Women who choose injections as their preferred method of contraception may find they put on weight, scientists have claimed.
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch found that women who used birth control injections containing depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) gained an average of 11 pounds in weight and increased their body fat by 2.4 per cent in just three years.
However, the scientists also found that women who then switched to non-hormonal methods of contraception began to lose the excess weight and fat.
The findings are published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and provide extra information to be taken into consideration when choosing the most appropriate method of contraception.
"One concern is DMPA's link to increased abdominal fat, a known component of metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes," said lead author Dr Abbey Berenson.
"Women and their doctors should factor in this new data when choosing the most appropriate birth control method."
There are 14 methods of contraception to choose from, according to Brook, an organisation which provides free sexual health services and advice for under-25s.