Your Humble Opinions on Depo Provera

I am strongly considering going on Depo Provera. I have weighed the pros and cons and this is what I’ve come up with so far…

All pros and cons in my list are things that could possibly happen, not that will definitely happen.

Pros

  • No period at all.
  • Won’t have to remember to take a pill everyday. (This is a huge concern for me since I have a really crappy memory and an irregular schedule)
  • Protection is effective immediately if shot is given within the first 5 days of menstrual cycle.
  • Protection is long-term (3 months) but reversable in about a year.
  • Weight loss.
  • Protection is almost 100% effective

Cons

  • Lots of bleeding.
  • Weight gain.
  • Onset of depression
  • Loss of sex drive.
  • Stays in system for a while
  • Increased risk of breast cancer
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Now I know all of the clinical stuff. I’ve heard all the warnings from the web site, my doctor, friends, etc.

Now what I’d like to hear is personal stories from people who have been on Depo Provera.

I did a search and came up with a few sites, mostly from a while back (a year or more ago). So I thought I’d take the initiative and start up a new thread on the topic.

So Dopers, what is your opinion/personal experience with Depo Provera? An inquiring mind needs to know…

–DoperChic

Major disclaimer first, DoperChic:
[ul][li]I am not female[]I haven’t gotten any in a couple of years[]I’ve never been with anybody on Depo[]I don’t know how you like your sex.[/ul]Having got that out of the way, I think you’ve missed a couple of Pros:[/li][ul][li]Spontaneity – you can bump uglies whenever you want.[]Feeling – I and most of the women I’ve been with really prefer flesh-to-flesh sex. :D[/ul][/li]Do those help your decision any? For what it’s worth, I’ll be monitoring this thread to see what women think of contraceptive injections like this, since I hope to be sexually active again someday.

I tried it a few years ago, when I first heard of it it seemed too good to be true, and it was…
In my case the first two injections caused nearly no symptoms, I had one light period, and that was it, and a slight loss in sex drive, but nothing very serious. Then after the third injection I started to get some spotting, spotting that lasted nearly all day, for 3 months, yuck! and me being a total idiot I got another injection to see if it was just a temporary thing, it wasn’t… 6 months of nearly daily spotting eeek!
But that being said I just recently changed contraceptive pill and realised that the previous pill was causing much more serious (to me) side effects, such as monstor PMS, that seemed to last for about 2 weeks a month, and nearly no sex drive, I didn’t realize it was due to the pill so when I changed brands it was like a whole new me.
So I guess what I want to say it give it a go, contraceptives seem to have different reactions in different people, and if the injection works for you it is a totally great contraceptive.
Also I understand that if the side effects are serious, depression, heavy bleeding etc then you can get an oestrogen injection to counter the effects so that is always a backup, although I think that will counter the effects of the contraceptive and you’ll probably have to use barrier protection for a few months.

I would caution you if you are prone to depression, because that makes the likelihood of becoming depressed much higher.

I’ve been on Depo twice, for I think about a year the first time and about 3 years the second time. The second time, since I was on it for so much longer, I think the side effects got more pronounced.

I didn’t have a problem with spotting at all, in fact, I stopped having periods immediately and didn’t have any bleeding whatsoever the whole time. It took over a year to start getting my period again after I stopped.

I did gain weight, and my depression got significantly worse. Part of the problem there, though, I think was I had gone back to college and was living on campus eating crappy dorm food, in New England, which is much farther north than I am used to.

On the whole, I liked it, but this time around after being in a monogamous relationship for several months, I decided to go on the pill instead of back on Depo because of the problems I had with the depression.

Which reminds me, unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship in which you both have tested negative for HIV and other STDs, you still need to use condoms!

The major disadvantage, IMHO, is if you get unwanted side effects, you can’t just stop. You have to wait for it to wear off. I had very negative side effects to the pill (another hormonal method) and was very glad I could just stop taking it.

I suggest you try the pill instead. There are different strategies you can use to help you with your compliance problem (and I’m glad you recognize that it could be a problem). Your doctor should have some suggestions in this regard.

Try it out.

I loved Depo for about two years. (I too have the memory of an aphid. and didn’t want to deal with the Pill.) It was easy and ano brainer, just show up and get shot four times a year.

I stopped for two reasons. The first was that I was pretty depressed and I wanted to get rid of anything artifical that may have been causing/contributing to my unhappiness. The second was that the cool nurse at my clinic was replaced by a stupid hag who insisted that the shot was a butt shot rather than an arm shot. (And she was a stupid hag. I never said my reasons were good ones.)

But you’re really not going to know how it affects you until you try it, and try it for about a year. Everyone is different and if you’re going to have any bad side effects they may not happen within the first threemonths, but they probably will happen within the first year.

Other than apossible link to depression, I had none of your bad side effects and most of the good ones.

Long term Depo user here - I got pregnant after 10 (yes, 10!!) years of being on the Pill and taking it religiously. Once my marvelous, wonderful, surprise blessing of a son was born, I switched to Depo on the advice of my OB/GYN, and I have been on it for coming up on 4 years now.

Keep in mind what other posters have said, that it’s not a barrier method of contraception - it WILL NOT protect you against STDs - but it is as effective as the Pill, in fact more so once you factor in human error.

I have not had any significant side effects. Every 3 or 4 months I might get a period of sorts for a few days, but very light and non-intrusive. I didn’t gain any weight, no depression, no skin problems, nothing - but I also didn’t have any of that on the Pill, so I may be one of those lucky people whose body chemistry doesn’t mind being tampered with.

My reasons for staying on Depo after I was separated and divorced were mostly emotional - though that sounds strange, I guess. I knew that I would most likely be entering into physical relationships, and though I always ALWAYS use protection, I liked the idea of an additional b.c. method as sort of a “back up”. Also, as I wasn’t having any side effects, I was a bit concerned at what would happen if I just stopped taking it - what my cycle would be like, and if my hormones would be affected.

OK, that rambled a bit - not enough coffee yet this morning. I also seem to have a hyphen fetish today…hmmm…off to check on 12-step-programs for that…

Hope that helped.

Took it for two years. It made me fat and depressed. But not as much as pregnancy would have.

I was on Depo for two years, following the birth of my son. It turned me into a lump. I gained weight and had no desire to do anything, let alone have sex. When I stopped using it, the first period I had was awful. Horrible cramping, I felt as though I was in labour again. Two months after that I got pregnant again. (Yes, I know that’s not supposed to happen, but it can.) Exact time frames, got last shot beginning of Sept, had horrible cramping in Dec, got knocked up in Feb. Directly after the birth of my daughter, doc talked me into one depo shot for temp bc until I decided what method to use. When that shot wore off, I had a period for 5 weeks. My tubes are now tied and I am happy.

I have been on Depo for over 5 years, and I really like it. I suppose it is up to you to decide if you’d like to try it, since it really seems everyone has had different experiences with it.

I have had zero weight gain, zero depression, and zero pregnancies. :stuck_out_tongue:

I love it because I only have to think about it every three months. I took the pill for about 3 years and hated having to remember to take it. The result of my carelessness is my wonderful, beautiful son!

The only drawback I have experienced is the occasional spotting, but even that isn’t too big a deal if you keep panty liners around.

In short, it is the best method I have used short of my husband or me getting the old snip-snip.

In my past 18 years of sexual activity I’ve used:

condoms/ foam
oral contraceptives
Depo-provera

and now currently the Paragard IUD.

The drawbacks for me on the shot were headaches, lower sex drive and mild depression. It took about a year for me to get my period back after I stopped (we were ready to work on child number 3).

I’m on an IUD now, which is a good choice for me. I too was afraid I would forget to take a pill and since we have completed our family, I couldn’t see being on it for the next 20 years.

The IUD is not recommended if you are 1) not in a monogamous relationship and/or 2) have not had children yet, because of the risk of infertility. I"m 37, have three kids so it works for me. In another 8 years, this IUD will be removed and I can decide if I want another one for ten years. THere are also IUDs that stay for just one year.

I would take a guess that if you tolerate oral contraceptives well, you may do well with the shot. Since you would get one every three months, you could try it and see how you do.

I’ve been on Depo for a little over 2 years now.

When I first started, I had a bit of the breakthrough bleeding, but now there’s practically nothing. I may have a light period once every 5-6 months.

The biggest benifit to me (and why I started Depo) is that I no longer have to deal with cramps.

I have noticed a lower sex drive, and it takes a little longer to get my (TMI WARNING) lubrication flowing.

Also, I’ve gained a little weight. But that may just be my lazy ass, and not the drugs.

Question: Where’d you get the info about an increased risk of breast cancer? One of the reasons my OB/GYN recommended Depo is that it’s not proven to increase the risk of cancer.

I was on Depo Provera for a little over 5 years, and I didn’t have a single negative side effect. The only positive side effect (and this is subject to opinion, I suppose) was the complete cessation of my period starting the day I got my first shot.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll probably notice that most websites you find that deal with Depo Provera are loaded with negative stories. When you’re reading these things, try to remember that people who are angry are much more vociferous in their opinions than those that are happy. If Depo sucked for you, you’re far more likely to look for someplace to rant about it. If it worked well, then it’s not very high in your consciousness level and you don’t exactly seek places out to rave about it. Online experiences tend to be heavily biased to the negative.
  • I highly advise asking your doctor for a prescription of a progestin-only pill to take for a month before committing to the shot, since Depo Provera is progestin-only. If you react badly to this type of pill (not a standard birth control pill, which is usually estrogen based), then you’ll know not to go ahead with the shot, because once you do, you’re stuck with whatever side effects you get for 3 months or longer until it wears off. There’s no magic anti-shot that you can get to make it all stop.
  • If you do go with the shot, remember that although it can take up to a year to regain fertility when you go off again, some people can and DO get pregnant again almost immediately. I know two women who delayed getting their next shot, thinking that they’d be safe because fertility can take so long to return and they got pregnant. The key words here are up to.

I know that they say that one of the negative side-effects is loss of sex drive, and all I can say to that is that if Depo reduced my sex drive, I must have been a maniac before. :wink:

Good luck to you.

I gained 40 new pounds. ( I was fat to start with, but these were 40 never-before-experienced pounds. I still have them, plus the pounds I gained after I quit smoking. )

Thanks so much for the advice ladies (and gentleman). I have heard stories from a few friends, most of whom had had bad experiences with Depo. Hearing all the positive feedback has been very helpful in making my decision. I have decided to go ahead with it and get the shot.

I am meeting with my gyno tomorrow morning. There she will answer any questions I have, discuss all my options, and if I still want to get Depo, give me a prescription for it to be filled at the local pharmacy. I will then go back within the first five days of my next period, which should start early next week, and she’ll give me the shot. I hate needles, so I’m having my boyfriend come with me.

I can also add another pro to my list: Depo Provera is fully covered by my health insurance. I only have to pay my $10 copay for the prescription, rather than the full price of around $60.
Cap’n Crude,
Spontaniety is a big thing for me. There’s nothing worse than getting all riled up only to realize that you’re all out of condoms. Skin on skin is something I have only experienced once. The chances of me getting pregnant were slim to none at that point in my cycle, but I still panicked for the next month or so…

Geobabe,
I have been in a monogomous relationship for the past year and a half. I just had a yearly gyno exam and all tests came back negative for STDs. My boyfriend is also STD free. We are both fiercely loyal to each other. So my only comcern right now is pregnancy prevention.

Green Been,
I have talked to my doctor about forgetting to take the pill. She made several suggestions, none of which helped. I am the most forgetful person I know. I’ve left my headlights on and killed the battery 4 times, locked my keys in the car 3 times, etc… Taking the pill became more of a nuisance than anything. I’d forget to take it one day and have to double up the next so many times that the nausea and headaches drove me nuts. Forgetting also cut down the effectiveness of the pill, making it almost pointless in my mind.

Tattva,
I heard the cancer warnings from a friend. After reading up on Depo, I have come to realize my friend was wrong. Using Depo may slightly increase my chances of getting cancer, but that connection has not been proven.

Something to keep in mind: Depo-Provera is usually given in the fleshy part of the upper arm or in the tush, so dress accordingly. It will be a little sore at the area of the shot, so don’t panic.

Good luck!

Yes, and I’d also like to add that I do the tushie and switch sides each time. After getting the shot, I’ll occasionally get a dull ache in the shot spot over the next month or so. (It comes and goes) My dr. said that although everyone doesn’t experience this, it is perfectly normal.

Thanks for the warning about soreness, rally and monster.

When I was on the pill, I had very few side affects. The only negative side effect I experienced was extremely sore breasts. They also seemed to be growing in size.

Did I imagine this or could it actually happen as a result of all the hormones? Also, is breast growth and/or tenderness a common side effect while taking Depo? I saw it listed under the possible side effects on the pamphlet the doctor gave me.

–DoperChic

Not to be an alarmist, but I only know two women who have used Depo Provera and both got pregnant.

I went back to my doctor today and got the prescription.

I have to back next week once my period starts to get the injection. I looked at the needle and it seems like a lot of stuff to be putting in my body. I’m a wuss and absolutely hate pain. How bad does it hurt? A tetanus booster shot has been the worst shot for me so far. Is it worse than that? Better than that? Please let me know ladies so I can be prepared.

–DoperChic