Depo –Provera is a highly effective method of birth control used by women. It is also called as the ‘birth control’ shot since it is required to be injected into the women once every 12 weeks to remain effective.
The shot is given intramuscularly into the arm or the buttocks.
The birth control action of the shot is quite rapid and can start to work immediately if it is administered within the first five days of the menstrual cycle. The shot works by the use of a hormone similar to progesterone and is considered to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancies.
Side Effects of using Depo-Provera
Any hormonal contraceptive comes with the chance of causing some serious side effects to the body. These hormones are changing the usual balance that prevails in the body to achieve birth control. An important thing to remember here is that one person’s experience with hormonal contraceptives might be very different from another.
This is because there exist a number of variations in the hormone levels from person to person. A doctor will only really know what side effects a person will face while on this drug after they have started taking it.
None the less, here are some important side effects that are associated with Depo-Provera.
Change in the menstrual cycle
Most women taking the shot will find that their periods become irregular and the bleeding may be spotty. It is expected that half of all women on Depo-Provera will stop getting their periods within a year. The normal menstrual cycle should resume after stopping the drug.
Loss Of Bone Density
Long-term use of Depo-Provera is associated with a loss in bone density, which in turn will increase the likelihood of developing Osteoporosis. Women who exhibit other risk factors associated with the development of Osteoporosis should not be administered Depo-Provera.
Depression and Nervousness
Mood swings and a tendency towards feeling depressed/nervous are listed as some of the side effects that a person can expect while on the drug. This effect of Depo-Provera is somewhat controversial as there are studies that support and discredit this effect.
The most recent study on the effect of depression on patients that were taking Depo-Provera for a prolonged period of time found no link or increased incidence, however, they did find that people who stopped taking the drug because of a complaint of depression were more likely to be suffering from signs of depression earlier as well.
Other less severe side effects include:
- Weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Break out of acne
- Increase or decrease in the amount of facial hair
- Spells of dizziness
The Advantages of using Depo-Provera are many. The individual does not have to worry about taking a birth control every day or after every time they engage in intercourse. It is very convenient because it only requires a shot every three months and is extremely effective at preventing pregnancies.
The disadvantages of the drug should also be kept in mind. It does not protect the person from STD’s so a condom should be used to practice safe sex. The above-mentioned side effects can be too much for a person to handle, however, they will remain for three months or the duration of the active phase of the drug.
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