Birth Control Shot

People today have plenty of options when it comes to birth control.  But with all of these options, from implants to patches, it’s no wonder consumers have a difficult time figuring out what works for them.  That’s why Nurx is developing a series called “Birth Control FAQs,” which aims to empower consumers by answering the most frequently asked questions for each birth control type.  Want to learn more about how the shot works or the most common side effects from getting a patch? Nurx has you covered. While we don’t offer the shot as birth control option, we would love to talk to you about providing you with the best birth control pill for you, for only $5 for your first pack.

What Is Depo-Provera?

Image via Flickr by stevendepolo

Depo-Provera is an intramuscular injection that contains progesterone, a female hormone that prevents ovulation. Depo-Provera also creates changes in cervical mucus and lining, making it more difficult for sperm to reach the uterus. Turn to Nurx for all your birth control needs and learn about your options in a safe, confidential setting.

How Does Depo-Provera Work?

Depo-Provera is a prescription injection administered into the upper arm or buttocks every three months. When taken regularly, it is a safe, effective, and convenient method of birth control. Depo-Provera is an ideal solution for women who don’t want to think about taking a pill every day or if privacy is a primary concern. Nurx values your privacy, and we strive to make your contraceptive experience discreet and personal.

How Can I Get Depo-Provera?

Depo-Provera is available by prescription and requires an office visit every three months to administer the shot. Initially, you may need a medical exam from your doctor, including a blood pressure test and medical history review, to be sure Depo-Provera is right for you. The initial exam and injection may cost up to $250. After that, injections usually cost between $0-$150. Most insurance plans cover office visits, as well as the injection, possibly reducing your cost to zero. No insurance? No worries. Nurx makes it easy to choose the right brands that won’t empty your wallet.

What Should I Be Aware Of?

Because Depo-Provera may affect bone density, be sure to let your doctor know if you have — or anyone in your family has — osteoporosis. Women with a history of liver disease, breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, or blood clots should inform their doctor to be sure Depo-Provera is safe to use. Using Depo-Provera may interfere with lab results. Although Depo-Provera does not prevent sexually transmitted disease, it is effective when used in conjunction with other contraceptive barrier methods. Upon stopping use of Depo-Provera, it may take ten or more months for regular ovulation to recur. 

Are There Any Known Side Effects?

The most common side effect of the shot is a change in periods. You may experience heavier and longer periods, or they may diminish in length and your flow may be lighter. For some women, periods stopped altogether. Light bleeding or spotting is also a common occurrence. Bruising at the site of the injection is also a normal side effect.

Less common effects may include weight gain or a change in appetite. Headache and nausea may also occur, along with changes in mood. Sex drive may increase or decrease. Face and body hair could possibly increase, or hair loss may take place. Breasts may become sore or tender over time. Notify your doctor if you experience yellowing skin or migraine headaches or if your depression worsens.

What Else Should I Know?

Women who consume a significant amount of alcoholic beverages or who smoke are advised to consider an alternative birth control option. As changes in bone mineral density are sometimes a side effect of long-term use, women with thinning or weak bones or who have experienced a fracture or break are cautioned against using Depo-Provera. 

This medication may interfere with anti-seizure medications, as well as those for insomnia, depression, and HIV or AIDS. Depo-Provera may interfere with urinary and liver test lab results. As with any medication, consult with your healthcare provider to choose the best option for you.  

What Are Some Common Questions Asked About Depo-Provera?

What is Depo-Subq Provera 104? 

Depo-SubQ Provera 104 is also a contraceptive injected under the skin instead of the muscle. It is often prescribed to treat endometriosis.

When should I get the first shot?

Shots are administered five to seven days after the start of your period and every 12 weeks thereafter. The first injection should be administered within the first five days of starting your period in order for it to be immediately effective for birth control.

How long does it take for Depo-Provera to start working?

As long as the shot is given within five to seven days after the start of your menstrual period and re-administered every 12-13 weeks, Depo-Provera will begin protecting against pregnancy immediately and will remain 99 percent effective.

How long do side effects last?

Women report side effects diminishing, or ceasing altogether, within 30-60 days after beginning shots. Side effect may take longer to diminish in some women than others. Generally speaking, it takes about three months for your body to adjust to Depo-Provera. For some women, these side effects may continue until the depo shot wears off (11 to 14 weeks).

After stopping Depo-Provera, how long will it take for my periods to regulate?

Since Depo-Provera is a hormonal medication, when you stop getting the injections, it may take several months for your body to regulate. If you’re trying to get pregnant, it can take up to 18 months before you’re able to conceive. After one year of injections, the average length of time for menstrual cycles to return is about 6 months (after the last injection.) This can be longer or shorter.

Will I gain weight on Depo-Provera?

Depo Provera can cause women to gain weight. The amount however, can vary significantly.  Research has found that Depo Provera only causes weight gain but also increases body fat mass. The degree of weight gain appeared directly associated with the amount of Depo Provera used.