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Real Women Discuss Their Experiences with Depo Provera

Depo Provera Side Effects


Updated June 25, 2014

Real Women Discuss Their Experiences with Depo Provera

Depo Shot

© 2009 Dawn Stacey

Nonstop Bleeding on Depo:

"I had one Depo shot and have been bleeding for 11 months since. My Doctor says this is NORMAL with the Depo. I advise never to receive this form of birth control." -- Emily

"I am on Depo, too (my second shot) and am bleeding. The first 3 months were smooth. I got the second shot in February 2009, and it is now March, and I don't seem to stop bleeding." -- Essy

"I had my baby Dec 14, 2008 and decided to take Depo January 14, 2009. One week after getting the Depo injection, I started bleeding. Ever since, I've been bleeding for 2 and a half months. I have called 3 doctors, and they can't help me." -- Jeannie

"Oh I feel so sorry for you guys. I'm 24 and have been on and off Depo since I was 19. I haven't had any problems until my Depo shot 3 weeks ago. After the shot, I have been bleeding. Annoying, yes!" -- Marion

"So I see why they say Depo lasts for three months, and you won't get pregnant ...because the whole time you are bleeding and don't want to have sex ...so there is no way to become pregnant!" -- Shay

It is important to discuss the potential for irregular or prolonged bleeding while using Depo Provera with your doctor as research has shown that women are more likely to continue with using Depo if they are counseled about the bleeding effects before they receive their first injection. As with spotting, prolonged bleeding (like a continuous period) is also a completely normal Depo side effect, and unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how your body may react to Depo, whether you will have prolonged bleeding, and if so, knowing when it will stop.

Depo and Bone Mineral Density:

"I have had 2 Depo Provera injections - the first month was a bit rough as I never knew when the spotting would come. Ever since my second injection, I have had no bleeding (yay!). I am concerned though because my friend just told me something that Depo can lower my bone mineral density? I am 19, so I am concerned. Is this true?" -- Heather

The package inserts for both Depo Provera and Depo-subQ Provera 104 contain a mandated black box warning concerning possible bone loss while using this birth control method. According to the insert, using Depo may cause you to lose calcium stored in your bones, and the longer you use Depo Provera, the more calcium you are likely to lose. Thus, women who use Depo may lose significant bone mineral density.

Non-Contraceptive Advantages of Depo:

"I am actually using the Depo-subQ Provera 104 injection. I have had endometriosis for years, so ever since the FDA approved it for the treatment of endometriosis pain, I was first in line at my doctors! Using Depo-subQ has been the best thing that I ever did. Sure, I spotted for a few days at first, but it wasn't bad and was over very fast. In the meantime, fast-forward 6 months, Depo has helped reduce my pain better than anything else. I have virtually no more pelvic pain or pain with my period. I can actually have sex again because it doesn't hurt and my pelvic-area is not tender or painful when touched anymore. Plus, my other meds gave me the sweats, so Depo has stopped that as well. Thank you for inventing this option. I love Depo Provera!" -- Amber

The Depo-subQ Provera 104 shot is the first new remedy in the last 15 years to be FDA approved for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain. According to research provided by Pfizer, Depo-subQ Provera 104 treats endometriosis pain as effectively as leuprolide yet is associated with fewer vasomotor symptoms (like hot flashes or sweats) and significantly less bone loss. Depo Provera can also be used -- overall, studies show that Depo yields pain relief statistically equivalent to that of leuprolide. Depo may cause changes to the lining and tissue growth in the uterus that also helps in relieving endometriosis-related pain.

Other Contraceptive Injections:

"I am thinking about starting Depo Provera. My aunt told me about another birth control shot that I've never heard of. It's called Noristerat. Also, just to make one more comment, I have two close friends on Depo, and they love it (that's why I am considering switching to it. My friends swear Depo is the best!)" -- Vanessa

"I am currently using the Cyclofem birth control shot. I get one about every month, and it's great. No bleeding or any other side effects. Maybe you should look into it?" -- Maria

Birth control shots deliver synthetic hormones via an injection and are reversible prescription methods of birth control. Depending on the brand, pregnancy protection can range from 30 days to 14 weeks. Depo Provera, as well as its newer version, the Depo-subQ Provera 104 Injection, are progestin-only injections.

  • The Noristerat Injection is another progestin contraceptive shot. It is not available in the US but is common in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, and Central America. It continuously releases its progestin into the bloodstream for 2 months. Noristerat is intended to be a short-term method of contraception as the injection may be repeated once, after eight weeks.

  • Monthly Combined Contraceptive Injections, like Lunelle, now marketed under Cyclofem and Mesigyna, are combined contraceptive shots that contain both estrogen and progestin. This birth control method must be administered every 28 to 30 days. Lunelle became available in the US in 2000, but its prefilled syringes were voluntarily recalled in 2002 due to a lack of assurance of full potency and possible risk of contraceptive failure. In October 2003, Pfizer stopped manufacturing Lunelle, so it's no longer available in the US. Cyclofem, a similar shot, is available in 18 countries (mostly in Latin America and Asia). Mesigyna (another type of combined injection) can be found in 36 countries, primarily in Latin America and Asia, but is also not available in the US.

Last Page: Other Depo Side Effects and Don't Like Getting Shots

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