Wednesday, 25 November 2009

I just sussed out what is causing my problems – The Depo Provera Injection.

Fore warning - This is going to be a long post, and I can not guarantee that all of the information is medically 100% correct, as it is information I have found on the internet and is obviously not as reliable as going to a GP. Also I am fully aware that different things effect people differently.


Excuse Cheesy Photo haha

When I was younger I was on the Depo Provera Contraceptive Injection for a couple of years. From what I can remember, I had no side effects.

So when I restarted the injection around 4 years ago after a spell of trying different contraceptives, I assumed like before I would have no side effects, I also didn’t think to do any research on the drug as I hadn't had problems previously.

As many of you know, I have been on a weight loss journey for a long time. Over the past 12 months I have found it incredibly difficult to lose weight despite eating healthily and exercising. I’ve  not always been perfect, but I’ve slowly gained nearly 20lbs over this 12 month period.

This was the first thing that started to ring alarm bells with me about the depo. I however dismissed it and thought I didn't have problems when younger, I actually lost 30lbs over the first 2 years I was on it thanks to diet and exercise, so it couldn’t be that.

After several thyroid tests etc there was still no reason I should be finding it so difficult to lose weight.

Roll on my Acne. Until the age of around 18 I had perfect skin. That may sound slightly big headed but no joke all through my teens I NEVER had spots. Ever. All of a sudden I hit 18 and develop Acne? Again I dismissed the fact it could be the Depo, as I’d been on it before. It wasn’t until a meeting with my GP a couple of months ago that I discovered the most likely cause for my Acne was the injection, as it has a tendency to cause Oily Skin. After I was told this I already planned to stop taking the Depo and maybe switch to the pill.

For the last few weeks I have failed to lose any weight whatsoever. Despite my best efforts…. You just know in yourself when something isn’t right.

Tonight I went to my Weightwatchers Meeting and raised the issue that I thought the Depo is making it more or less impossible to lose weight. I was shocked by what followed. My leader told me EVERY single member she had that was on the injection found it incredibly difficult to lose weight.

She then announced it in the meeting and around 10 women all said the same thing.

So I came home, and for the first time ever I Googled the side effects of the Depo Provera.

I have spent the last 2 hours reading Medical Studies and several chat forums, mainly caloriecount , and the comments section of an American medical study.

I am absolutely astounded that I have NEVER been informed of the side effects of this injection. The only thing I have ever been told is that it increases the appetite and can cause loss of bone density.

After reading what I have tonight I am 100% sure that the Depo has been causing pretty much all of my problems.

Namely, Bad Skin, Weight Gain or Inability to lose weight, Fatigue, and others.

I have only read 2 of about 100 comments that have not experienced weight gain whilst on it, with the majority of women gaining approximately 30lbs within the first 6-12 months of taking the contraception.

I have read several comments of women experiencing shocking skin trouble after the first couple of months of taking the Depo.

The biggie that I was not expecting was the Fatigue. Just this morning I tweeted about how no matter how much sleep I got, I always feel tired? I have been saying this for some time, and now I know why…

Most importantly, there were lots of comments from women who have been on the injection for several years before experiencing any side effects. Which to a certain extent is what has happened with me.

It seems everything points to the Depo, and there is  far too much for it just to be a coincidence. I think the main reason I wasn’t aware that this is what has been causing my problems is because I do not see a GP for my contraception. I go to a Sexual Health Clinic, and because they are not a GP they are just Nurses, they cant really identify and associate Medical Conditions with Contraception. ( I found this out when I asked about my Acne at the Clinic.)

So what happens next? I am coming off of the Depo (I was due to have it at the beginning of December) and I will not be going onto any other type of Hormonal Contraception until my periods resume naturally. ( I should mention I havn’t had a period the whole time I’ve been on it, so for nearly 4 years.)

When it comes to contraception in the future I will be seeing my GP.

You know when you just know something? When you just have that gut feeling inside? Well I just absolutely positively know that when I come off of this injection I am going to get back to my natural weight, my skin is going to return to normal, and I’m going to  be energetic again. I just know it.

On the other side I do know some women who have no problems whatsoever whilst on the injection, but believe me, after what I have researched tonight, they are in a VERY small minority.

Like I said, I only started having noticeable side effects over the past 12 months, after being on the Depo Provera for nearly 4 years.

So what would I advise if you were thinking about going on the injection? Personally I would not advise it, and I would say if you are seriously considering it, do your research beforehand, because although its very convenient, the side effects really are not worth it.

What have been your or your friends experiences with the Injection? I very much doubt I’m the only person in this position.




  1. I was on the mini-pill for about 4 years which is the same as the injection but in pill form (you take it every day and get no periods) I didn't suffer any weight gain or tiredness but I did have very bad skin and another embarrassing symptom which I might as well share seeing as I'm off it now and it's clearing up which is increased facial hair. Yuck.
    Anyway I'm now on a regular pill and my skin is more or less clear and the hair is going as well. I am suffering big time with tiredness but I think it's just winter blues and not doing any exercise tbh. Hope you get it all sorted out hun xxx

  2. My friend had this and she also gained a lot of weight and her skin broke out more. She only had the injection twice though because she figured out pretty quickly that it was the culprit for her weight gain/skin problems. It's convenient for sure to get the injection, but I personally don't think it's worth it because of the side effects. I'm glad you got it figured out and your coming off of it! You're going to feel so much better :)

  3. I would talk anyone out of having the depot if they asked me about it.

    I had the depot injection for 4 years from my late teens till I was 22 I had never had a weight problem before I was 18 and gained 2 stone within the first 6 months of being on it. I hadnt moved into a takeaway or changed my eating habits. Nothing had changed.
    I joined a slimming club and it came off slowly over the following 6 months.
    Each time I didnt reduce the amount of food I ate I gained weight until i was scared to eat normal portions.
    I stopped having the injection as aswell as the weight gain my periods had completely stopped and I thought hold on a min this cant be healthy. Releasing the same hormones that tells your body you are pregnant so it doesnt release any more eggs cant be good for you. You lay down fat when pregnant and not to mention the other side effects.
    My periods have never fully retuned to the regular cycle I had before having the depot provera in jection. I had to have fertility treatment with my ex husband for both of our children. Numerous scans revealed my ovaries were full of cysts and I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary's. I rarely get periods still. I think the depot was to blame. I was fine before I was on it. Havent used any hormone contraception for 12 yrs now. I dont need to anymore as more fertility treatment would be needed :)

  4. I was only on Depo for 6 months before I stopped. I had just heard so many bad things about it from people so I stopped getting the injections!

  5. I had a whole host of problems while on the depo. Not only did I gain loads of weight, my mental state was affected badly by it too, at one point I thought I was going to have a breakdown. It wasn't till I spoke to two friends who told me the exact same things had happened to them, did I click on that it was the depo. I never had another injection again.

    I would not recommend it to anyone ever. As soon as I came off it, I just returned to my normal self.


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  7. My sister is on the injection and I'm definitely going to mention the resounding side effects that everyone seems to be having on it.

    I feel like I'm slowly putting weight on after changing from Cerazette to Yasmin, also my skin is atrocious. So last night I stopped taking it and I think I'm going to have a couple of months not taking anything to try and get things under control. If I still have bad skin then I guess it wasn't the pill!


  8. I too was on depo for two years and gained about 35 pounds from it. Every time I went in for shot I was at least 5 pounds heavier. It was horrible. I had acne before I started it, so I don't know what effect it had on my skin. But my acne did get progressively worse until I went on accutane. Again don't know if there was a connection with that and the depo though. I regret taking it even if it was a convenient form of birth control. After that I got a IUD. But when I moved to Italy the doctor pressured me to take it out, apparently it's unheard of to have a IUD in your 20s here? THAT was the best bc ever, no hormonal side effects at all.

  9. Hey hun ive nominated you for a blog award :)

  10. I was also on the depo injection about a year ago but stopped due to weight gain. Which now I find so difficult to lose!
    To be quite honest I had a worse time coming off the injection than I did while I was on it! (I sound like I was on I had never experienced period pains, well maybe a little, but nothing to moan about. but after coming off the injection I got them so bad that I just couldn't move. I also got very bad PMT! Which is not a good thing, as before you just couldnt tell.
    Another thing that annoyed me about going on the depo injection is that no-one told me that it can stop fertility for 12 months after you stop using it. Now dont get me wrong I'm only 21 and do not want children yet or for a few more years but when that option is taken away from you it's rather annoying!
    So just a warning for you, be prepaired that when you stop using the injection things aren't always going to be easy. (except the last one, that just bugged me even though I dont want kids
    You probably wont get any of these but its just incase.
    Oh and its a bit poo buying tampons again! I saved a fortune while I was on the depo injection. lol.

  11. If you do go back to hormonal contraception I can't recommend Yasmin enough, one of the side effects is actually gradual weight loss. My doctor suggested I go on it after having similar symptoms through a different pill.

  12. In my experience all hormonal contraceptives can cause side effects,I was on the pill for years and gained a stone year throughout this time, suffered with spots and mood swings, I've stopped the pill now and although I had a phase of fore head acne and oily skin at first everything is calming down now. My periods haven't regulated themselves yet which is still worrying me but I feel happier, less lethargic and am really trying to shift the weight once and for all!
    Good luck x x x

  13. heyyy ... good blog ... i agree totally ... i was on the depo for 2 years and gained about 35lbs, it was awful, as much as i tried to lose the weight nothing helped ... now ive stopped having it, the weight is slowly coming back off :) the other side effects just arent worth it, im not going on it ever again!!

    x <3 x

  14. I was put on the pill (Dianette) when I was 15, and almost overnight my skin got worse, I put on over 2 stone and my cycle was completely messed up! About a year ago I was diagnosed with PCOS.

  15. really enjoy your blog and your you tube channel hun...really enjoyed reading this blog too was like reading about myself...the exact same thing happened to me too but I only lasted 2 injections as I just couldnt take it anymore...I also got really bad mood swings with it and when I stopped I didnt have a period for a whole year!!! My GP always denies that hormone contracetives such as the pill, the injection, the implant make you put on weight according to him (men really dont get it do they?) the hormones or whatever that are in them actually make us crave more food aparently, so its not the contraceptive that directly makes women put on weight it indirectly makes us want to eat more???? hhhmmmm???? dont know if I quite accept this as an explanation or how based on fact it is, I dont know if my GP like too BS me a bit everytime I put on a couple of pounds and moan its the pill lol! I guess its just a case of seeing what works for you. Good luck with the weight loss even though you look great already. Ella x

  16. I have PCOS and as a result have found it hard to lose weight for several years. I went on the pill from the clinic and have since lost about a stone and find my weight really stable WHATEVER i eat. I think the pill actually sorted out my hormone problem...

  17. I know this is an old post (followed the link from ur latest post) but i had exactly the same with the Pill, i took it when i was about 16 and got so many sideeffects it was unbelievable. I came off of it pretty sharpish and havent even considered it again until now-ive been back on it for 3 months and things have improved so much, my skin is better this time around, mood are more even, boobs have gone up to an f-cup LMAO I think it can affect you at different ages differently depending on your hormone levels in correlation with your age...only way to make sene of it for me really!


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