Birth Control Shot Possible Side Effects

Learn about the possible side effects of a birth control shot in this Howcast video.

Transcript

The birth control shot is a highly effective form of birth control. It is progesterone only and is usually administered by a doctor or a nurse practitioner. The injection is usually given into your arm or in your buttock once every 12 weeks. While this is an excellent and highly effective form of birth control, it does have some side effects. Some of the most common side effects include breakthrough bleeding, headaches, and over a relatively short period of time, you may stop getting your periods altogether. These side effects are completely normal.

Now, the headaches and the breakthrough bleeding will usually get better with time. However, if you stop getting your periods with this birth control option, it's possible that your periods may not return until after you stop using this form of contraception. Please don't be worried. While patients are concerned when they don't see their periods, so long as they're using the birth control option correctly, this is perfectly safe.

One of the concerns about using the birth control injection, or the birth control shot, is the return to fertility. In other words, if you use this birth control option and you decide that you want to get pregnant, it can take up to a year for your periods to return and for you to start ovulating in order for you to get pregnant. So if you're thinking in the next year or two that you would like to consider pregnancy, you probably should consider a different, more easily reversible form of birth control.

Another concern about this form of birth control is the risk associated with bone loss. Now, the risk of bone loss is relatively low over the first year. But if you continue this form of birth control for two or more years, you may want to consider changing your options in order to reduce this risk from occurring.

Again, I highly recommend that you talk to your nurse practitioner or your physician about whether this is a good birth control option for you. Despite the side effects, this may be the birth control option for you. And while you're concerned about the side effect profile, it's probably better to use this than to use nothing at all.

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