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The Depo-Provera Shot

Depo-Provera, or Depo, is a shot that is used to prevent unintended pregnancy.

Depo is a long-acting hormonal birth control made from progestin, a hormone that is naturally found in your body. "Long-acting" means that one Depo shot will prevent pregnancy for three months.

How does Depo-Provera prevent pregnancies?
Depo is hormonal birth control that prevents pregnancy in two ways. It prevents eggs in a woman's body from maturing, which means the eggs are never released by the ovaries. It also makes the mucus in the cervix thicker, which then makes it harder for a sperm to swim into the uterus.

This video by Planned Parenthood shows how Depo works.

Why do some women choose Depo?
Young women often choose Depo-Provera over other birth control options because of how easy it is to use. One injection provides three months of protection against pregnancies. This means that you only have to get four injections a year! You do not have to remember to take a pill every day or remove a ring every three weeks. Also, a woman may stop getting her period when she uses Depo. This is not a problem, and for some women it is an advantage. Within 3 to 18 months after stopping the injections, the period will return.

In addition, there have been studies reporting that Depo helps protect against uterine cancer. Other advantages of Depo include fewer interactions with prescription medications and less pain or cramps when you have your period.

Why would someone NOT take Depo?
Depo-Provera may sound very appealing, but it is not meant for everyone. Some young women who have taken Depo may get mood swings or feel depressed, tired, or anxious. Others complain about low sex drive, increased appetite and weight gain. Also, this form of birth control can cause bone density loss. It is best to talk to a medical provider to see what is best for you. You can also watch this video to learn more about the side effects of Depo-Provera.

Myth: Depo will protect me from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Fact: Depo does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. To protect yourself, we recommend you use condoms every time you have sex.

Myth: Depo will make me gain a lot of weight.

Fact: Some women gain weight on Depo, some lose weight, and some will stay the same. It is best to come to our clinic and talk to one of our providers to hear your options and decide whether Depo is the best method for you. If you have any questions, please call us at (646) 320-6121 or (646) 685-9639.

Myth: I heard that Depo will make my bones break.

Fact: There are studies that show that long-term Depo use can lead to a loss in bone density. However, these losses can be reversed in most cases.

Myth: There is nothing I can do if I have too much bleeding after the first Depo shot.

Fact: Very few young women will bleed longer than their typical period after their first Depo shot. If you experience uncomfortable bleeding, we can help. Medicines that will stop the bleeding are available. Again, it is best to talk to one of our medical providers if you are in discomfort.

Myth: My period will be normal right after I stop taking Depo.

Fact: You might get your period right after you stop getting the Depo shot. However, it may take anywhere from 3 to 18 months before your cycle returns to the way it was before you got your Depo shots.

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