Let us go over through the side effects of depo shot. It is a birth control shot which involves injection of the progestin hormone to prevent pregnancy. Depo shot is also known by its brand name, Depo-Provera or is called DMPA, which is the name of the drug in the shot. Each shot helps to prevent pregnancy for 3 months.
When a depo shot is administered via an injection, the hormone progestin is released into the body. This prevents the ovaries in a woman from discharging eggs. Hence, when the sperms do not have an egg to join, pregnancy cannot occur. The cervical mucus in a woman is also thickened by the hormone, thereby blocking the sperms from joining with an egg. Additionally, progestin also causes thinning of the uterus lining which prevents a fertilized egg from fixing to the uterus, which in theory can prevent pregnancy.
Depo shot is one of the best methods at birth control but it does not prevent risk to STDs.
Side effects of depo shot
Depo shot is really safe to use as a method to prevent pregnancies. However, as is the case with all drugs, it can result in side effects. In case you are not sure about the safety of depo shot, then you may consult a doctor to verify its safety, or you may choose some other form of birth control.
- Women should avoid a depo shot if they-
- Are pregnant
- Have Cushing’s syndrome and are consuming the ‘aminoglutethamide’ drug to treat it
- Have fragile bones or have had bone fractures
- Have breast cancer
- Some women may experience unwanted side effects to a depo shot. However, most women adjust to the birth control shot without any side effects. Serious side effects to a depo shot are very rare.
- The most common side effect of the birth control shot is irregular bleeding, particularly in the initial 6 months or 1 year of use.
- Some women may experience heavier and longer periods
- Some women may have excessive spotting in addition to mild bleeding in between periods.
- The periods generally tend to become lighter and fewer in most women who have taken the depo shot. After a year of depo shot use, nearly fifty percent of the women may completely stop having periods.
- Such side effects are normal and depo shot users should not worry unnecessarily, as the shot is very effective when used in the correct manner. In case, you are worried about a pregnancy, then you may visit a doctor or take a pregnancy test.
- There are a number of other side effects to a depo shot which are far less common. They include:
- Change in libido or sex drive
- Weight gain due to change in appetite
- Loss of hair or excessive hair on the body or the face
- Sore breasts
- Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
- Fatigue or weakness
- Skin breakouts
- Increased nervousness
- The rarer side effects of depo shot are listed in the physician and patient label information for the medicine, Depo-Provera
- A depo shot is long lasting and very effective in birth control. Hence, it can cause delay in the return to fertility. It will take a long time for women to become pregnant after the last birth control shot. The average time span required is around six to ten months. The fertility levels of women may return to normal levels after 18 months, from the last depo shot.
- There are very rare serious side effects to a depo shot. In case, women experience the below mentioned symptoms, then they must immediately seek medical help
- A new lump in the breast
- Migraine that is accompanied by aura, i.e. visualization of flashing, bright, zigzag lights just before the occurrence of a severe headache
- Prolonged or abnormally heavy bleeding from the vagina
- Major depression
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Bleeding or pain and pus for several days at that part of the body where the depo shot was given
- In very rare cases, pregnancy may occur even after a depo shot. In such instances, the pregnancy may be an ectopic pregnancy, which is a very serious condition. Hence, emergency medical care should be called for.
- Depo shot birth control may also result in bone loss and temporary thinning of the bones. Such bone loss increases with the increase in the duration of depo shot use. Once the use of the birth control shot is stopped, bone growth gradually resumes. It is important to note that women who use depo shot, can protect their bones by additional intake of vitamin D and calcium, either through supplements or through a healthy diet, and by daily exercises.
- Some studies also suggest that a depo shot increase the risk to breast cancer
The side effects of a depo shot cannot be immediately stopped by any known methods or medications. They tend to continue till the effects of the shot disappear in twelve to fourteen weeks.