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Can You Gain Weight On The Depo Shot?

Published: April 3, 2009
Dear TeenHealthFX,
can you gain weight while on the depo shot? is it good for your body to be on the depo?
Signed: Can You Gain Weight On The Depo Shot?

Dear Can You Gain Weight On The Depo Shot?,

 

It is possible to gain weight while using Depo Provera. Approximately 70% of women who use this form of birth control do gain weight. Almost half of the women using Depo Provera gain more than 5 pounds after one year of using it, and many women gain more than 10 pounds.

 

If you are finding you have been gaining weight since beginning Depo Provera and have concerns about it, speak to the prescribing doctor. Your doctor may want you to alter exercise regimens or you diet, or may want you to try a different form of birth control if your weight gain is problematic in one way or another.

 

 

 

More information on the Depo-Provera shot:

 

What Is The Deop Shot?

The Depo shot is a hormone injection that lasts for 3 months to prevent pregnancy. The shot is usually given in the arm, hip, upper thigh, or abdomen – this makes it a very private form of birth control as it requires no home supplies and cannot be seen on the body. While taking the Depo shot, you will need to commit to a clinic visit every 3 months to get a new shot.

 

How Does It Work

By injecting synthetic hormones into the body, the ovaries are prevented from releasing eggs. In addition, the Depo shot causes the cervical mucus to thicken and changes the uterine lining, making it harder for the sperm to enter or survive in the uterus. These various changes help to prevent fertilization.

 

Effectiveness

Depo Provera is 97-99.7% effective as birth control when taken as recommended by a medical health professional. The Depo shot does NOT protect against STDs, including HIV/AIDS.

 

If you are taking any other medications, check with your doctor to see if these medications may interfere with the Depo shot. If they do, during the time you are taking the medication use condoms and spermicide as a back-up method of birth control.

 

Side Effects

  • Irregular, heavy, or no bleeding are common side effects of the Depo shot. After a year of use, many women stop having their periods. Lack of a period becomes increasingly common with longer use.
  • Other side effects of the Depo shot include headaches, nervousness, mood changes, bloating, hot flashes, decreased sex drive, breast tenderness, acne, hair loss, and back ache.
  • After the last shot, it can take over 6 months for the drug to leave the body and side effects may be present until the drug is completely out of the system.
  • As mentioned above, weight gain can be a common side effect of the Depo shot.

 

Health Benefits

  • Women on Depo Provera may have a decreased risk of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).
  • There may be less menstrual cramping and pain, fewer periods and less chance of anemia.

 

Advantages And Disadvantages

Advantages:

  • Private.
  • Effective after 24 hours.
  • Does not require regular attention.
  • Does not interrupt sex play.
  • Has no estrogen.
  • May decrease risk for ovarian and uterine cancers.
  • Women can start Depo Provera 6 weeks after giving birth.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Causes loss of bone density and risk of osteoporosis.
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Requires injections every 3 months.
  • Delay of return to fertility.
  • Irregular bleeding.
  • Most women experience weight gain. Women using the Depo shot gained an average of 11 pounds and increased their body fat by 3.4 percent over three years, according to researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

 

Future Fertility

Depo Provera can be stopped at any time for women who want to become pregnant. Fertility may return immediately, or for some it can take 6-18 months for the hormone cycle to return to normal.  

 

There are some serious health risks with Depo Provera, and this method of birth control is not right for everyone. So speak to a medical health professional if you have questions about the Depo shot.

 

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or Girl’s Street – A Young Woman’s Health Program – at 908.522.2555. You can also contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood, or call your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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