What is Depo Provera?
Depo Provera is a contraceptive injection or shot used to prevent pregnancy. You can get the shot in your upper arm or rear end. This shot gives you a dose of the hormone progestin. Progestin prevents pregnancy in these ways: It thickens the mucus in the cervix, thereby making it hard for sperm to travel into the uterus. It also thins the lining of the uterus, making it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. Progestin can at times stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
The shot provides birth control for three months at a time. You then need a new shot.
How does it work?
In the first year of use:
- When the shot is usedasdirected, less than 1 woman out of 100 has an unplanned pregnancy.
- When the shot is not used as directed, 6 women out of 100 have an unplanned pregnancy.
Ensure you tell your doctor about any health problems you may have or medicines you take. He or she can help you choose the birth control method that is good for you.
What are the advantages of the shot?
- This shot is one of the most effective methods of birth control.
- It's convenient. You need to get a shot just once every 3 months to avert pregnancy. You don't have to interrupt sex to prevent pregnancy.
- It averts pregnancy for 3 months at a time. You don't need to worry about birth control for this period.
- It's safe to use while breastfeeding.
- The shot may lessen heavy bleeding and cramping.
- The shot doesn't have estrogen. So you can use it if you don't want to take estrogen or can't take estrogen because you have certain health issues or worries.
What are the disadvantages of the shot?
- This shot doesn't prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as herpes or HIV/AIDS. If you are not sure whether your sex partner might have an STI, use a condom to protect against disease.
- The shot may cause bone loss in certain women. Talk to your doctor about the dangers and benefits.
- Any side effects may last up to three months.
- The shot may cause irregular periods, or you may experience spotting between periods. You may also stop getting a period. Some women see getting no period as an advantage.
It may cause mood swings, less interest in sex, or weight gain.
In many cases, you will have to go to the doctor every three months to get the shot.
- If you want to get pregnant, it may take up to 18 months after you stop receiving the shot. This reason is that the hormones the shot provided have to leave your system, and your body has to readjust.
- If you have severe side effects, you have to wait for the hormones to leave your system. This may take up to three months.
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