Depo-Provera is a birth control method for women. It is made up of a hormone similar to progesterone and is given as an injection by a doctor into the woman's arm or buttocks. Each shot provides protection against pregnancy for up to 12 to 14 weeks, but the shot must be received once every 12 weeks to provide full protection.
By Laura Beil
Christen Childs woke up on September 12, 2009, in the pitch dark of early morning with what she thought was a pulled muscle in her leg. She reached down to massage the cramp, trying to fathom how her left calf could be so achingly sore when she hadn't made it to the gym in weeks. This was a Saturday — by Monday, her leg was swollen and hot, and when she tried to stand, jolts of pain shot up to her spine. She consulted her brother-in-law, a doctor, and he told her to go to the ER immediately...
Birth control with Depo-Provera begins immediately after the first shot if given within the first five days of your menstrual period.
How Effective Is Depo-Provera?
Depo-Provera is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Again, it does not prevent spreading of STDs. To help protect yourself from STDs, use a latex male condom each time you and your partner have sex.
Can Any Woman Use Depo-Provera?
Most women can use Depo-Provera. However, it is not recommended for women who have:
Most of the side effects are not common. Change in the menstrual cycle is the most common side effect. You may experience irregular bleeding or spotting. After a year of use, about 50% of women will stop getting their periods. Their periods usually return when they discontinue the shots.
Prolonged use of Depo-Provera may result in loss of significant bone mineral density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. This risk is more likely for those who have been taking it for longer than two years, particularly when other risk factors for osteoporosis exist, such as family history and chronic alcohol and/or tobacco use. Although there are no studies to benefit its use, it is advised that all women on Depo-Provera get adequate calcium and Vitamin D (through diet and/or supplements) to help prevent osteoporosis.