Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Coming off Depo-Provera can be a woman’s worst nightmare

April 4th, 2012 by Laura Wershler

Need proof that women are sometimes desperate for information and support when it comes to quitting hormonal contraception? You need look no further than the 100 plus comments in reply to an old blog posting at Our Bodies OurselvesQuestions About Side Effects of Stopping Contraceptive Injections.  The comment stream – a litany of woes concerning women’s discontinuation of Depo-Provera – has been active since Nov. 2, 2009.

On March 29, 2012, Rachel, author of the post, wrote a follow-up piece in which she laments: “Although a quick internet search finds many women complaining of or asking about post-Depo symptoms, there isn’t much published scientific evidence on the topic.” Beyond research about bone density and length of time to return to fertility, little is known about the withdrawal symptoms women have been commenting about.

Depo-Provera is the 4-times-a-year birth control injection that carries an FDA “black box” warning that long-term use is associated with significant bone mineral density loss.  Never a fan, I made a case against this contraceptive in a paper for Canadian Woman Studies, published in 2005. The comments on the OBOS post indicate that many women took Depo-Provera without full knowledge of the potential for serious side effects while taking it, or of what to expect while coming off the drug.

Considering that Depo-Provera completely suppresses normal reproductive endocrine function, it is not surprising that many women experience extreme or confusing symptoms once stopping it. Take Lissa’s comment for example, posted on February 21, 2011:

Omg I thought I was tripping. I have been on depo for a year and stopped in jan. My breasts constantly hurt, I put on weight, have hot flashes, and sleeping problems. I pray everyday my cycle returns and stops playing with me. I only spot lightly.

Two and a half years after publication, the original article continues to garner monthly comments. I’ve read most of them and have yet to see one that offers concrete advice or a referral to resources that provide information and support to women looking for both. One such resource is Coming Off The Pill, the Patch, the Shot and Other Hormonal Contraceptives, a comprehensive, clinical-based guide to assist women transition back to menstruation and fertility, written by Megan Lalonde and Geraldine Matus.

Lalonde, a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner, and Certified Professional Midwife, helps women establish healthy, ovulatory cycles after using hormonal contraception. She says that women who’ve used Depo-Provera generally experience the most obvious symptoms and have the hardest time returning to fertility.  She finds that every client’s experience is different and will be affected by the status of their cycles before taking the drug, and their overall health. “It can take time to regain normal menstrual cycles, from a few months to 18 months, in my experience,” says Lalonde. “Some women have minimal symptoms while their own cycles resume, while others might have significant symptoms, including mood changes, unusual spotting and breast tenderness.”

The comments to the Our Bodies Ourselves blog post demonstrate that many women are not finding the acknowledgement and support they need to understand and manage the post-Depo transition. Some are disheartening to read, like this comment by Judy from April 12, 2011, and this recent one posted by Melani on March 21, 2012.

In my last re: Cycling post, I asked for input on the Coming Off the Pill Mind Map I created. I’ll be making a few revisions thanks to the thoughtful feedback readers have provided. I had assumed that this guide would be applicable to all methods of hormonal birth control but, after reading these women’s comments about their Depo-Provera experiences, it appears this contraceptive may require its own branch on the mind map.

  

737 Responses to “Coming off Depo-Provera can be a woman’s worst nightmare”

  1. Dkya says:

    Ever since I have stopped this shot I feel like crap I can’t aleep , my head is always bounding , I feel like im going to vomit all the time , I’m also very dizzy and light headed . I get symptoms of being prego but I know I’m not , this shot was the worst idea , I was recently in the er do to sucicide thoughts .DO NOT TAKE THE SHOT

    • ash says:

      well, i have been on and off the shot for the last 8 years.. now ive been off it for a while… my last shot was in april.. ive experienced some wierd symptoms too.. thinking i was prego. and finding out not.. alot of random headaches. that i never have had.. ever.. now my breasts are sore as heck.. even just to touch.. makes me crazy.. ive been depressed and have definately thought about seeing a dr about it but reading this from everyone else has helped me realize im not alone in this whole depo problem. be positive girl!! we will survive!

    • Monique says:

      Wow all symtoms i have at this very moment my ahot was due november 15 2014 but i missed it and now having bad side effect everything you explained

  2. Josey says:

    Ohkay, I really need answers!!!
    I was on the depo for a year after having my daughter, then I switched to the birth control pill, I took the pills for a month /two months but I recently didn’t take them for a week or two, but I started taken them but that same day I started again I had sex but the condom broke and he cumed in me. Is there chances I could be pregnant?!!
    Please respon need answers!!.

  3. kyra says:

    Do you think I could possibly be pregnant I missed my shot August 25th and it’s now October 17 th I under stand that when,you get off depo you get pregnancy symptoms but I’m wondering if anyone has had bloating in there uterus pretty much and I have had white milky watery discharge fatigue headaches and a lot more I’m hoping am but then again I put my self in doubt because of depo tell me what you think

  4. Sara says:

    Okay, I had a miscarriage in September 2013. I had a DNE, after that I got the shot.(Only One) I bleed all month long, maybe a week a month not bleeding. Went to an OBGYN and was put on fertility drugs in July 2014. I have not ovulated. Now there saying it’s me. I never had a problem before the shot. Is this anything someone else has gone through?

    • barb says:

      I have been off depo since July 2013, August 2014 I bleed for about a month just enough to b annoying then had a month of nothing and now bleeding for past two weeks. I havent ovulated since I started the shot July 2012. so I would definately say its the shot that caused it I have always been regular and ovulated every month prior to the shot. I have two kids.

    • nina says:

      Its not you trust me im going through the same thing and so are many other people, its definitely the shot

  5. LeeAnn says:

    I have been following this forum for several months. Last time I had posted I was supposed to go in for a full hysterectomy but of course being 34 at the time they refused to do it even though my doctor was pushing to have it done. It has been 3 years since I last had the shot and I still to this day have not ovulated. I know this because I use to be able to check the cervical fluid and the position of my cervix. It always stays the same but now this month I ended up with two periods within a week of each other the first was was quite painful as usual but the second one was just annoying because I have never had two full periods. It started out pink then turned a dark stringy brown. Has anyone else experienced it and what could this mean. I am so confused I seriously need some advice for piece of mind thank you.

    • Laura Wershler says:

      Hi LeeAnn,

      You don’t mention if you’ve been menstruating over the past three years. Were these recent bleeding episodes the first since you stopped Depo? Have you been having periods occasionally or at all?

      At age 34 you still want to be ovulating consistently to build and maintain bone density. You will find some helpful information on how to restore ovulatory cycles on the other post I wrote about Depo-Provera:

      http://menstruationresearch.org/2013/04/11/stopping-depo-provera-why-and-what-to-do-about-adverse-experiences/

      It is a Q and A with an endocrinologist who explains what women are experiencing when they stop taking Depo, and treatment suggestions for problems you may be having. Hope you find it useful.

      • When I first got my periods back they were 32 days apart but now for the past few months its been every 27 days except thins Month o started a day early in the 8th bled for 3 days instead of 5 then a week later started sleeping again for 3 days

        • LeeAnn Jordan says:

          It was meant to say bleeding at the end

        • Kristen Adamson says:

          I was on the depo shot for about 3 years and after being off of it for over a year now my periods are still not normal! Even now sometimes I’m getting my period every two weeks. It really messed up my monthly cycle. When will it be back to monthly!!! Still waiting…

  6. April says:

    Hi I am 35 years old and I have been on and off depo for 11 years. I would never come off for more than a year at a time just to let my body reboot. I decided that it was time to come off for good and try to have another child with my 2ND husband (I have 3 from my previous marriage). My depo was due the first of this month and I am experiencing severe pelvic pain. I have never really had menstrual cramps and prior to depo I was very regular. Even the times I would come off to let my body “reboot” the most I would experience was mild cramping and spotting type bleeding once a month, fairly regular. While on depo I loved it, all I had to remember was one appointment every 3 months. I am seriously reconsidering returning to depo if the pelvic pain persists. Does anyone have any helpful feedback or tips I can try to help ease the transition?

  7. jen says:

    I stop taking dEpo last august 24 2014,nOw I’m scAreD beCause I’m bleEDING for aBouT 2 wEEKs tilL now.what sh0uld I do? NeED REPLY,

  8. kaylie says:

    hi I was depo for 2 n half years been off it 5 month and got my bfp im 4 weeks

  9. kaylie says:

    hi I was on depo for 2 n half years been off it 5 month and got my bfp im 4 weeks

  10. tonie says:

    Well, I first posted around june/July with rubbish symptoms and that we were trying for another after haing my last injection in March. Took the test on my birthday last week (and 3 more since!) and i am finally pregnant, it has taken us 7 months so stick it out all those of you who are trying it WILL happen :-)

    • Ally says:

      But hoe long did it take for you to get your first cycle after you stop taking the Depo shot?

      • Jenna says:

        It took 5 months after the shot should have worn off (so 8 mths after last inj)-I then had 50 days of no bleeding, then a second period. I do not think I am ovulating yet.

  11. Caroline says:

    I have been having the Depo injection for 2 and a half years, I have recently been advised to come off it due to bone loss. However after reading these comments I’m not sure what’s best to do. I don’t know whether to stay with the Depo or change? Any advice?

  12. Mysti says:

    I’ve been off of depo for 18 months now. (Took the shot in April 2013 and it’s now just the beginning of Nov. 2014) so about 19 months. I started getting somewhat regular periods back in January but could never get pregnant. Well October 23rd was supposed to be when I started my period but today Nov. 2 2014 I still haven’t gotten it. I spotted October 20 and 21st. Then nothing. Then a little spotting the 23rd then nothing and a little the 28th then nothing and now today Nov. 2 spotting and then it went away. What the heck can this be? Has anyone experienced this???? I’m freaking out. I have a doctors appointment set but it’s still worrying me… :(

  13. bree says:

    Hi i am 19 and i have been on and off depo for a year. I started taking it in january, stopped in may and went on the pill. I took nother shot in july and haven’t taking another one. I was due for my shot the beginning of October and still haven’t had a period. Whats going on? I am completely lost because when i stopped it before i got my period right away. Please help me

  14. Tank says:

    Im 17 , i got my depo shot a few weeks ago and i started spotting then i stopped. Then i started bleeding very heavily but im not bleeding red , its black then sometimes red , i had sex with my boyfriend a couple days and fee hours before i got my shot and he came inside me all the times could i be pregnant and the baby dieing ?? I have cramps , back pain and my legs are becoming weak and i get lightheaded and can barely stand up without almost passing out , somebody please tell me whats wrong with me

  15. Laura says:

    Alright I took my second depo shot I felt like a pregnant old woman I discharged a lot. Yesterday I was suppose to go for my 3rd shot but I didn’t (because I’m going to see another doctor) well I’m not bleeding sence I did not take the shot. Could I be pregnant?

  16. Maria says:

    Hi ,
    I’ve just turned 50 and have been on the depo for 13 years. I went on the injection because I suffered form endometriosis since I was a teenager and all other treatments failed. I had my last jab 3 weeks ago and have been suffering abdominal pain since. I’m scared my periods will come back and I also don’t know if I am menopausal. I’m am also getting other symptoms such as severe headaches back pain nausea dizziness etc and don’t know if this is due to stopping the depo or the menopause. Does anyone have any advice?

  17. Melissa says:

    Hello
    I took the repo shot at the end of June and did not go to take another shot. I have been on my period from August 23 till today November 7, 2014. Has this happened to anyone else? Its a little scary that i do not know whats going on with my body and i am just waiting to finally end my period.

    • Tiffany says:

      Hey I took one shot like 4 months ago and didn’t go back either. My first period was like 2 weeks long. This is my second one and I’m counting 19 days already. No sign of let up. This is not ok or normal maybe because of the drug these are the side effects. But this is not ok for my body. I’m not going back on birth control again. No thanks. I don’t need this junk in my body

    • shotsucks says:

      Yes. I have been bleeding since 2 weeks after october 28 to today (December 17) I am still bleeding. He told me it would be spotting. Its a period.

  18. Nhia says:

    Hi.
    I’m concerned about stopping my depo.I am soon to be due for my 3rd dosage, but uncertain about following up on it. When I first started the depo I waited for my period. Then I started to spot for a fee days. I was in the clear until about 3 weeks before my 2nd dosage. I bled for days and rarely would spot. Wen I got my 2nd dosage the bleeding stopped in about 5 days. Then back to spotting in a few days.after I bled and currently now til my 3rd dosage.I also failed to mentioned I felt the pregnancy symptoms too.So my concern is what can happen to my body if I don’t take the 3rd dose??

  19. Diana says:

    Okay, I have been off of depo for 2 months. I’ve been having white creamy discharge. It does not smell, itch, or burn. So I don’t believe this is BV or a yeast infection. I think it’s probably my hormones are re adjusting … I’m not sure. Can someone please tell me if this is normal??
    I have unprotected sex, and thought for a second it could be a pregnancy symptom.. But both test came back negative.
    Please help -

    • Kimbralyn Cross says:

      Dianna I have been having the same problem. Went to my doctors I amfine they said Iits just your hormones. Though having head aches, server abdominal pain, and feeling nauseous 24/7 hasn’t been fun coming off depo on top of very server breast tenderness…. and this back pain has got to stop… never choosing depo again. Was on it for 2years… time to get my periods back and get back to normal so I can try for baby #2.

      • Jennifer Braswell says:

        Kimbralyn thanks for info. I have been experiencing the same symptoms. I have been having sore breast and a white discharge also with no pain or smell. I stop taking my shot in October and the middle of November thats when the pain in my breast started. I thought I was pregnant but I have taken 3 test so far and they all have came back negative.I just wish my period would start back and breast stop hurting.

  20. Diana says:

    Okay, I have been off of depo for 2 months. I’ve been having white creamy discharge. It does not smell, itch, or burn. So I don’t believe this is BV or a yeast infection. I think it’s probably my hormones are re adjusting … I’m not sure. Can someone please tell me if this is normal??
    I have unprotected sex, and thought for a second it could be a pregnancy symptom.. But both test came back negative. Oh and I haven’t had my period yet.
    Please help -

  21. Jenna says:

    I am 30, and was on Depo consistently for about 11-12 years. Off for a year and a half to 2 years. Then back on for 3 inj.
    I took a break from it a couple years ago during which time I had regular cycles, and I don’t remember having any issues other than occasional spotting and a month or two where my periods were every 2 weeks or so.
    I started taking Depo again Aug 2013, and had my last inj Mar 2014. Since coming off the drug this time I have only had very light spotting once, and then a heavy 6 day period w/ dark, old, stringy blood and clots. I have sore tender breasts, and pelvic pain nearly every morning. I don’t think I have ovulated since coming off Depo. I have not had a period for 48 days and confirmed I was not pregnant 31 days after my LMP. Has anyone else had a similar experience? How long does it typically take for a return to normal fertility? I have heard anywhere from 5 months to a year or more.

  22. mika says:

    I am 23 years old with 3 beautiful children. After my first child i went for the depo shot it instantly took away my periods (hello awesome) this lasted for about a year and i had missed an appointment due to work because i am dedicated to taking care of my children. Well needless to say i missed the shot in early october..the first time i slept with the my sons father again in january i was instantly pregnant do not recall even having a period between those times this was quite awhile ago..well then after that oregnancy my dr did not listen when i said my fertility is way to strong for the pill needless to say i got my daughter as a blessing…my youngest 2 are roughly 15mths apart so after the long haul of another pregnancy with her i decided i needed to be on the shot again because jothing else would stop me from getting pregnant. I have been on the depo yet again over a year this time it completely killed my sexual urges oh and not to mention i would bleed for months straight when i restarted the shot this go around…i recently missed the shot yes on purpose in September because it was literally making me feel like i was insane. Now i have been mm most would say a tad bit psychotic and very very depressed which i was already there before i did not get my last shot…i do not ever want to feel these side effects again i still contemplate going to my doctor each day to get placed on medication which i do not highly do not believe in.
    I personally will never reccomend this shit to anyone i am very small figured and framed that way well after all 3 of my babies of course my hips widened up a bit but now ever since i have taken my first shot i can honestly tell you when i am due for one because my hips will have excruciating pain for weeks and same as to after i get the injection.. i do not wish what all this pain and nonsense that ridiculous birth control has caused me on anyone..

    Best of luck to all of you all of the syptoms and freakish things like hot flashes not being able to sleep etc i have experienced as well :(

    • Amber says:

      I am 20 years old I was on the depo shot for three years without stopping. I quit the depo in July of 2014 and have been off for 5& a 1/2 months now my periods were regular right away and now they are spotty and last for about two weeks i don’t know if it’s my hormones acting up because of depo or because I may be pregnant. ??? Also I had a miscaridge in June 2012 before I stopped the depo I don’t know if that helps at all but I would like to know if anyone has any info…

    • Amber says:

      I am 20 years old I was on the depo shot for three years without stopping. I quit the depo in July of 2014 and have been off for 5& a 1/2 months now my periods were regular right away and now they are spotty and last for about two weeks i don’t know if it’s my hormones acting up because of depo or because I may be pregnant. ??? Also I had a miscaridge in June 2013 before I stopped the depo I don’t know if that helps at all but I would like to know if anyone has any info…

  23. Lena Shay ❤ says:

    Hi I’m 20 with 2 kids. I got the depo after I gave birth in may 2014. Got my shots every 3 month like normal and decided to stop bc I kept spotting for a whole month. One day I’m off and then back to spotting. Now that I didn’t get my Nov shot I haven’t stop spotting. When can I obvalated again

  24. LOLA says:

    please i need help,i was on a contraceptive injection for just 9 months,i stopped since May,till November i am yet to see my period, only to start experiencing breast pain this month of November…this is the feel of the pain, it started with the two breast, at the sides,i had to check if it was cancer signs,, i feel this heat sensation from my boobs, my nipples are always erect, just this hotness , i feel, this is crazy,though at first i have to massage and massage my nipples to lessen the pain but now i stopped cos its not burning like before but i still have this crazy pain,especially from my sides of my breast mildly i feel little pain in my lower pelvic like period wants to come
    , but still no period, can someone please tell me if they have experienced this before

    • Jenna says:

      The symptoms you are experiencing seem to happen regularly. I had a very similar experience. I got my period 8 mths after my last injection, and just got another period 50 days later. No spotting in between. I had intense breast and lower pelvic pain, which resolved with my last period.

  25. Shelley says:

    Ive been off.the Depo shot for 4 months and o have all the signs of pregnancy the nausea headaches light spotting. im glad im not the only one who has experienced these symptoms. makes me feel.better and know that im not going insane.

  26. emma says:

    Hi, i was due to get my shot in june 2014 but wanted to come off it so never bothered getting it. I had my first period in august and then september but nothing in october or this month (november). Is this normal? Someone help if they can thanks!

  27. Kaitlyn says:

    Hi I’m 18 years old. I started depo when I was 15 and.recently stopped August, 2014. Its now November 2014 and I still haven’t gotten a period. I’m very sore and I’ve been peeing so much that twice I peed on myself and fell down and hurt myself trying to get to a bathroom last night. I’m having watery liquid discharge and I’m SO hungry… When will this stop and I can get my period back? Will it ever be regular again? I want to have kids jn the future and I’m not worried!

  28. Kaitlyn says:

    Hi I’m 18 years old. I started depo when I was 15 and.recently stopped August, 2014. Its now November 2014 and I still haven’t gotten a period. I’m very sore and I’ve been peeing so much that twice I peed on myself and fell down and hurt myself trying to get to a bathroom last night. I’m having watery liquid discharge and I’m SO hungry… When will this stop and I can get my period back? Will it ever be regular again? I want to have kids jn the future and I’m worried!

  29. Katherine Rose says:

    I have just been to see a naturopath. I was on the depo on and off for the last 12 years. I would try to come off it, but the side effects to stopping were just to severe, i thought I had breast cancer, I thought I was pregnant, gained weight and I thought I was going crazy, so I would go back on it. No doctors or specialists could give me any answers. They told me I should lose weight and that the depo is a good thing!! Well my last shot was end of August this year. The symptoms are back, however I’m not going back on it. Thank gosh I found this forum, suggesting natural progesterone. The naturopath explained how my hormones are all out of wack. She gave me some wild yam cream, which is a natural progesterone. I will try this out and will probably go back for further natural hormone balancing treatments. Don’t give up ladies. More studies need to be done into the depo provera. Health care professionals need to be informed about the side effects when you give up and we should be told before we start and also been given a clear and supported treatment plan, for when coming off.

  30. Dwell says:

    Hi All – its been a couple of months since my last post. I was on Depo for 16 years and was told by my GYN to stop taking it due to bone loss and that I was only suppose to take it for 2 years. My last shot was April 2014 I have experienced hair loss, lose teeth, nausea, joint pain, blurred vision, fatigue, and of course no period for 16 years. Well on November 19, 2014 my period came back after 19 months from my last shot, I have never experience pain like this it started out as spotting brown with mild cramps, but this morning the pain was so intense I started shaking and vomiting. I am having what appears to be dark clots but the blood is bright red I am in so much pain right now my lower back hurts really bad. I don’t know how long this cycle will last but I hope its a short one. I am 49 years old and was told by my GYN a few months ago that I am at that stage in my life for menopause, but he stresses that I need to take precautions because I can still become pregnant, which I doubt I have viable eggs to become pregnant. I just took 600mg of Motrin IB so hoping this will help with the cramps. Take care ladies and good luck coming off this horrible medication Depo If I knew then what I know now I would have never taken Depo. For those of you who want to have babies stay away from this it will screw your system up.

  31. Sam says:

    Hi

    I was on Depo for 3 years, I had my last shot in February 2014. I had my first period 2 weeks ago and now I am having another really heavy one with big clots, I dare not even go out of the house and this is the 6th heavy day. I can’t get into doctors for a week, I may have bled to death by then!

  32. Dani says:

    I have taken it for a year, I put on weight, I also experienced signs (after getting off it) of pregnancy… I’m not. But now I’ve experienced bleeding, but I mean it’s not stopping and it’s going on the 3rd week and I am freaking out and I can get an appointment fast. I have on December 10th (For a doctor on another thing. I have Anemia)But I want to know has anyone experienced this? I mean bleeding that last long but not heavy?

  33. STEPHANIE says:

    I GOT ON DEPO BACK IN JUNE AND I WAS DUE FOR IT IN SEPTEMBER BUT I NEVER GOT BACK ON IT. I HAD A LIGHT PERIOD FOR ABOUT A WEEK IN OCTOBER AND I HAVENT HAD MY PERIOD ALL THIS MONTH AND IN TWO DAYS IT’LL BE DECEMBER..IM VERY NERVOUS! COULD IT BE THE DEPO THE REASON WHY I DIDNT HAVE MY PERIOD THIS MONTH OR COULD I BE PREGNANT??? PLEASE HELP ME

  34. Joy says:

    I was on depo for 2 1/2 years and came off of it January last year. I finally have a gotten a period this month but I’ve had it twice now under 30 days. In the last 10 months, I’ve gone from 115 pounds to 140. No matter what I do I cannot get the weight off. My moods are so up and down, and when I feel down, I feel absolutely insane. I feel pregnant, my boobs are sore I’m so bloated ALL THE TIME. Everyone thinks I’m making excuses, but I can’t help any of these things. I’m tired all the time, I get dizzy spells. My appetite has gone down but for a while, I was SO hungry and I never felt full and eating a disgusting amount of food. This has been a terrible experience and I do not recommend this medication to anyone. I feel like I’m in my own personal hell.

  35. Mickie says:

    When I was in my early 20′s (I’m now 32) I had one Depo injection with no side – effects. I had an injection in July which would have covered me up until the middle of October. I have always been regular with my periods, and even had spotting on the days around my period would have been due whilst on the shot. I had every horrendous side – effect known to man kind: moody (husband nearly murdered; no sex drive; weight gain; depression. Essentially, you name it, I had it. I waited the 3 months’ out and had a breakthrough bleed 2 days after the 2nd injection would have been due. Had awful withdrawal symptoms 2 weeks after stopping, mostly sore breasts and nausea. I have had a ‘normal-ish’ period on the 17th of this month and have had hormone studies to make sure I’m not post-meno (which I’m not; all came back perfect). Now husband and I want to try for our 1st baby. I’ve been told anywhere from 4-18months to regain fertility, however I’ve had this period and all hormone blood tests have come back normal. In fact, a vey good doctor told me that my hormones were ‘so healthy’ that he expected me not to have any problems, and certainly not needing to wait the 18 months to fall. However, only time will tell. There is no information anywhere on the internet, but for the love of God, do NOT get this injection. I work as an RN in a private practice and I refuse to give this shot to women, irrespective of their lifestyle, age, etc. Any thoughts/stories on falling pregnant by real women post depo shot greatly appreciated. And for the record: I had only the one.

    Best wishes to you all.

  36. Leslie says:

    It is both disturbing–and oddly comforting–to see so many others have struggled with this drug. I very hesitantly agreed to take it after being diagnosed with Stage IV Endometriosis in late 2012. My doctor at the time assured me that it is “wonderful birth control” that would help me manage the horrible pain and heavy bleeding caused by the Endometriosis since I hadn’t tolerate oral contraceptives well int he past. I asked about side effects and were told they weren’t very prevalent and I may just have some spotting. I had the shot at the end of February 2013. I then proceeded to bleed, at times heavy to the point of gushing,until the middle of June, That is one hundred and sixteen consecutive days, non-stop. I actually thought I was going to just bleed to death but was told that some irregular bleeding was “normal” and that was just my lining thinning out. The only plus was that I lost about 10 pounds rather than have the gain many experience. I never got another shot, but needed a second surgery for the Endometriosis, which was growing back by mid summer, then a third operation for Adeneomyosis last winter when my bleeding returned with a vengeance. I eventually had the lining of my uterus re-sectioned to put an end to the bleeding as it was so heavy and abnormal, even after going off the Depo.
    In the months since my shot wore off, my hormonal symptoms have been horrible. Sore breasts and cramps daily, feeling near constant PMS, headaches, including migraines, and just a general feeling of malaise. Most upsetting for me though has been the weight gain. In the last 12months, I am up 25 pounds. I don’t look or feel like myself and I don’t know how this happened. Feeling so exhausted and lousy has me exercising less, but not enough to warrant this kind of gain. Nothing seems to make the pounds budge. A new doctor ran tests that showed low progesterone and estrogen dominance and I am now on bio identical, compounded progesterone. This has helped with some of the discomfort, but no shifting in my weight yet, Did anyone else experience weight issues after coming off the Depo and what, if anything, worked to help lose the extra pounds? Sorry to write a novel here, but I am furious that this drug was given to me like it was nothing and that it made me so ill as a result!

    • Katherine Rose says:

      Hi Leslie, sorry to hear you have experienced such a nightmare as well. You mentioned weight Gain when coming off. I have experienced a big weight gain since trying to come off over the past few years. I would go off, put on weight, swell and feel so awful, I would go back on it. However I missed my last shot at the end of August and am never going back on it. I started takling the weight while I was still on it, really stepped up the exercise, no alcohol and a clean organic eating, this has made the side effects of sore breasts and nausea a lot less than previous attempts to get it off it. I have now started a probiotic supplement and a really good multivitamin, with a lot of b12, which helps with digestion, energy and General wellbeing. I have also started using wild yam cream, which is a natural progesterone treatment, this helps to balance hormones (including food cravings and breast tenderness) weight is slowly coming off. My cup size has gone up by 2!!! I hate it and can’t wait for this to get back to normal. All the best to you. I wouldn’t recommend the depo to my worst enemy.

      • Leslie says:

        Katherine–thank you for your feedback. I hate that we are dealing with this but it is nice to know that there are others that understand. I a cutting way back on carbs and hoping that the Progesterone and a few other supplements (including Evening Primrose Oil) that my current doctor recommended will help. Good luck to you too!

  37. Lilly says:

    Hi,
    So I’m 20 yrs old. I had my first depo shot in Sept 2013 did only 1 dose was supposed to go back in Dec. Had unprotected sex here and there till about Apr 2014. Then that’s when I got back on the shot for another 6 months. I was susuppose to go back at the end of Oct, it’s now dec 1st. So I want to know How long will my body go back to normal cuz I’m trying to get pregnant like now, iv been having headaches, nausea, dizziness, tender breast , and its the exact symptoms I had when I got off the depo shot back in December. I thought I was pregnant but it was just the shot wwearing off. I took a pregnancy test about 2weeks ago it was neg. I want to take more pregnancy test but at the same time I don’t bcuz it’s going to be like the first time I though I was, I’m really excited to start a family but with this not weating off soon puts me down. I just want to know how long will it take to wear off. How do I know when I’ll have my period back. If been bleeding light sometimes a little more then just light even 2 days the most without bleeding and it’s been doing this for now about 3 months please help. I have minor depression problems.

  38. sophie says:

    i am 23 and have been on the depo for 5 years, ive come off it for the first time and i have been getting terrible belly aches, sore breasts, bloating and feeling sick now and then. constantly keep thinking im pregnant. so worrying!

    Does anyone think this is normal??

  39. Katarina says:

    I never post on forums but I am so upset, I just want to share my story.

    I am turning 25 in month. I started depo when I was 18. I never had periods and my weight yo-yo’d the whole time I was on it, so I attribute that to other things. In September 2014 I was due for a shot, but I figured it was time to find a better long term BC because of the bone loss issues and the fact that I don’t ever want to conceive. Also, I was QUITE frustrated with the symptoms of being pregnant from taking a medicine to keep me from getting pregnant. I had tried everything besides the IUD, and my OBGYN flat-out refused my wishes to get tubal ligation. So on the most painful day of my life (mind you I grew up rough and have broken bones, fallen out of trees, been thrown from horses etc), I had Paragard inserted on October 23rd. After 6 days of not being able to function due to passing out and throwing up from the pain, not to mention bleeding enough to bleed through super pads all day long, I had it removed at Urgent Care. I could not miss anymore work, and I read too many horror stories about pregnancies, and the symptoms I was suffering taking up to a year to go away or in some cases, never going away. Back to my post-depo life. I bled for a month after the IUD insertion, even after it was removed. I have had the greasiest grossest skin, my usually clean smelling vagina smells like garlic fish even right after a shower, I am exhausted, cramping, and getting fat even though I am watching what I eat and trying my best to be active. I have no energy from morning to night, I can’t focus on school work. I cry all the time, where when I was on depo I would only get angry, never cry. OH and nausea from sunrise to sunset. Heartburn from eating anything, even fruits and veggies. I want to loose this weight but I can barely manage life duties, let alone the gym. And I think one of the worst things is the constant exhaustion accompanied with insomnia. I can be in a dark silent room for hours with no stimuli whatsoever and the sleep will not come. I am looking into natural remedies and I am determined to get my body back. Nevertheless, it is emotionally draining and frustrating and I cry and cry and cry and cry. I just want my story to be heard, just in case someone else is suffering and feeling as alone as I do right now. This will be the longest 18 months of my life, I’m sure.

    • Laura Wershler says:

      Hi Katrina,
      You may want to read the other post I wrote about Depo that explains some of the adverse effects you are experiencing post-Depo and offers some possible solutions.

      Thanks for posting,
      Laura

  40. ano nimo says:

    This is crazy. The only thing I was told as far as adverse effects was to not stay on it for extended time because of the bone density. I started taking it due to my inability to maintain a schedule with my pill. Had I known about all of these side effects, I wouldnt have chose this method. I was on for a little over a year, then got off and tried the pill again. That didn’t work out well and I was depressed and kept forgetting to take it… so I went back on the shot. I took 3 shots this time and stopped after the third and missed my September appointment. I have had insane amounts of migraines lately. My muscles are sore. I am weepy. I think I might be paranoid as well, but I am not sure. I am also experiencing hot and cold flashes and extremely vivid and disturbing nightmares. My acne is absolutely disgusting. I have giant puss filled zits and I have never in my life experienced this. i feel so disgusting and I used to be pretty with nice skin. I am 28. I work out and eat healthy. I drink a lot of water and nothing was this bad until I stopped the shot. I want to have another child because my daughter is now 4, but my body is sooooo out of wack. My skin is so disgusting. It is really hard for me. It is constantly oily no matter what I do. I am really afraid that I may have messed myself up for good. I havent had a shot since june. :/ last time i stopped the shot i bled a longer amount but didnt feel that it was abnormal because i hadnt been menstruating so i just got grossed out and thought it was back up from that. I also have heard from another girl that she and women she knew had miscarriages their first pregnancy after taking depo. This is terrible and I dont understand why the facts were not clearly outlined for me. This is serious stuff I would have liked to have considered during my selection process, but was only really told about the benefits of depo and just the bone density side effect and altered cycle. I hate depo so much. I feel pregnant and i knkw i am not when i would like to be. I just want to ovulate

  41. Hailey Penfield says:

    Hi my name is Hailey. I have been off the depo shot for a good solid year now. I was on it a year prior for about two years after having a miscarriage. I used to have very normal periods now, I after ending the depo I am having it every 1½ to 2 weeks. Is this normal? Not only that be it is sometimes blackish maroon to a.bright red with heavy bleeding I am having unprotected sex but, it has been with the same partner for 4 years. Please help.

  42. Kaylie Kay says:

    Hi ladies I was on depo for two and half years I was off it five months when I got pregnant I got my period the next month after missing a shot I was taking folic acid and vitamin b6 feel free to text me 07899370335

  43. jasmine says:

    So I took the depo shot in oct I’m due for my second shot soon…I started spotting almost a month ago. Some days it was so light i was convinced it was over, but i never actually stopped.Today I started to experience cramps as if I was starting my actual period. Have no idea if this is healthy or not? Or if it’s happened to anyone else. I don’t think I will get my second shot.

  44. jasmine says:

    So I took the depo shot in oct I’m due for my second shot soon…I started spotting almost a month ago. Some days it was so light i was convinced it was over, but i never actually stopped.Today I started to experience cramps as if I was starting my actual period. The bleedings gotten heavier then just spotting.Have no idea if this is healthy or not? Or if it’s happened to anyone else. I don’t think I will get my second shot.

  45. katarina says:

    Briana, why are you even posting here. Go find somewhere else to be hardcore with your keyboard. Are you so insecure you have to randomly attack a stranger on the internet??? And Jasmine, take a pregnancy test. If it comes back negative, take one again in two weeks just to make sure.


    Katarina, thanks for this alert – I’ve deleted Briana’s offensive posts. In five years of managing this site, I’ve rarely deleted anything that wasn’t outright spam, but those crossed a line.

    re:Cycling Editor

Leave a Reply

Readers should note that statements published in re: Cycling are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Society as a whole.