The birth control shot is one of the most low-maintenance forms of hormonal birth control, because you don’t have to think about it every day, or even every month. When you receive a birth control shot, the hormone progestin causes your cervical mucus to thicken and prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs, so you can’t get pregnant. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But surprisingly, many women don’t know much, if anything, about this easy form of birth control. Here are eight important facts about the birth control shot.
The Shot is Prescription-Only
A birth control shot contains medroxyprogesterone acetate, an FDA-approved form of progestin. As with other forms of hormonal birth control like the pill and the patch, you’ll need to have a prescription from a healthcare provider before getting your first shot.
You’ll Need a Shot Every 12 Weeks
While some people suggest you can get the birth control shot every three months, the correct interval is every 12 weeks (three months contain 13 weeks). This means you’ll be receiving your shots slightly more frequently than once every three months.
You Can Inject Some Birth Control Shots at Home
Some types of birth control shots require you to get them at a doctor’s office, but others allow you to administer the shot at home. Depo-SubQ Provera 104 is an at-home birth control shot that you inject into your upper thigh or stomach. SubQ stands for subcutaneous, meaning it’s applied just below the skin. You must administer the shot with the needle facing a 45-degree angle to make sure the medication doesn’t enter the muscle. You can also pinch the skin to separate the subcutaneous layer from the muscle layer and insert the needle into the pinched area.
You Don’t Need an Appointment for a Prescription
Healthcare providers at Nurx™ offer 100% online care, meaning you don’t need to see a provider in-person to get a prescription for the birth control shot. Simply visit the Nurx website or use the app and answer a few questions about your health, and then request the birth control shot. A healthcare provider will review your health profile and, if the shot is a healthy choice for you, write you a prescription. Then Nurx will delivers the shot to your door for free in discreet packaging.
It Won’t Protect You from STIs
Condoms are the only form of birth control that provides protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For this reason, you should use condoms while on the birth control shot unless you’re confident that you and your partners are STI-free. To check yourself at home for common STIs including chlamydia and gonorrhea, order an STI Home Test Kit from Nurx.
The Shot Might Change Your Period
You might have heard that birth control shots can cause your period to stop, and while that’s possible, it’s not the case for everybody. In some women, the birth control shot can cause a lot of irregular bleeding and spotting, especially during the first few months. There’s no way to determine how your body will react before taking the shot. If you’d like to have fewer periods, you might consider taking birth control pills such as Seasonique, which are designed for women to have only four periods a year.
It Can Be More Difficult to Get Pregnant After Stopping the Shot
Even though some women do get pregnant on the shot, it can also make it harder to get pregnant once you stop. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it can take up to 10 months to get pregnant after stopping the birth control shot. The length of time depends on how long it takes your hormones to return to normal, and depends on the person.
Birth Control Shots Might Relieve Endometriosis Symptoms
Beyond pregnancy prevention, the shot has been FDA-approved as a treatment for endometriosis. Because it stabilizes hormone levels and thins the uterine lining, it can lessen the abnormal tissue growth associated with endometriosis and leads to lighter or non-existent periods, reducing the period pain associated with endo. The birth control shot may even slow or stop the progression of endometriosis.
The birth control shot is one of the easier methods of birth control for women who tend to forget to take a pill regularly. All you have to do is schedule each shot on time, every 12 weeks, to maintain pregnancy protection. If, after the first shot, you and your healthcare provider decide this form of birth control is not right for you, the two of you can discuss one of the many other options available, including combination birth control pills such as Yasmin.
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.