There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to birth control, but the best thing to do is to know the pros and cons of each method.
With the many birth control options in the market, it is important to have a heads up on its effectiveness. Let’s celebrate womanhood and discover if using a Depo- Provera for birth control suits you best.
Depo-Provera commonly known as ‘depo’ or ‘shot’ is an injection that releases hormones into a woman as a means of birth control. Depo-provera contains a hormone that is similar to progesterone and it is usually injected into the ‘deep muscles’ which is either the upper arm or bottom by a doctor or healthcare provider. The shot can keep a women protected from pregnancy for up to 14 weeks. However, it is recommended you receive a new shot every 12 weeks to ensure you are always protected.
So How Does It Work?
This shot releases a hormone called progestin into the body, which is a hormone that the body naturally produces. By having enough of this hormone in the body, it prevents a woman from releasing an egg into the ovaries and, hence, prevents pregnancy. As another back up measure in case an egg is released, the hormone also thickens the woman’s cervix with mucus. This helps block sperm from reaching to the egg.
How Do You Get It?
Depo-Provera requires a prescription. In order to obtain one, visit your healthcare provider. He or she may need you to undergo special medical exams to make sure Depo-Provera is right for you. All women should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical history and to make sure the shot is safe for them.
Who Shouldn’t Use Depo-Provera?
Women who have a history of the following should not use Depo-Provera:
- Blood clots
- Breast cancer
- Liver disease
- Pregnant or think you are pregnant
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
Any Side Effects?
The most common side effect was irregular bleeding or spotting. For many women, after a year of use of Depo-Provera, about 50% of them stopped getting their menstrual bleeding. Period resumes back to normal after they have stopped taking the shot. It also has been known to have these side effects:
- Changes in appetite
- Excessive growth of facial and body hair
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Loss of bone mineral density
- Change in sex drive
- Sore breasts
Bone density can be a concern for some women. In cases of prolonged use of Depo-Provera, women who use it for two years or more may result in loss of significant bone mineral density. This loss could result in a new health risk called osteoporosis. There is a higher risk of this condition being present with women who have a family history of tobacco or heavy alcohol use. Although this does not occur in everyone, it is recommended that woman who are using the shot take enough Vitamin D and calcium to prevent this increased health risk.
If you are experiencing any of these side effects, there is unfortunately no way to stop them until the shot has worn off, which could be between 12 to 14 weeks.
The effects of the shot can be long lasting. It can take anywhere from six to ten months to have the ability to get pregnant again. For women who want to get pregnant soon or would like to have the ability to get pregnant after finishing the shot, Depo-Provera might not be the best option for them.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, then do not wait and call your doctor immediately:
- Major depression
- Migraine with blinding, flashing zigzigs
- Pain for many days, pus, or bleeding from where you received the shot
- Heavier menstrual bleeding
- Lump in your breast
- Yellow skin or eyes
A woman also shared her stories on the side effects while using depo provera. Listen to her side of the story here.
Depo-Provera is a highly effective form of birth control (99% effective), however in the unlikely event that pregnancy does occur. It is likely to be an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life threatening.
Have you tried using using Depo Provera? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
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