Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Birth Control Shot

The following table lists the advantages and disadvantages of using the birth control shot.

Deciding about the progestin-only injection birth control method

The birth control shot (such as Depo-Provera)


  • Needed only every 13 to 14 weeks
  • Reduces risk for endometrial and ovarian cancer
  • Reduces symptoms of endometriosis
  • Reduces risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Reduces risk of ectopic pregnancy
  • Reduces frequency of seizures in women who have a seizure disorder
  • Reduces number of sickle cell crises in women who have sickle cell disease
  • Can be used after a miscarriage or an abortion
  • Reduces cramps and pain at ovulation
  • Can be used while breast-feeding


  • Using the birth control shot for 2 or more years can cause bone loss, which may not be fully reversible after stopping the medicine. This concern may be greatest during the teen years, when young women should be building bone mass.1
  • Often causes irregular spotting
  • Causes slight weight gain
  • Fertility may not return for 6 to 8 months after stopping the medicine.
  • May decrease levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol
  • Provides no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • May increase the risk of chlamydia or gonorrhea infection among women who are sexually exposed to these bacteria2


  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2004). Black box warning added concerning long-term use of Depo-Provera contraceptive injection. FDA Talk Paper No. T04-50. Available online:

  2. Morrison CS, et al. (2004). Hormonal contraceptive use, cervical ectopy, and the acquisition of cervical infections. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 31(9): 561-567.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised June 28, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 28, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Birth Control Options
mother and daughter talking
Period Questions
Condom Quiz
Forgot To Take Your Birth Control Pills
pelivic pain slideshow
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
Comparing Birth Control Pill
New Birth Control Pill
HPV Vaccine Future
Young couple holding hands