is the most popular form of birth control in the UK, although the Family Planning Association noted that the findings may be affected by the fact that the pill is often the first form of contraception recommended by GPs.
Independent advice on private healthcare