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Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2012 Aug;17(4):245-53. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2012.692411. Epub 2012 Jul 3.

Combined oral contraceptives' influence on weight, body composition, height, and bone mineral density in girls younger than 18 years: a systematic review.

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University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.



Combined oral contraceptives (COCs) are increasingly used by adolescents. The aim of this review is to investigate the evidence regarding COCs' influence on weight, height and bone mineral density (BMD) in girls younger than 18 years.


Systematic literature search using PubMed/Medline and Scopus (January 1990-February 2012) on COCs for girls under 18 years of age and the possible influence on body parameters. MeSH terms: Oral contraception; Adolescent; Weight; Body composition; Height; Bone mineral density.


There is no evidence that COCs induce weight gain in girls younger than 18 years. Obese girls are not at higher risk of gaining weight. COCs do not cause changes in body fat and lean mass beyond the changes caused by natural development. Moreover, growth and stature are unaffected. Few studies indicate that COCs have a negative impact on BMD, but the evidence is presently too limited for definite conclusions.


Studies in young users are few. Presently, there are no indications of a negative impact of COCs on weight, body composition or height. Lesser increases in BMD cannot be excluded. As the demand for COCs is increasing among the youngest girls, there is a need for prospective studies addressing this issue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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