Depo-Provera – Birth Control Options for women

At Aanchor Health Center, we believe it is important that women fully understand all the birth control options available to them. Depo-Provera is a contraception method for women which is administered by a physician once every 12 weeks. It is an injection usually given in arm or buttocks, of Progestin, a hormone similar to Progesterone.

The Progestin in Depo-provera inhibits the ovaries from releasing eggs and also thickens the cervical mucus which blocks the sperm from entering the uterus.

Advantages of Depo-Provera are:

• You don’t have to remember to take it every day or use it before sex.
• It provides long-term protection as long as you get the shot every 3 months.
• It’s highly effective.
• It may be less expensive than the birth control pills you currently take, depending on your insurance and the type of pill you take.
• Safe, simple, and convenient.
• There is no daily pill to remember.
• There is nothing to do right before having sex.
• Some women say it improves their sex lives because it helps them feel more spontaneous.
• It is also a very private method of birth control — there is no packaging or other evidence that might be embarrassing for some people.
• The birth control shot does not contain estrogen, another type of hormone that is in many types of birth control, including the pill, patch, and ring. This means the shot can be a good choice for women who cannot take estrogen and for women who are breastfeeding.
• The shot can help prevent cancer of the lining of the uterus.

Side effects of the Depo-Provera are:

• Irregular menstrual periods, or no periods at all (some patients actaully think that not having a period is an advantage of using the depo-Provera)
• Headache
• Nervousness
• depression
• dizziness
• acne
• Changes in appetite
• weight gain
• Unwanted facial and body hair
• hair loss
• Loss of bone mineral density
• Change in the menstrual cycle is the most common side effect. You may have irregular bleeding or spotting. After a year of use, about 50% of women will stop getting their periods. Their periods usually return when they no longer get the shots.
• Long-term use of Depo-Provera may lead to loss of bone mineral density which makes osteoporosis more likely. This risk is greater if you’ve taken the shot for longer than 2 years, especially if osteoporsis runs in your family, you drink a lot, you smoke, or you have other risk factors for the condition.

Learn more about other Birth Control options available to you at Aanchor Health Center.