Depo-Provera is a contraception method for women. It is made of a hormone similar to progesterone and is a shot that a doctor gives you in the arm or buttocks.

Each shot works for up to 12 to 14 weeks, but you must get the injection once every 12 weeks to get its full protection. The shot is just what it sounds like—a shot that keeps you from getting pregnant. Once you get it, your birth control is covered for three full months—there’s nothing else you have to do.

It is often referred to as “Depo,” short for Depo-Provera. The shot contains progestin, a hormone that prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs. It also thickens your cervical mucus, which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

Advantages of Depo-Provera are:

You don’t have to remember to take it every day or use it before sex.
It provides long-term protection as long as you get the shot every 3 months.
It’s highly effective.
It may be less expensive than the birth control pills you currently take, depending on your insurance and the type of pill you take.
Safe, simple, and convenient.
There is no daily pill to remember.
There is nothing to do right before having sex.
Some women say it improves their sex lives because it helps them feel more spontaneous.
It is also a very private method of birth control — there is no packaging or other evidence that might be embarrassing for some people.
The birth control shot does not contain estrogen, another type of hormone that is in many types of birth control, including the pill, patch, and ring. This means the shot can be a good choice for women who cannot take estrogen and for women who are breastfeeding.
The shot can help prevent cancer of the lining of the uterus.

Side effects of the Depo-Provera are:

Irregular menstrual periods, or no periods at all (some patients actaully think that not having a period is an advantage of using the Depo-Provera)
Changes in appetite
Weight gain
Hair loss
Loss of bone mineral density
Change in the menstrual cycle is the most common side effect. You may have irregular bleeding or spotting. After a year of use, about 50% of women will stop getting their periods. Their periods usually return when they no longer get the shots.
Long-term use of Depo-Provera may lead to loss of bone mineral density which makes osteoporosis more likely. This risk is greater if you’ve taken the shot for longer than 2 years, especially if osteoporsis runs in your family, you drink a lot, you smoke, or you have other risk factors for the condition.

Picking a birth control method that fits your life is the key. Only you can decide what is best for you. But sometimes figuring out which method to use can be a bit overwhelming, therefore you should know all the options that are available and research each so that you can make the best birth control for you.

At Illinois Abortion Clinics we strive to offer compassionate reproductive health care access for men and women in the Chicagoland Area.

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