Why do so many women, even girls under 18, use birth control shots over other contraceptive methods? Are they even aware of Depo shot side effects? It’s alarming that in the US, girls under 18 can avail themselves of Depo shots without the knowledge of their parents. There are many side effects of Depo shot that are not always readily observed. More often than not symptoms are excused and dismissed by caregivers and health professionals alike.
Depo-Provera, medroxyprogesterone acetate, is a long-acting injectable progestogen that causes the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to reverse ovulation. The other action a Depo shot takes is to thicken the cervical mucus, causing a barrier to spermatozoa, alteration in tubal ovum transport, and atrophy of the endometrium. Therefore, no ovulation and release of eggs.
How and When Does Depo Shot Work?
Depo-Provera is given by intramuscular injection in the gluteal or deltoid muscle. 150 mg is injected every 3 months or 13 weeks. The first dose is given within 5 days of a normal menstrual period for immediate protection against pregnancy. Succeeding injections can be given at any time during the menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant. Using a Depo shot for more than 2 years is not advisable.
Health professionals would agree that most women can have a contraceptive injection. However, women who use Depo shot should be counseled that Depo-Provera, though a sterile injection, does not protect them from contract sexually transmitted diseases (STD), such as HIV infections.
Adverse Reactions to Depo Shot
According to the medical information of Depo-Provera CI, there are precautions regarding adverse reactions to Depo shot to note before using this contraceptive injection. Here are the 5 precautions mentioned.
- Weight Gain – Among many Depo Shot side effects, this is the second leading reason, next to menstrual changes and spotting, for discontinuing the use of DPMA. This study indicates that Depo-Provera caused a significant weight gain among many of those studied. Weight gain varies from 1 to 14 kg. Excessive weight gain (??10%) was observed in 9 (18%) of Depo-Provera users. (If you have experienced weight gain, try Diet One Day Wafers by Whole Family Products.
- Thrombosis and Thromboembolic Disorders – A controlled study showed the risk of venous thrombosis and thromboembolic events was increased for injectable DMPA contraceptive users.
- Jaundice, or Acute or Chronic Disturbances in Liver Function – Hepatotoxicity can occur when excessive progestin is injected into your system.
- Loss of Bone Mineral Density – this results in a decrease in serum estrogen levels which is associated with the loss of bone mineral density (BMD). A study found statistically significant decreases in spinal and femoral neck BMD in adolescent girls who were DMPA users for over 24 months. You may consider using BiEstro Cream a Natural Estrogen Cream that helps improve bone density.
- Ocular Disorder – Despite a 30?year history as a safe and effective contraception for the majority of DMPA users, there were two reports presented that suggest a possible causal association with retinal vein occlusion.
- Anaphylaxis Reaction – a life-threatening type of allergic reaction which is associated with Depo Shot side effects, as shown in a case study of an adolescent girl which concluded that anaphylaxis can occur even if a user had no adverse reactions from previous injections from the same product.
- Breakthrough Bleeding – this condition is often associated with contraceptives. It can be managed by estrogen supplements.
- Irregular Periods and Amenorrhea – This is also one of the most common Depo Shot side effects. While absence of periods is a relief for many women using birth control, it can be detrimental to a later desire for pregnancy.
- Other Depo Shot side effects include migraine, disturbance in glucose tolerance for women at risk of diabetes, and depression.
Risks of Depo Shot
- Cancer Risks – Despite the lack of an overall association, these findings suggest further risks of Depo shot. Breast cancer is a risk more likely to occur in young women. Also, an Upjohn study in 1972 observed the greater risk of cervical cancer in women who were exposed to Depo shot. Furthermore, a 3 to 9-fold increased risk of cervical cancer is found in Depo-Provera users, according to a National Cancer Institute study.
- Risk of Cardiovascular Disease – this is a possibility for women who may be using Depo Shot for more than a year.
Possibility of Ectopic Pregnancy
Pregnancies are rare with women using Depo-Provera. However, ectopic pregnancy is frequently unrecognized until beyond the first trimester. Therefore, the possibility of ectopic pregnancy cannot be ruled out.
Besides being an abortifacient, the Depo Shot is harmful to the user and also to any conceived life. Let’s just make sure we are clear. If you get pregnant, it will cause you to abort. So, as the same with other chemical contraception, women do not know they might actually be miscarrying their newly formed baby when their period starts. Knowing this, a woman who still desires to get pregnant in the near future must seriously consider the fertility effects of Depo shot. Discontinuation of Depo shot is likely to result in a delayed return to ovulation and fertility; however, a large portion of women who stopped using Depo-Provera can still become pregnant.
Understanding more of the Depo Shot side effects, it is wise and helpful to take precautions, especially if you wish to have a baby in the near future. Many women experience up to 18 months in future conception after they stop the shot.