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Question
Posted by: Angel | 2003/02/27

The injection - Depo

Doc, can you please give me more information about the injection - I think you spell it Depo I am not sure. I want to know how effective it is and what about gaining weight etc.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageSexologist

Depo-Provera is the brand name of a prescription method of reversible birth control. It is a hormone like progesterone, one of the hormones that regulates the menstrual cycle. It is called depot- medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA).

A shot of DMPA in the buttock or arm can prevent pregnancy for 12 weeks. "The Shot":

keeps the ovaries from releasing eggs
thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from joining eggs.
99.7% Effective Against Pregnancy
The Shot is one of the most effective reversible methods of birth control. Of every 1,000 women who use it, only three will become pregnant during the first year.

Protection is immediate if you get the shot during the first five days of your period. Otherwise, use an additional method of contraception for the first two weeks. Protection lasts for 12 weeks.

The Shot does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Always use a latex condom or vaginal pouch to help prevent STIs.

Advantages
The Shot is very convenient and no one can tell you're using it. The Shot:

prevents pregnancy for 12 weeks
doesn't need to be taken daily or put in place before having sex
doesn't require surgery
contains no estrogen
reduces menstrual cramps and anemia
protects against endometrial and ovarian cancers
can be used while breastfeeding (six weeks after delivery).
Common Side Effects

Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect for women using the Shot.
Periods become fewer and lighter for most women -- most will have no periods after five years of use. It may take a year for periods to begin again after a woman stops using the Shot.
Other women will have longer and heavier periods.
Some may have more light spotting and breakthrough bleeding.
Less Common Side Effects

increased appetite and weight gain
headache
sore breasts
nausea
nervousness
dizziness
depression
rashes or spotty darkening of skin
hair loss
increased facial or body hair
increased or decreased sex drive.
Warning Signs
Tell your clinician immediately if you have:

vaginal bleeding that lasts longer and is much heavier than your usual period
major depression
a lump in a breast
sudden and severe abdominal pain
yellowing of skin or eye.
Disadvantages

You will need to get a shot every 12 weeks.
The effects of using the Shot cannot be reversed immediately.
You may not be able to become pregnant for a full year after you stop using it.
Side effects may continue for up to eight months until DMPA is cleared from your body.
Who Can Use the Shot?
Most women can use the Shot safely.

It may be most appropriate if you:

want very effective long-lasting contraception
want long-term birth spacing
cannot take estrogen.
It is inadvisable for you to use the Shot without special clinical supervision if you have:

concerns about gaining weight
diabetes
major depression
recent history of liver disease, such as hepatitis, or abnormal results on liver function tests
recently had blood clots in the eyes, legs, or lungs.
You should not choose the Shot if you:

are pregnant
want to become pregnant within 18 months
have unexplained vaginal bleeding
have a serious liver disease or growths of the liver
have a known or suspected breast cancer
have Cushings syndrome and are being treated with Cytadren
are allergic to DMPA
cannot put up with irregular bleeding or loss of your period.
How To Get The Shot
Your clinician will take your medical history and give you a physical exam, including:

blood pressure check
weight
breast exam
pelvic exam
Pap test (to check for cancer of the cervix).
There may be other tests based on your family and medical history.

The Shot is given into your arm or buttock.
You will need a shot every 12 weeks for as long as you want to prevent pregnancy.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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