Depo Provera is a hormone injection that works to prevent pregnancy. It is given every three months, usually in the upper arm or hip.
The first shot is usually given within the first few days after a normal menstrual period. It is important that a woman not get a depo shot if she knows or suspects that she is already pregnant.
Depo Provera stops the ovaries from releasing an egg. It also causes the cervical mucus and the uterine lining to thicken, preventing the sperm from entering and/or surviving in the uterus. These changes prevent fertilization.
Depo Provera is considered a very effective method of birth control. If taken every thirteen weeks, it is estimated to be 99% effective. It does not, however, protect a woman from STDs.
Studies indicate that women on Depo have a decreased risk of ovarian cancer, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and Endometrial Cancer. Many women report that they have less menstrual cramping and pain, fewer periods and less chance of anemia.
Depo, however, can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Thus, it is advised that women who use Depo Provera long term, take a calcium supplement and get regular bone density tests every two years.
Some less usual side effects may include:
- Mood Changes
- Breast Tenderness
It is a myth that Depo causes weight gain. Calories cause weight gain. If, while taking hormones, your appetite is increased, and you eat more, you may indeed gain weight. This is not due to the birth control. We recommend that until your body adjusts to the Depo, monitor your appetite. Snack wisely, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids.
If a woman becomes pregnant while using Depo Provera, she may be at risk of a premature birth. Irregular, heavy bleeding or no bleeding at all are common side effects. The longer one uses Depo, the more likely it is your periods will stop all together. It takes some time for the body to readjust after taking Depo Provera for a long time. It may take 6 months to a year before you begin regular ovulation after an extended time on Depo.
Women with the following health conditions should talk with their healthcare provider if they are considering Depo Provera for birth control:
- Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding
- Suspected Pregnancy
- Liver Disease
- Gallbladder Disease
- What To Expect While Using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection
For over 30 years, millions if women around the world have used Depo-Provera Contraceptive injection as a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy. Knowing what to expect and how to mange side effects is one of the keys to using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection successfully.
- What Side Effects Should I Watch For?
Like many birth control pills, Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection contains a hormone that is similar to the natural hormone progesterone that is made by your body. As with these types of birth control pills, some side effects may occur while using Depo-Provera Contraceptive injection.
- Menstrual Bleeding Changes
During the first year of using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection, you may have changes in your menstrual bleeding pattern. You may notice:
- Irregular or unpredictable bleeding or spotting
- Menstrual bleeding that is slightly heavier or lighter than normal for you
- No menstrual bleeding at all
Although this is a rare side effect, call your health care provider immediately if you develop menstrual bleeding that is unusually heavy or does not stop at any time while you are using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection.
As you continue to use Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection, you may skip a period or stop having periods completely. This is normal. More than half of all women who use Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection for one year have no menstrual bleeding. Having no periods does not mean you are pregnant. Your ovaries are simply in a resting state and are not releasing an egg each month. When this happens, your body does not have to shed the lining of the uterus each month. and you do not have a period. When you stop using Depo-Provera contraceptive Injection, your menstrual period will usually, in time, return to its normal pattern.
As long as you have not delayed or missed any of your injections you are probably not pregnant, even if your periods stop. However, if you think you may be pregnant, see your health care provider immediately.
- Weight Changes
As with “the pill”, some women may gain a few pounds while using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection during the first year. After the first year, weight gain appears to depend on the individual person. Some women may gain no weight and others may gain some weight. Since most people normally have weight changes during the four seasons, it is important to try to control your weight by having a good diet, regular exercise and a healthy life-style.
- Thinning Of Bones
In some women, Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection may cause some thinning of the bones during the first few years that it is used. This could increase your risk of breaking bones more easily. Over time, the risk decreases, and any bone changes are similar to those that normally occur as a woman gets older. Every woman should take steps now to protect herself from osteoporosis later in life.
- Other Side Effects
As with “the pill”, some other side effects that may occur while using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection include headache, tiredness, breast swelling or tenderness, nervousness dizziness, stomach upset, or depression. As with any other medicine, always talk to your health care provider if you have any questions during treatment.
- What If I Want To Become Pregnant?
Using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection now does not change your chances of becoming pregnant later. This is true even if you stop having periods while using Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection. When Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection is stopped, about two out of three women who become pregnant do so within a year. The length of time you use Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection has no effect on how long it takes you to become pregnant after you stop using it.
- Steps To Help You Take Control Of Your Birth Control
- Keep track of your appointments. Write down the date of your next appointment. Call your health care provider if you have to cancel your appointment and reschedule. Ask your health care provider to recommend a back-up method of birth control if you miss an injection.
- Keep track of your menstrual bleeding each month.
- To help prevent weight gain, try to follow a balanced diet. Be sure to include calcium-rich foods in your diet. Ask your health care provider about calcium supplements.
- Record your weight at least once each month on a personal chart.
- Exercise regularly. Make exercise fun by asking a friend to exercise with you. Weight-bearing exercise (such as walking and aerobics) can help keep your bones strong. Keep a personal chart and give yourself a check mark each month you exercise regularly.