Considering birth control? Read and find out if Depo Provera injection is suitable for you.
If you’re considering family planning, there is a wide range of different birth control methods you can use. You can choose from pills, insertions, or even injections.
One well-known form of injectable birth control is Depo-Provera. Here in the Philippines, it is administered by a doctor.
But as with all other medications, it is important to research and see if this form of contraceptive is the best one to use for your lifestyle and your needs.
What you’ll read in this article:
- What is Depo-Provera injection?
- The steps to follow in getting the injection
- Side effects of Depo-Provera injection
What is Depo-Provera?
Depo-Provera is a birth control method that is administered to women in the form of a shot or injection. According to WebMD, the Depo-Provera shot is a man-made hormone called depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) or progestin. Progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone, a type of hormone that occurs naturally in the body.
How does progestin work?
In the body, progestin prevent pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from producing an egg, and thickening the mucus at the cervix to prevent sperm entering the uterus. These qualities make a Depo-Provera a highly effective form of birth control.
What to expect when getting a Depo-Provera shot
Since Depo-Provera or DMPA injections are allowed in the country, you may get these shots from public health centers or private clinics.
According to the MayoClinic website, here are the steps you should follow if you decide to get a Depo-Provera injection:
Consult your health care provider about a starting date.
To be sure that you are not pregnant, your doctor will usually give you the first injection within seven days after the start of your period.
If you have just given birth, the first injection may be scheduled five days postpartum, even if you decide to breastfeed.
You may start the injection process other times but you may be asked to take a pregnancy test first.
It’s also important to tell your doctor about any predisposed illness (such as high blood pressure, breast cancer, kidney disease or a history of heart attack) to prevent harmful side effects. He might look at your medical history and check your blood pressure before prescribing you the shot.
Prepare for your injection.
Your doctor will clean the injection site, just like any other shot. To administer this, your doctor or healthcare provider will give you a shot in your arm or your buttocks. Refrain from touching or pressing on the area after the injection has been administered.
Depending on the timing of your shot, your doctor may recommend you use another method of birth control as a ‘back up’.
The shot will not hurt, or is only as painful as an ant bite.
Schedule your next injection.
This step is important to ensure efficacy of the contraceptive. You need to schedule the next appointment for the next injection as it should be given every three months.
If you go longer than 13 weeks without injecting, the shot may not work, and you may need to take another pregnancy test.
Depo-Provera – how effective and how long does it work?
Studies show that Depo-Provera is about 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy if the shots are done consistently and according to schedule.
The reality is that there are times when it may not be possible to get these shots consistently (such as now, when there ‘s a pandemic and you’re limiting your visit to the hospital). In that case, efficacy of the shots decreases to about 94 percent.
The injection usually works between 12 to 14 weeks.
Because it is an injection and goes straight into your system, it is said to work immediately after being administered to the patient.
It is ideal to get the shot within about 5 days of your period. For this particular birth control method, consistency is key. So for it to work properly, the administration should be given like a routine.
It is important to note that this birth control method does not protect you against any sexually transmitted disease. It only helps prevent pregnancy.
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Is Depo-Provera injection an option for you?
Are there any side effects?
Like any other medication, there may be some side effects which most users can experience over after period of a two to three months. According to Planned Parenthood website, some of the side effects of getting a Depo-Provera shot are the following:
- Longer period than usual (on your first year)
- Spotting (light bleeding or brown discharge between periods);
- Not getting your period at all. About 50 percent of the women that got this shot stopped getting their period when using the contraceptive (this is normal).
- Nausea, dizziness or headaches
- Weight gain
- Sore breasts
- Decreased interest in sex
- Weakness and fatigue
- Slight bruising on the area where you got the shot
- A small, permanent dent in the skin where you got the shot (this is very rare)
If you are uneasy about any of these side effects, and are experiencing one or some of these symptoms for a couple of months, then you should consult your doctor to reassess if a Depo-Provera shot is the right contraceptive for you.
Consult your doctor right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms after getting your shot:
- Major depression
- Heavy bleeding or concerns about your bleeding patterns
- Trouble breathing
- Pus, prolonged pain, redness, itching or bleeding at the injection site
- Severe lower abdominal pain
- A serious allergic reaction
- Other symptoms that concern you
Other side effects:
If there’s one positive side effect from doing the Depo-Provera injection (other than not getting pregnant), it’s that it helps alleviate painful and heavy periods. This method has been known to help with painful cramps and PMS symptoms as well, but will not eliminate your period completely.
Expect side effects.
Is this the right course of birth control for you?
As mentioned earlier, this birth control method should be done upon consultation and prescription of your doctor.
It is a good option for you if you have access to health care centers and can visit your doctor consistently. This is also the ideal choice for those who do not want the hassle of taking a pill every day.
This is not a birth control method that is advisable for you if you are suffering or are predisposed from any of the following illnesses :
- Vaginal bleeding with no clear cause
- Liver disease
- Breast cancer
- Blood clots
Until you consult with your doctor, you cannot verify if the Depo-Provera injection is suitable for you.
As with any contraceptive method, it is always a personal choice and you need the approval of your doctor before proceeding with it.
Our body compositions are different and are very unique, so we all react differently with certain medications. Make sure that you work with your doctor on what is best for you and your family.
To learn more about the different kinds of birth control, click here.
What other birth control methods have you tried and have been effective? Tell us in the comments section!
Healthline, Planned Parenthood, Mayo Clinic