Depo Shots

Birth control techniques are widely accepted in the modern day world: both by males and females in order to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. However, it is often challenging for most females to find the best contraceptive agent from the hundreds and thousands of birth control options that are saturating the market.

Depo-Provera can be classified under a conventional birth control option.The composition of Depo-Provera is similar to the naturally occurring hormone, progesterone. Depo-Provera is administered in the buttocks or arm of the woman via intramuscular injection.

How Effective Is the Depo Shot?

Effectiveness is one of the major factors when selecting and using any birth control method. Depo-Provera is considered as one of the safest methods of birth control that are currently available in the market. Its effectiveness is maximum when the shot is taken at every 12 week. The healthcare provider can ask you to consider an emergency contraception if the shots are missed for two weeks when the female has performed unprotected intercourse in the past five days.

  • ŸIn case the depo shot is received after 12 weeks, the effectiveness is approximately 99% i.e. only 1 out of 100 females are at risk of getting pregnant in case of unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • ŸIn case there is an irregularity in receiving the shots, the success rate is 90-94% i.e. every 6-8 out of 100 female can get pregnant if unprotected sexual intercourse is performed.
  • ŸIt must be kept in mind that these depo shots do not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). Therefore a female condom is suggested to be used along with the injections to achieve optimal protection against STD’s.

Here is what you should know about the effectiveness of Depo-Provera shots:

  1. If the depo shots are taken within an initial seven day of the periods, then complete protection for pregnancy can be achieved.
  2. If the depo shots are taken within two to three weeks of giving birth to child or within five days of a miscarriage, an immediate protection against pregnancy can be achieved.
  3. If the shot is delayed or missed beyond the safe periods listed above, then some back up birth control such as condom, emergency contraception, diaphragm, etc. must be considered to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

How Often Should I Get Depo Shot?

For best results the injection must be taken at every 12th weeks.

If a female is not available soon after the 12 weeks; then she can take the shot after 10 week (in case you are traveling or are not available after the specified period of time).The shot of Depo-Provera is injected in the arms or the belly region. It must be noted that the area must not be rubbed for up to a few hours after the shot.

Advantages of Depo Shot

  • ŸDepo shots provide a great alternative to conventional or traditional birth control pills (such as daily use pills) that are associated with a high failure rate since most patients miss their dose due to forgetfulness.
  • ŸThe time duration for taking the shots is very convenient when compared to pills or any other method of contraception. As only four shots are needed to be taken, so the female don't need to think of birth control for months.
  • ŸThe periods may become light after taking Depo-Provera shots, which offers great relief to most females.
  • ŸThe secrecy level associated with the use of these depo injections is also very high, as no left overs are associated with these shots and patient does not have to disclose to her friends or family members that she is on any contraceptive agent.
  • ŸDepo-Provera is a safe method of birth control for females who cannot tolerate estrogen, as these injections do not contain estrogen in their formulation.
  • ŸThese shots have 0 percent interference with sex life and intercourse.
  • ŸThese shots can also be taken by females who breastfeed their child or have recently delivered a child.
  • ŸAccording to modern researches, it is been concluded that Depo-Provera is also beneficial for treatment of endometriosis and pain associated with endometriosis and dysmenorrhea.

Side Effects of Depo Shot

Like any other hormonal analogue, Depo-Provera is associated with several benefits, but the efficacy is limited by a moderate risk of adverse effects. Some of these include:

  • ŸCentral nervous system effects such as depression, nervousness, faintness, headache, etc.
  • ŸGastrointestinal effects including weight gain, appetite change, etc.
  • ŸLoss of bone calcium
  • ŸAcne over forehead
  • ŸLoss of hair or alopecia

Most common and characteristic side effects include:

  • ŸChange in the menstrual flow and monthly ovarian cycles
  • ŸSpotting
  • ŸIrregular bleeding
  • ŸIn many cases, females will stop having periods; they usually start again when the shots are discontinued

Side effects which appear after prolonged use of depo shots include:

  • ŸDecreased bone density
  • ŸOsteoporosis
  • ŸVitamin D deficiency
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