Gynecology >> DEPO-PROVERA - Progesterone-Only Birth Control Methods


Depo-Provera (Depo) is an injectable form of birth control that is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Depo works to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation in some women. The drug also thickens mucus in the genital tract obstructing the forward movement of sperm and reduces the ability of the uterine lining to be receptive to pregnancy.

The first dose of Depo must be injected during the first five days of the menstrual cycle.  Subsequent doses of Depo will be administered every 12 weeks or 84 days. Doses of Depo can be given earlier than 12 weeks, but no later than 13 weeks or 91 days without a lapse in birth control.

If a subsequent Depo dose is not obtained by 91 days, then it will not be administered unless you are on your menses or have abstained from intercourse for two weeks and have a negative pregnancy test. If you are late for your injection then your new injection will not be effective birth control for up to two weeks. Remember: emergency birth control is available over-the-counter at your pharmacy and is safe and effective. Recommended injection site is the buttocks. Although the site will be sore, resist massaging it. This will disperse the medication too fast.

Common side effects of Depo include: irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain (5 pounds the first year , 0 - 3 pounds every year after), acne, headache, worsening depressive symptoms. If irregular bleeding bothers you , you may obtain a Depo injection sooner than 12 weeks . Ask your doctor about this option.

After the fourth injection, most women do not menstruate anymore. This is not permanent but after discontinuing Depo regular menstruation may not resume for 3 - 12 months.

Depo effectively prevents pregnancy two weeks after the first injection. Birth control is continuous provided you obtain subsequent injections of Depo when your are due.

Depo does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

Because Depo decreases your estrogen levels, the drug can also reduce your bone strength. We recommend that you take a daily vitamin and calcium supplement. Your calcium goal is 1200 mg. daily. A glass of milk has 300 mg. Try two Tums Ultra daily. That will meet your needs. If you are over 40 Depo may lead to irreversible bone loss. Ask your health care provider about other options for birth control that have no impact on your bone health.

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