The contraceptive injection: Will it leave you broken, fat and bleeding

The Contraceptive Injection: Will it leave you broken, fat and bleeding

"Depo Provera was the WORST thing I ever did to my body"

Pomegranate looking like womb, ovaries and blood
Warning: Contains explicit content ♦ & is not to be used as medical advice ♥ Disclaimer here

The shot. A contraceptive liquid that is injected into your arm or arse.

Most commonly used is Depo Provera, which lasts for 13 weeks before you have to go and get another shot.

It’s typically 94% effective ie in one year 6 out of 100 women will fall pregnant with typical use.

How Does it Work?

It uses medroxyprogesterone acetate (a fake version of your natural progestogen). This is carried via your bloodstream to your brain, where it interrupts the control of your normal cycle and stops you producing your own hormones in the usual way; your own levels of oestrogen and progesterone will be low.

This causes a whole host of changes; some of which, such as lack of ovulation, make it hard or impossible for you to fall pregnant.

You will not have real periods whilst on the injection however you may have ongoing unpredictable bleeding. This is likely due to the fact that the injection makes your womb lining (endometrium) thinner and so it easily breaks down and sheds. Only about a third of women will have no bleeding after a year of use.

Happy Birthday Dickface cake
Two of my favourite ways to gain calories: cake and cum

Will You Gain Weight?

There’s a good chance that you will. For some women it may only be a couple of pounds but for others it may be a couple dress sizes. A large scale study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women using the Depo-Provera shot gained an average of 11 pounds over three years.

There is nothing wrong with being heavy, but if I’m going to gain weight I want it to be because I’ve eaten all the cakes, or because I’ve got a butler who brings me champagne and paté whilst I lay sprawled out on a chaise lounge all day, not because of some lousy injection. (and yes, at least one of us is naked in that fantasy).

Plus, gaining or losing weight is simply a nuisance when you’re skint and you don’t want to have to keep buying new leather skirts for your ever-changing arse.

Smiling skulls says I'm fine by @deathandmilk_
The injection is not recommended for young women because their bones are still growing and may be detrimentally affected. Art by @deathandmilk_ go and follow them for epic illustrations and limited edition clothing

What about your bones?

Women who use Depo-Provera tend to have lower bone mineral density - basically - weaker bones. The general consensus is that your bones will go back to being as strong as they once were, however this is by no means guaranteed, and once you’ve stopped taking it it could be years before your BMD (bone mineral density) returns to normal strength.

Does it matter if your bones are weaker?

I mean… it sure as f*ck doesn’t sound ideal…

Pfizer, the company that makes Depo, have paid out hundreds of millions of $ in court settlements; over allegations regarding the safety of the injection, including irreversible bone loss.

The prescribing information for Depo is very explicit about it being particularly risky for young women. Before 18 your bones are still growing significantly and there has been little research around the long term impact of starting Depo young (and actually your bones don’t reach peak density until you’re about 30). A study of adolescents funded by the NIH found that 14 - 18 year old Depo users experienced enough BMD (bone mass density) loss that it could significantly raise their risk of experiencing a bone fracture. And whether their bones will be comparatively weaker for the rest of their lives is still unknown.

In the USA Depo has a ‘black box warning’ which states it’s not recommended to be taken for more than two years due to health concerns, no matter what your age.

Did you also know that your bones make your blood?

Your blood has many vital roles; including fighting off infections using white blood cells that are made in your bone marrow. New research indicates that the health of your bones and the health of your blood is more interlinked than has been previously recognised.

Body parts artwork by below the bush
Our bodies are not made of seperate disconnected parts. New research indicates that bone health is more interlinked with blood health than we thought. Art by below the bush

That’s all a bit off-putting, but can’t I just give it a go and see if I like it?

Sure, but unlike every other contraceptive, once you’ve been injected there’s obviously no going back. If you start feeling a bit mental… you’ll just have to ride it out until it wears off.

I believe that anyone who has previously had an episode of depression (whether diagnosed or not, but sufficient to interfere with life and work) should avoid Depo.

Dr Jerillyn Prior, Professor of endocrinology at the University of British Columbia and scientific director of the CeMCOR

The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. The Depo PIL states that:

If you are going to get the injection a good strategy may be to plan for chaos and hope for success. You might well feel like sh*t and be randomly bleeding, so probably don’t get injected if you’re soon to be trekking through mountains or trying on wedding dresses. Or if you’re desperately hoping to get laid…?

You also need to take into account that you may experience ‘withdrawal’. Depo will have left your system after about 3 months or so but there are many women who have symptoms for months after this.

I now am regretting taking this shot because they warned me about the side [effects] while on the shot but never warned me about what would happen after.

Depo User

Dr Drake Ramorey from Friends
Dr Drake Ramorey is not the expert we called in, but he is welcome to check below the bush...

A Doctor explains Depo ‘withdrawal’:

"Women’s reproduction has been suppressed by Depo for months or years. This means that (figuratively speaking) the hypothalamus, pituitary and ovaries have ‘forgotten how’ to coordinate their usual complex and amazing feedback needed for normal ovulatory menstrual cycles. Our bodies are programmed to work hard to regain reproduction so there is a kind of rebound over-stimulation of estrogen levels (the easiest hormone to get the ovary to produce). The result is erratic but high estrogen levels causing nausea, sore breasts, fluid retention and abdominal bloating, mood swings and heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding." Dr Jerillyn Prior, Professor of endocrinology at the University of British Columbia and scientific director of the CeMCOR

This OBOS post brings together 1000’s of women’s comments about their experiences on and off Depo and gives a nice summary of the most important issues and concerns.

Give us some good news please!

As with most birth control, there are some women who have a totally positive and unremarkable experience.

There are also women with endometriosis and chronic bleeding for example who have had this injection and been genuinely and dramatically helped. But these are serious problems being treated by a serious drug; it’s not really your casual ‘I just don’t want to get knocked up at a house party’ type vibe.

The contraceptive injection’s primary purpose is to allow people to have ‘safe’ sex. You decide whether that you think it can do that.

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