Depo-Provera® Hormonal Injections
- The Depo-Provera shot is very effective at preventing pregnancy.
- It's important to get your shot every 13 weeks (3 months).
- Periods can be heavier initially, and then lighter, or absent while on Depo-Provera .
|Out of 100 women using Depo-Provera®|
|Typical use: 6 women become pregnant|
|Perfect use: 1 or fewer women become pregnant|
When do Depo-Provera® hormonal injections start to work?
Most girls get their first Depo-Proverainjection during the first five days of a normal menstrual period. You are then protected from pregnancy right after you get the injection. Another way to start DepoProvera is “Quick start” – you get the first injection when you haven’t had sex for two weeks (or used a condom 100% of the time) and have a negative pregnancy test. You then need to use condoms for at least 7 days after the injection for additional protection.
How does Depo-Provera® prevent pregnancy?
The injected DMPA suppresses your pituitary gland which stops your ovaries from releasing eggs. Without these eggs, pregnancy can't happen. The injections also change the lining of your uterus and the mucus in your cervix. By changing your cervical mucus, the hormones make it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
How effective are Depo-Provera® injections?
If women get Depo-Proverainjections at the right time every 3 months, this method is more than 99% effective. This means that if 100 women get Depo-Provera injections at the right time, less than 1 woman will become pregnant in a year.
Depo-Proverainjections do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. So you need to use a condom to lower the chance of getting STIs.
Are there other benefits of Depo-Provera® injections besides the prevention of pregnancy?
Yes. Depo-Proverainjections can cause a decrease in menstrual cramps, lighter menstrual periods (or no periods, which many young women think is a good thing), and lessen the chance of anemia.
Where can I get Depo-Provera® injections?
Your health care provider can give you Depo-Proverainjections. He/she will first want to do a physical exam and ask you about your medical history and your family's medical history. This way, your health care provider can find out if Depo-Provera injections are a good type of contraception for you. The first Depo-Provera injection is usually given during the first 5 days after a normal menstrual period begins. Each injection costs between $30-$100, but your insurance should cover the cost.
Are there side effects from Depo-Provera® injections?
There are possible side effects from Depo-Proverainjections. They can be different for each woman. They include:
- Irregular menstrual periods - longer or shorter menstrual periods, heavier or lighter periods
- Loss of menstrual periods (the longer you get Depo-Provera injections, the greater chance you will have no menstrual periods at all)
- Weight gain (estimated that women gain about 5 pounds each year for the first 3 years). But you can help maintain your weight by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Young women who are already overweight are more likely to gain weight while taking Depo-Provera .
- Abdominal pain/discomfort
- Possible bone mineral loss which is usually reversible
If you get any of these side effects, talk with your health care provider. It's important for you to know that most women will have very irregular periods, especially during the first 6 months.
Should I be worried about my bones while I am on Depo-Provera®?
Researchers have found that teens are more likely to lose bone density while taking Depo-Proveracalcium in your diet, take a multivitamin or 400 to 800 units of vitamin D each day, get lots of weight-bearing exercise, and maintain a healthy weight (don't be too thin). Talk to your health care provider about all options for birth control, especially after you have been on Depo-Provera® for 2 years or you have a strong family history of low bone mass (osteoporosis). Patients at risk for osteoporosis should consider using an alternative form of contraception. If you're 18 years old or older, there's much less concern about Depo-Provera but you should still take in calcium and vitamin D and get plenty of exercise. No matter how old you are, make sure not to smoke while on hormones., however, bone density fortunately improves in most women after they stop Depo-Provera . Girls also lose bone mass during pregnancy so each young woman needs to think about the risks of pregnancy compared to the benefit of effective birth control with Depo-Provera . Your teen years, especially the years you are going through puberty (11 to 15 years), are particularly important for you to gain bone density. So until we know more, the best advice is to use Depo-Provera at least two years after you start your menstrual periods, take in 1300 mg of
Should I be worried if I stop getting my menstrual period while I am on Depo-Provera®?
No. Many women stop having their menstrual periods after about 6-12 months of getting Depo-Proverainjections. This is no reason to worry. It's not a medical problem and it does not mean you are pregnant. It just means that your ovaries are resting, and the lining in your uterus does not grow. So there is no menstrual bleeding. You will get your menstrual period back within 6-18 months after you stop taking the Depo-Provera injections.
Can any woman get Depo-Provera® injections?
No. Depo-Proverainjections cannot be used by women who:
- Are pregnant
- Have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Have a serious liver disease
- Have breast cancer
The good news is that women who can't use estrogen can still use Depo-Provera. Depo-Provera may also benefit patients with sickle cell disease by decreasing sickle cell attacks. Depo-Provera may also lessen the number of seizures.
What if I want to get pregnant? Should I use Depo-Provera®?
If you want to get pregnant in the next year, you should not use Depo-Provera, since it can prevent pregnancy for 6-10 months after the last injection. However, if timing is not an issue and you don't want to get pregnant for a couple of years, then you can use Depo-Provera (if it's right for you) until up to one year before you want to get pregnant.
If I decide to stop getting Depo-Provera® injections, how long before I need to start using another type of contraception?
If you want to stop getting Depo-Proverainjections, all you need to do is just stop. Even though, the progesterone in the Depo-Provera injection actually protects against pregnancy for more than 3 months, it's very important to play it safe and start using another type of contraception 3 months after your last injection.
As a young adult, it's normal to think about sex, have sexual feelings, and have a desire to learn more about your own body. Deciding to have a sexual relationship is an important decision since it involves both your body and your emotions. You need to make sure that it is the right decision for you...
Did you know that about 800,000 teen girls become pregnant in the United States each year, and more than 80% of these pregnancies are unplanned? Dealing with a pregnancy is one of the most important decisions a teen may need to make...