Depo Provera

What are hormonal injections?

Hormonal contraceptives can be administered by injection to women every 12 weeks (3 months) to prevent pregnancy. Hormonal injections contain only the hormone progestin, which can be helpful for women who are sensitive to the hormone estrogen but who still want to use a hormonal method of birth control.

How do hormonal injections work?

Similar to other methods of hormonal contraception (e.g. patch, pill, ring), hormonal injection works in 3 ways:
• Stops your ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation)
• Changes the lining of your uterus, making it thinner and more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant
• Changes the composition of your cervical mucous, which makes it harder for the sperm to enter into the uterus

How effective arehormonal injections?

Hormonal injections are approximately 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
* The hormonal injection does not protect against sexually transmitted infections*

How do you I use hormonal injections?
Hormonal injections require a prescription and must be injected by a nurse or doctor.
• It is best to have the first injection within 5 days of starting your period because it will take effect more quickly.
• Every 12 weeks you must return for another injection.

What can be the advantages to using hormonal injection?
• Very effective in preventing pregnancy
• Only has to be injected every 12 weeks – no need to remember a daily pill
• May lighten your period, in fact many women stop having their periods entirely, while using injectable contraceptives.
• Does not interfere with breastfeeding
• Offer slightly more privacy because you do not have to keep birth control supplies at home or with you
• May reduce your chance of endometrial and cervical cancer
• Good for women who are anemic

What can be the disadvantages to using hormonal injection?
• Increases chances of osteoporosis due to bone loss. In recent years, it was discovered that there is a link between injectable contraceptives and osteoporosis (a disease that affects your bones and makes them more brittle). There is a general consensus in the medical community that women who use injectable contraceptives, should not use them long term. If you use injectable contraceptives, it is important to have a bone density test done from time to time to ensure that they remain strong and healthy.
• If you are uncomfortable with needles this may not be the best method for you
• Need to remember to get injection every 12 weeks; if you are late you increase your risk of getting pregnant
• Some women may experience side effects such as: cramping, depression, weight gain, headaches, sore breasts
• Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
• If you get side effects from the hormones, you may experience them for the duration of 3 months. Unlike other hormonal methods, you cannot simply stop taking it. The hormones must run their course.
• May lose your period (this can be an advantage or disadvantage-every woman feels differently about this)

How can I get hormonal injection?
They are available at most pharmacies, with a prescription. It needs to be injected by a doctor or a nurse.

How much does hormonal injection cost?
Pharmacy: Approximately $40 but price can vary depending on the individual pharmacy’s dispensing fee.

Sexual Health Centre:
• Under 20 yrs old: $2
• 20-25 yrs old: $30

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Insight Theatre, a Planned Parenthood Ottawa program, is a unique non-profit, public education theatre program created by, for and about youth.