Birth control: Depo-Provera contraceptive injection and its side effects

Birth control: Depo-Provera contraceptive injection and its side effects

Nowadays it there are a range of different birth control methods you can use. What is Depo-provera and what are its side effects?

Nowadays there are a range of different birth control methods you can use.  There are pills, or insertions or even injections. Depo-Provera is a contraceptive injection. These contraceptives are usually administered with a check up and consultation with your doctor.

In this article we will look at Depo-Provera as a birth control method, what are the things that can be expected to happen, and if there are any major side effects.

What to read in this article:

  • What is Depo-Provera injection?
  • Side effects of Depo-Provera injection
  • How long does Depo-Provera injection will last?

What is Depo-Provera?

Depo-Provera is a birth control method that is administered as an injection. According to WebMD, the Depo-Provera shot is a man made hormone called medroxyprogesterone, which is similar to the natural female hormone progesterone.

What you can expect

According to the MayoClinic website, this what you can expect upon deciding to use the 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 post partum, 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. You may even have a predisposed illness (more on that later) which may give you side effects that were not expected.

Prepare for your injection. Your doctor will clean the injection site, just like any other shot. Do not massage the site 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 is the important one to ensure efficacy: 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.

How long does it last?

If you opt to get this birth control shot, please consult your doctor. To administer this, your doctor or healthcare provider will give you a shot in your arm or your buttocks. The medicine works from 12 to 14 weeks.

How effective is Depo-Provera?

The studies show that Depo-Provera is about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy if the shots are done consistently and timely manner. Reality is that there are times when it may not be possible to get these shots consistently, such as now, during a pandemic. So the efficacy of the shots are put at 94% not at 99%.

Does the Depo-Provera shot take a long time to work?

Because it is an injection and goes straight into your system, it is said to work immediately after administration 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.


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Is this an option for you?

Are there any side effects?

As with any other medication, there may be some side effects which most users can experience over after a 2-3 months. According to Planned Parenthood website, some of the side effects are:

  • Bleeding more days than usual;
  • Spotting (light bleeding or brown discharge between periods);
  • Not getting your period at all.

The side effect of only about half of people that got this shot have stopped getting their period (don’t worry, this is totally safe).

Other possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Sore breasts
  • Depression
  • Slight bruising 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, and are experiencing one or some of these symptoms for a couple of months, then you should consult your doctor. If you have any other reaction or experiencing any other side effect from this birth control, then you should consult your doctor immediately.

Please note that this birth control method does not protect you against any sexually transmitted disease. It only helps prevent pregnancy.


Expect side effects.

Is this the right course of birth control for you?

As mentioned earlier, this birth control method should be done with consultation with your doctor. It is a good option if you are able to go to the doctor consistently. This would be perfect birth control method for those who do not want to take 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: 

  • Vaginal bleeding with no clear cause
  • Liver disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Blood clots

Not all side effects are bad

There are some side effects of Depo-Provera that are not so bad. One of these is to help alleviate painful and heavy periods, for those who get them. This method has been known to help with painful cramps and PMS symptoms as well, but will not eliminate your period completely.

Is this Birth Control Method for you?

This is completely up to you. Any birth control method is a personal choice, and especially when it is medicine such as this, you need to consult with your doctor before taking it. Our body compositions are different and are very unique, so we all react differently with certain medicines. 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. 

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Sinulat ni

Aimee Marcos

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