Injectable hormonal contraceptive
Depo Provera is a synthetic hormone (progestogen) that is given by injection every 3 months. It is slowly released into a woman’s body, and works in 3 ways:
- it stops the female body releasing an egg each month
- it changes the lining of the uterus so a fertilised egg cannot grow
- it makes the mucous in the cervix thicker so sperm cannot get through.
- It is very convenient as you only need 1 injection every 3 months.
- It contains no oestrogen, so may be safer for some women, including smokers and other women who cannot take the pill.
- It is not affected by body weight, stomach upsets or medications.
Things to consider
- While on Depo Provera, many women stop getting periods after the first couple of injections.
- You need to go to your doctor or health service to have the injection.
- Irregular bleeding may occur after the first few injections.
- Once given, the injections cannot be reversed or cancelled – you just have to wait for the hormone to reduce over time.
- Most women start having periods and become fertile again 4 to 8 months after their last injection, but it can take longer for some women.
- Depo Provera is a very effective contraceptive, but will not protect you against STIs or HIV.
Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program, Public Health
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