What is it?

A hormone shot given every three months to prevent pregnancy, or in certain cases, to stabilize the lining of the uterus in patients with heavy bleeding. Based on current National and International practice, as well as over twenty years experience, we in the Women's Wellness Place feel the shot offers safe, effective birth control for many women. It has been approved for birth control use by the Food and Drug Administration.

How does it work?

To prevent pregnancy, it stops the ovary from releasing an egg each month. For heavy bleeding, it transforms the lining into a secretory pattern (stabilizes the tissue), so that it will shed regularly. It also prevents sperm from entering the uterus.

Who should use the injection? 

Women who do not want to take birth control pills because they become too nauseated, because they forget their pills, or don't like taking pills. Such women may consider using Depo Provera. Other women who may consider using the injection are those who can't take birth control pills because they have medical problems such as:

  • Sickle cell disease
  • high blood pressure
  • severe migraine headaches
  • blood clots
  • women over age 35 who smoke
  • diabetes
  • psychiatric problems
  • mental retardation

How effective is Depo Provera? 

The injection is more than 99% effective when given every three months. It is best to receive the first injection during or just after a menstrual period. If the first injection is not given at the time of menstruation, the patient and doctor should be sure that pregnancy is not present and a backup method (like foam and condoms) should be used for 2 weeks after the first injection.

Can Depo Provera be used by women who have just delivered a baby?

While we cannot make any guarantees, current medical literature suggests no evidence of adverse effects when a "progesterone only" method, such as the injection, is used immediately post-partum or when breast feeding.

Are there any side effects with the injection?

  1. Most women will have irregular menstrual bleeding after they get the injection. Some women spot off and on; some bleed frequently, and some don't bleed at all. Usually the amount of bleeding decreases with time, but the bleeding will always be unpredictable. Remember, this is normal for this medication. If the amount of bleeding is as heavy or heavier than your usual menstrual flow, you must contact the Women's Wellness Place. This would be very unlikely to occur; but if it did, it could indicate a problem. The problem could be related to or not related to the injection, but needs our attention.
  2. Some women may have weight gain, breast tenderness, headaches, and psychological changes such as depression and/or fatigue.
  3. If you choose to have a baby after you've had the injection, it may take one to two years after the last injection to become pregnant. Most women, however, can become pregnant much sooner.

Who shouldn't get the injection?

  1. Women in whom there is any chance they could be pregnant.
  2. Women who feel uncomfortable having irregular menstrual bleeding or no bleeding at all.
  3. Women who are unable or unwilling to return for repeat injections every three months (the injection may not be available through other doctors or clinics)

The injection does not protect against sexually transmitted disease. Condoms are the most protective method against STDs.

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