Pros & Cons of Birth Control Shots

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The Depo Provera shot is a synthetic hormone injection that lasts up to three months for pregnancy prevention. It is made up entirely of synthetic progesterone and is administered through the arm, hip or abdomen, and stops the ovary from releasing a mature egg and thickens the mucus around the cervix, making it harder for sperm to enter. It has a 97 percent success rate in preventing pregnancy. As with any form of birth control, Depo Provera has its pros and cons.

Privacy and Quickness

The birth control shot is considered the most private form of birth control as it is administered in the doctor's office, leaving no outward signs that a woman is on birth control. Also, there is no packaging like with the pill that can easily be found. In addition, the shot can be administered as early as 6 weeks after giving birth.

Health Benefits

Women who are on Depo Provera are less likely to develop ovarian and endometrial cancers as well as pelvic inflammatory disease. Patients have also cited experiencing less severe menstrual cycles and cramping.

Health Risks

However, 70 percent of women have reported weight gain ranging from 5 to 10 pounds after the first year of use. Side effects also include headaches, nervousness, mood changes, bloating, hot flashes, decreased interest in sex, breast tenderness, acne, hair loss and back aches. Women are also at greater risk for loss of bone density and osteoporosis. The shot does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS.

Going off Depo

If choosing to switch to another form of birth control after going off the shot, it is recommended that you begin the new birth control method on the day your new shot was going to be administered. As a precaution, it is also best that a back up form of birth control, such as condoms, are used during the first seven days of the birth control switch.

Future Fertility

As the shot is administered every 3 months, a return to fertility is different for every woman. For some, fertility returns almost immediately. However, the majority of women take anywhere between 6 to 12 months to return to a normal cycle. In addition, it will take between 6 to 8 months following the last injection for the drug to completely leave the body.

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