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This post is an extension of the
Strange symptoms after getting off Depo Provera? thread.

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I've been on depo for 16 years now - longer than anyone I've ever heard of (from the ages of 22 to 38). I've had weigh gain along the years but I attribute that more to age and lack of good eating habits than to depo. Basically I've loved being on depo and not having periods for 16 years. Now I'm thinking of getting off it due to concerns about bone loss (I had a bone density test about 2-3 years ago and it was fine), but I found this thread and I'm terrified!! Is there anyone out there who 1) has been on depo this long, and/or 2) has gone off depo after a long period of time and hasn't had any of the symptoms people describe? I'm just curious if by nature the only people writing on this thread are the ones having problems, or if EVERYONE who goes off depo experiences these terrible symptoms. Please feel free to write me directly with your experiences. _[removed]_u
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I'm very grateful to have found this thread and have read through the whole lot!

I'm 40 (just). During my mid 20s i went on depo without any great thought about it, must have been on it for about 9 months, had no side effects other than periods stopping immediately and completely, came off it and had no side effects that i recall, apart from putting on about half a stone and i think i remember feeling quite down.

I have always had very regular periods, 30 days, like clockwork, used to last for 4-5 days with mild cramping before i had my children, after the children still 30 day cycle but only lasting 2-3 days with no cramping at all; i get worse pain when i ovulate, which is when i feel very uncomfortable.

I get pregnant very easily, conceived both of my children the month i planned to. They're now 9 and 6 years old. I'm now in a stable relationship having been separated from their father for five years in December, and we're hoping to have a child together. I didn't read up on depo half as well as i should have done judging by the posts here; i just remembered it being pretty straightforward, so went ahead. However the experience of Depo this time around has been VERY different. I've had three shots over nine months in total.

For the first month (July 08) I had no period, no spotting and lost weight (i was consciously dieting.) Even knowing that there was no way it was possible, i found myself taking a couple of pregnancy tests because that chemical does its job so VERY well that i was convinced i was experiencing pregnancy symptoms. During the third month i start spotting and my libido dropped considerably. My energy levels started dropping too. I had the second shot hoping that it would 'settle' my body and the spotting would stop. It didn't, it got worse, although not particularly heavy, it was random, and happened pretty much constantly. It was with some reluctance i had the next shot, in January of this year, half heartedly hoping that THIS might be the one that would stop the spotting. We'd decided by then that we'd like to try for a baby and i'd started reading up on the internet, discovering the painful and shocking experiences of others along the way. The spotting continued, changed into something more like a very rapid 1-2 day period every now and then, completely unpredictable and very depressing.

I was due to get another shot on 22 April which I chose not to get for obvious reasons! I haven't known what to expect due to the posts that i've been reading. Sex life has continued as normal. For the first week i felt fine, some spotting as when on the depo, but slightly less so. Same during the second week, and hurrah, the return of the libido to some extent! At the end of the third week (15 May) i was starting to feel nauseous and had a stomach upset, energy levels dropped through the floor. It's now near the end of the fourth week and i've had one long week of breast tenderness, extreme tiredness, nausea pretty much all day, very emotional, and during the past couple of days i've had lower abdominal 'cramps', i say cramps but it's more like sudden pains that come and go very quickly and remind me VERY much of how i felt at the beginning of both of my previous pregnancies. I also now 'feel' different; my boyfriend asked me a couple of weeks ago if there was a chance i might be pregnant and i dismissed the idea because i didn't 'feel' it - now i do!! But i'm tempering this by taking in everything other people have said on these posts and remembering that at the start of the depo i thought i was pregnant despite knowing, logically, that i couldn't be.

I took a test yesterday, it's negative; if i AM pregnant it's possibly too early too tell (who knows, since who knows if i've ovulated, according to the literature it could take 6 - 18 months for ovulation to return.) I'm usually very good at knowing when i'm ovulating, and although a couple of weeks ago i had a 'Huh?' moment when i thought i might be, i'm not convinced that i have, at all. There has been no spotting whatsoever for two weeks.

I honestly think there should be a collective outcry against this drug, given the extent to which it messes up the female system; of course it does, it's designed to completely stop that which even the moon has helped regulate for hundreds of thousands of years! Not that surprising so many of us - so MANY of us - are all over the shop, with our brains being fooled by a chemical, and our bodies experiencing some seriously negative impact. I really don't believe it's worth it.

I will update *when* the test comes back positive! ;) Meanwhile good luck to everyone out there, those who are TTC and those who are not.
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In response to the first person in this thread (part 2) I've wondered too, if the only people who respond are the ones who are having problems. After all, why would you think to research something that you don't have problems with?
I've been on and off depo for 12 years, and I've been happy with it. I'm going off now, because the dr suggested it MAY help reduce my depression. I looked up going off depo due to the sore boob symtoms. However, the last time I went off this, I don't remember having any side effects at all. I still don't have my period, and don't expect it until July or so. And I'm not really looking forward to it.
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My last shot was due this past April, but went back to the clinic almost a month after the actual due date. They said they couldn't give me the shot because i was so late of getting it and they have to wait til' i get my period. Well, it's almost going to be june and still no period. I do however have VERY sore breats (hugging ppl is becoming painful and uncomfortable and i can't sleep on my stomach). I was getting worried and after reading that other women were or are having the same symptoms due to them not going back to get their shots, i do feel better...not 100%, but it's up there. I think it's my very 1st time that i really DO want my period to come. Alot of depo information says that it can take months and maybe even a year til' i get my period....although, other women can get theirs a week or a month after their last shot was due, so basicly, a woman's body can vary from person to person. I was told that taking a pregnancy test might be a waste because i put my body thru alot: getting the shot for over a year then stopping it (didn't mean to purposely stop it) can screw up my body in many ways and i might be given a false result, so i have to play the waiting game. I put myself in this situation, I know, but it still sucks.
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I have been on the depo shot for 8 1/2 yrs. Started when I was 21. Two months ago I had a horse backriding accident and had to go for X-Rays. I found out that I have ostoeporosis in my spine (that of a 75yr old) and osteoperina in my hips. (May or may not be able to have kids - still unclear on that right now) What makes me mad is not ONCE did my GYN tell me about side effects of bone loss and when I asked her to do the bone density test, she REFUSED! (Needless to say I went to another doctor and had the test done.) My GYN told me that there was "no way anyone my age could have it" and we should wait untill my next annual to do the test. Every day counts when you have osteo! Also, from doing my own reasearch - a pregnancy test is supposed to be done before you take the depo shot everytime - was never told that as well. My last shot was due May 15 - did not take it and will not take it anymore. To top it off, I started to take Actonel for the osteoperosis. About a week after I developed a scalp condition, that turned very bad. After 2 weeks of hair falling out, pain, lots of $$ for meds and missed days at work, I now have Psoriasis of the scalp. Which I will have the rest of my life. No family history of it - caused by new medication (for osteo) and going off medication (depo) and stress. Pretty much the depo shot has totally ruined my body. From reading all the other posts on here, looks like I am in for one heck of a ride while coming off this shot! I am meeting with a lawyer next week. Going to go after the GYN office for negligence and going to try to go after the makers of the depo shot. For anyone who is taking the depo, find another birth control but if you choose to stay on it get a bone densitiy test done NOW!!!
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Finding all of these posts have been one of the happiest days of my life.....or close to it lol. I have been off and on the depo shot for at least six years. I started it back up after taking a year off last year. My last shot was scheduled for july 11th-july 25th and I missed it. Starting two weeks ago I have been experiencing dizziness, nausea, tender nipples, going from sleeping a lot one week to having insomnia the next, hot flashes, cramping in my lower abdomen, moodiness, muscle and back aches, frequent headaches, craving different foods that I must have at the time of craving, nesting (I have been compulsively cleaning and when I am with my friends I want to go home to clean), decreased interest in sex, and acne. I also alternate between feeling anxious, restless, overreacting to situations and feeling like I can't cope with daily nuissances (I got lost going to a marketing event and I started freaking out, crying, and was ready to go home or when I started to cry because I needed one more quarter to buy a soda and I didn't have it lol). I took a pregnancy test and it came back negative. However, I was still feeling all these things and I was convinced the test was wrong. Now I know it's from the depo. I never experienced all of these things before beyond heavy acne and bleeding when coming off depo so all these side effects were new to me. I told my boyfriend the happy/sad news (happy because these are not pregnancy symptoms but side effects of coming off depo) and sad because it's going to last for four more months). It's every mans dream dont you think? PMS for six months straight o.O I should probably start looking for medals to award him when it's all over.
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I have been on depo after both of my children. I had my daughter at 17 and after i had her went on depo, i was on it for atleast 3 years before going off. I do not have any periods while on the depo. I do remember from then that i didn't have a period for almost a year after having the shot, but then i connected the depression and other symptoms i was having to the troubles i was having with my life and not myself. When the periods came back i do remember the depresson going away. Well I kinda forgot about the depression and other things when i had my son at age 25 and went right back on the depo for conveinence and the no period thing works for me, aswell as my doctor found out i can't take anything with estrogen as my body produces too much on it's own and anything with estrogen was causing me problems with my heart and blood clots. It was either depo or iud which i was scared of at the time and didn't know anyone who had one. so i went on shots again and again no periods immediatly after the first shot. I continued it until March of this year (makes it about 3 years again on the depo) and was suppose to go back in june which i couldn't due to my husband lost his job and we lost our insurance. It is now september almost october and still no periods again, only this time this past month, i really feel pregnancy symptoms as others have. stomach problems, nausea, moods swings, but my sex drive has returned a little more now (the shot did deminish my drive). I even have cramping starting this month and i've been praying it was me starting my period but no luck. after this i don't think i will ever go back on the shot again as i also did have some weight gain this time too. i've been wondering if i were pregnant despite the tests but after finding this like others glad i'm not alone. people looking into the shot i really would not suggest it, the hormones are obviously very strong for our bodies and there are other options, plus i am really wondering about the long term affects the docotrs aren't talking about since none of the doctors told me anything about side effects to the shot and 2 of the 3 i saw never mentioned bone density scans period! this time around i'm going with the iud since there are no hormones involved.
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My heart has been touched about all of these posts. THank you for posting about your experiences and I appreciate your openness. Please keep the stories coming. Thank you!
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Hi Ladys
I have just turned 50 this year,I was put on depo 3 years ago,because i had periods 3 weeks out of 4 for over 2 years,I was run down lost wait,My doctor had put me on depo to stop the bleeding,I thought great,no more periods,no more flooding......
In Dec of this yearI was told it was time I came off depo,so my body could start going through Menopause,I had my last shot in March,by June when I was due for my next shot,I went into full blown menopause,symptom's of nausea,hot flushes all day on and of,night sweats,,tiredness,aches and pains,just feeling sick all day,in and out of bed,the smell and taste of food is alful,force my self to eat,I had been to the doctor,he's put me on HRT,didnt help,had blood tests all came back fine,,,had ct scans,nothing came up,the Doctor's lost,he's not sure where to send me next,I had asked if it could be With draw symptoms from depo,3 months ago,the look on his face and shaking his head saying no........its now Oct 2009,this has been going on for 4 months,so many vist to the doctors,its not funny,I dont expect to get my periods back at all. Please anyone let me know if you have been through the same thing and how long did these feelings of being sick last. :-S
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Hi there, I'm sorry to hear that the depo went badly for you but it sounds like a lot of the normal stuff while going through menopause. Can you give us an update on how your'e doing? Thanks!
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Hi everyone, thanks so much for all of your postings. For the past few weeks, I have felt like I have been losing my mind with what has been happening with my body. I have been on depo on and off (more on than off) since the end of 04, and I have not had a period since that time. I'm 29, I just got married in July 09 and did not have my last depo shot which was due on July 24th 09, since we would like to start a family soon. It is the beginning of October 09 now, I have not had a return of my period, and for the past few weeks I have experienced so many of the symptoms other women have described. My breasts are HUGE (about a D right now, I am usually a C) and extremely sore. They hurt constantly, more so if they are touched in any way. I am completely exhausted, no matter how much sleep I get. I have gastrointestinal issues, mostly gas and bloating, and stomach gurgling. (I know, TMI) I have also experienced severe dizziness in the past 2 weeks, sometimes to the point where I have to reach out and hold onto something to not fall down. Since I began taking the shot, nearly 5 years ago, I have gained 12.5 pounds. I have not gained anymore weight since being off of depo, but I have not lost the weight either (I am finding it very hard to hit the gym or go running with the exhaustion) Additionally, I have taken 3 pregnancy tests, all negative, in the past 4 weeks, one just 3 days ago.
It would be nice if some of the ladies who have posted or will post, could keep us updated on their symtoms as the weeks go by. I will try to do the same since I didn't really see posters coming back to let us know when these symptoms have gone away!
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So I am 22 years old I started taking depo at 17.. up until last month I never missed a shot. Depo worked great for me, minus the weight gain of about 40lbs over 7 years (I also became less active after high school) I did get pretty depressed and I guess just kind of learned to control my moods while on it, or so I thought. My shot was due Sept 18th 09 and I figured after a constant 5 years of being on it my body could probably use a break from it, considering the bone loss thing depo can cause. I immediately started on ortho lo and I started getting horribly nauseated a few hours after taking the pill (and still am), I also have headaches and my boobies are sore.. but its not an intense pain as other people have described it just feels like I worked out a little too hard at the gym... thinking it was just from starting a new pill. I had NO idea that getting off depo would have these symptoms. :-( I dont feel any depression coming on, I actually feel more normal than I have in the past 5 years, I guess I didnt realize how depressed/moody the depo had made me. If I can just get passed these symptoms I'll feel a lot better about the decision to get off of depo. I know this is common but I feel I should also say that I haven't gotten my period yet, but I can't expect it to come right away hopefully i get it sooner rather than later. I am so glad I found this, Thanks a mil to all those who have posted, it gives me a sense of normalcy *whew* I'm not going crazy.. :-)
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Hi Ladies
I went to see another Doctor, i decided to see a lady doctor this time, one that may understand a bit more about the sick feelings we are experience going off depo, after telling my new doctor what I've been going through the last 4 months, the first thing she had said to me was,"you should never have been put on depo at that age being so close to starting menopause", I was so shocked to hear her say that,Doctors always stick together,what doctor will amit to drugs they prescribed you,are bad for you when they dont work for you.,anyway it gave me relief to know she understood what I was going through,and after starting on HRT 3/4 months ago , my hormones have started to settle down, i've started to feel much better,I was also given some pills to stop the nausea,I’m to stay on HRT for at least 12 months.
I know this info wont help the younger readers,but at least you know your not alone.
So if you are not having any luck with you doctor, try to see another doctor better still a woman doctor, if she’s had children she will understands the symptoms, the feelings of being pregnant, and you not pregnant,the breast tenderness,the nausea etc etc, all the symptoms of being unwell coming off depo.
(besides what male has ever felt the symptoms of being pregnant, so why do we see a male doctor when we feel that unwell)
It would also be good if people gave a time period, how long they have been feeling sick for,give an example of days, weeks, even months,also write back to let others know how long it took you to get well again.......

One lady on the forum asked about the Mirena
If your thinking about the Mirena “PLEASE” do your research, you found this forum, there is a forum for mirena withdraws symptoms just google it (the mirena can be just as bad as depo)
All the best ladies, hope you all start to get your life back soon.
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Royal Women's Hospital

Depo Provera is a hormone used for contraception. It is given by injection and its effects will last for three months at a time. It is similar to progesterone, which is one of the two main hormones made by a woman's ovaries during her normal cycles.

Why use contraception?

Contraception is necessary if you wish to avoid an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

How Depo Provera works

When a woman has Depo Provera, her body senses the presence of the hormone so that her own hormone production is 'switched off'. Because of this, her ovaries will not release an egg and this is how pregnancy is prevented. This is very similar to how 'the Pill' works. Depo Provera is also sometimes used in the treatment of endometriosis.


How well does it work?

Depo Provera is a highly effective method of contraception, more effective than the combined pill. If 100 women use Depo Provera for 1 year, possibly only one of those women will fall pregnant, that is, 99 will not. No form of contraception is totally effective. Depo Provera will only continue to be effective if injections are given every three months when due.


Side effects

Because hormone levels are low, most women develop very little uterine lining and have reduced periods. After two to three injections, many women will have no periods at all because there is no lining building up to shed. Some women will have nuisance bleeding, which is usually light and irregular. Occasionally a woman will have troublesome heavy bleeding, which can usually be controlled by hormone treatment.


Other effects,See your doctor if you have any of these

•A small amount of weight gain sometimes occurs, although many women have no change and some lose weight.

•Some women may be troubled by headaches, abdominal discomfort and mood changes.

•Some women have a reduced interest in sex, particularly women who are prone to depression.

•A small minority of women experience other side effects, which may be a nuisance but are unlikely to be serious. These include allergic reactions, fluid retention and breast soreness.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Depo Provera?

Advantages

•Depo Provera is highly effective with a very low failure rate.

•For many women the loss of periods is an advantage with relief of symptoms such as premenstrual tension and period pain.

•Depo Provera is also likely to cause some reduction in risk of ovarian cancer, endometrial (uterine) cancer, endometriosis and possibly pelvic infection.

•An injection is given every 12 weeks and no other effort or remembering is required.

Disadvantages

•Some women do not wish to see their doctor every three months for an injection.

•Some women experience side effects as already described, which may be uncomfortable or unpleasant.

Once the injection has been given, the hormone cannot be removed. If a woman wants to stop the Depo Provera she has to wait for it to wear off. In some women, periods can be slow to return after the injections are stopped; sometimes it takes up to 6 or 12 months. However, more than half will fall pregnant within 12 months and over 90 percent within two years.


Other things to think about
Hormone levels are very low while using Depo Provera, so there is some concern that this may lead to some thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) in women who use Depo Provera for a long period of time. The importance of this is not yet known, but the changes would be expected to happen more slowly than those that occur normally after menopause and reverse after the injections are ceased
Women commonly worry about drugs of any kind and cancer. Although it is extremely difficult to prove a complete lack of risk,
Depo Provera has not been shown to have any effect on the risk of breast cancer. It should be noted that protective effects against cancer of the ovary and uterine lining are very likely. No ill effects on the developing baby have been shown to occur if Depo Provera is given when a woman is already pregnant or in the very rare case where a woman becomes pregnant despite the injection.


Who can use Depo Provera?

Depo Provera can be used by most women who do not have any serious medical problems and by many women who use other forms of contraception. It may also be suitable for women who cannot take the combined pill for medical reasons.


Who should not use Depo Provera?

Depo Provera is not suitable for women who are experiencing the following:

•bleeding disorders or taking anticoagulant medication

•undiagnosed abnormal bleeding

•history of some forms of cancer

•certain other serious medical problems

•already pregnant

•wanting to become pregnant within 12 months.

Royal Women's Hospital
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