Does Birth Control with Depo-Provera Make You Gain Weight?

Does Birth Control Make You Gain Weight?
Jul 26, 2022

Did you know that about one-fourth of all women prefer not to undergo a birth control shot only because they are afraid of gaining weight? Indeed, there exists a common belief that injectable pregnancy planning methods might lead to significant weight gain.

However, is it really so? Let us figure it out together by means of finding an answer to the following question: does birth control with Depo-Provera (which is one of the most popular injectables to prevent pregnancy) make you gain weight?

Depo-Provera as One of the Most Effective Birth Control Methods

Above anything else, let us take a closer look at the main methods of birth control and pay special attention to injectable contraception, Depo-Provera being one of them.

What Are the Main Methods of Birth Control?

Birth control dates back to the antique world. The earliest methods of contraception, such as condoms made of animal bladders, first appeared in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In most cases, however, they weren’t highly efficient.

Luckily, contemporary medicine offers a wide range of strongly effective methods of birth control, such as:

  • A condom. It is a barrier form of birth control that protects men and women from unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases in a non-invasive way;
  • A surgery. It is a non-reversible contraceptive method that permanently disables a man from the production of sperm or a woman from ovulation;
  • A pill. It is a popular solution of protection from unwanted pregnancy that ensures a 99% of effectiveness in case of a regular pill intake;
  • An implant. It is an efficient method of contraception that assumes the insertion of a tiny tube beneath the skin of an upper arm of a woman;
  • An intrauterine device. It is a birth control tool that might be divided into hormonal and non-hormonal (Copper-based) subtypes;
  • An injection. It is an injectable form of contraception that is characterized by minimal invasiveness and high efficiency.
  • And other birth control methods.

An interesting fact: Regardless of a great selection of contraceptive methods, a substantial percentage of people prefer to use natural family planning instead of them. The main reason for it is that they believe that birth control pills, implants, intrauterine devices, or injections are rather harmful to their health.

What Products Are Used for Injectable Birth Control?

While being one of the most widely-spread methods of birth control, contraceptive injections are beloved by both medical professionals and their patients all over the world. They require low maintenance, ensure high effectiveness, and have a wide range of benefits.

In simple words, a contraceptive injection is an administration of a special product that causes the release of the hormone progestogen into a patient’s bloodstream. It is an effective method of preventing pregnancy.

Among the main products that are used for injectable birth control are:

  • Noristerat. It is a product that is oftentimes used as a method of injectable contraception. After being administered intramuscularly, it provides a patient with the result that lasts about 8 weeks (during this time period, a woman is very unlikely to get pregnant);
  • Sayana Press. While being produced by Pfizer Inc., it is another birth control product that might be administered with the help of a self-injection (at least in the European Union). Sayana Press might be defined as an all-in-one prefilled injectable system of a single-use that provides women with a long-lasting but nevertheless contraception. On average, a single shot of the product ensures 13-week protection from unplanned pregnancy;
  • Depo-Provera. Last but not least, Depo-Provera is one more widely spread product that is employed for injectable birth control. It prevents a woman from getting pregnant for the time period that equals 13 weeks in a safe, effective, and minimally invasive way (which makes it a reasonable solution for many women).

An interesting fact: Such health complications as unexplained vaginal bleeding, breast cancer, or liver disease serve as risk factors for the administration of injectable birth control products.

What Are the Peculiarities of the Depo-Provera Birth Control Shot?

A birth control shot of Depo-Provera has a number of peculiarities. So, how about taking a closer look at the most important ones?

Above anything else, it is essential to mention that Depo-Provera tends to ensure a patient with 99% of effectiveness. Therefore, it belongs to one of the most reliable methods of birth control these days.

The working principle of Depo-Provera is pretty straightforward. Here is what it looks like:

  • After being intramuscularly administered into the area of your buttocks or upper arm, Depo-Provera starts to steadily release the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream;
  • This process affects the ovulation of a woman by means of preventing the egg from being released. Moreover, it thickens the cervical mucus and, therefore, makes it difficult for sperm to go through it;
  • As a result, a patient becomes protected from unplanned pregnancy.

On average, the duration of such protection lasts up to 13 weeks. However, it strongly depends on the individual conditions of each patient (for instance, their age or health condition).

Among the key benefits of Depo-Provera are:

  • Effective protection from unplanned pregnancy. The most important advantage of Depo-Provera is its ability to reliably protect a patient from getting pregnant;
  • No need to think of birth control on a daily basis. Unlike contraception pills that should be taken every day, Depo-Provera provides a patient with an absolute “freedom” from any contraception-related thoughts for a time period of 13 weeks;
  • Reduction of menstruation-related symptoms. Apart from being an efficient method of birth control, Depo-Provera ensures a substantial decrease in menstrual pain and blood flow. In some cases, it even temporarily stops menstruation.

An interesting fact: The effect of Depo-Provera is fully reversible. In other words, a patient will be able to get pregnant after stopping the product’s injections. However, there might appear a 10-month delay in ovulation after the effect of Depo-Provera is over.

The usage of Depo-Provera might lead to the appearance of several side effects, such as:

  • Decreased libido;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Increased nervousness;
  • Depression;
  • Headache;
  • Weakness;
  • Weight gain.

An interesting fact: Please note that the injection of Depo-Provera does not protect from sexually transmitted infections.

Depo Shot & Weight Gain

Now, how about delving into the discussion of the relation between a Depo shot and body weight gain? Namely, let us figure out how the product affects a patient’s body, who is more likely to gain weight after a Depo shot, and what could be done to compensate for the body fat mass increase.

How Does a Depo Shot Affect a Patient’s Body?

According to a number of clinical studies, it has been proven that Depo-Provera use might make women gain weight. Moreover, while some of them gain only a few pounds, others are forced to buy clothes of substantially larger sizes.

An interesting fact: The number of pounds gained after the usage of Depo-Provera has a direct relation to the number of shots a patient has undergone.

The reason why patients who use a Depo shot as a method of contraception gain weight remains unclear. Namely, there exists no confirmed data on whether the injection of the product stimulates an increase in appetite or the feeling of hunger.

Still, researchers looked at the potential reasons for weight gain after a Depo shot and figured out the two main ones:

  • One of the possible reasons for gaining weight after the administration of Depo-Provera might occur due to the reduction of estrogen levels. And, since estrogen is a hormone that regulates metabolism, its reduction might lead to substantial body fat and weight gain;
  • Another possible reason why patients might experience weight gain after a Depo shot is the production of steroids related to it. Namely, the body of a patient starts to produce cortisol in response to the administration of the product. While cortisol, in its turn, increases appetite, body fat, and weight gain.

An interesting fact: Not only a Depo shot but also stress might lead to the production of cortisol and, as a result, weight gain.

Who Is More Likely to Gain Weight After a Depo Shot?

Interestingly enough, lean women claim to experience more weight gained after a Depo shot. One of the reasons for it might be that thin people are usually more affected by hormonal shifts. However, this fact still remains unexplainable from a scientific viewpoint up to date.

Moreover, those women who gained weight immediately after the first injection of Depo-Provera tend to earn even more pounds with time. And vice versa, people who didn’t gain weight for the first six months after a Depo shot do not usually get bigger with time.

An interesting fact: It is recommended to attentively monitor the first signs of weight gain after the administration of a Depo shot (especially for the first six months after starting using this method of birth control) and try to compensate for them as early as possible.

How to Compensate for the Weight Gain After a Depo Shot?

In order to compensate for the weight gain after a Depo shot, medical professionals usually recommend a patient follow these simple recommendations:

  • Keep a balanced diet. Namely, eat the proper amount of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grain. Moreover, reduce the amount of consumed trans-fat;
  • Control your appetite. Try to only eat when you are actually hungry. Also, think of the quality of products you consume and the impact they might have on your health;
  • Do regular exercise. Walk, run a bicycle, and do any exercise that brings you pleasure. This way, you will both prevent weight gain and support your current health condition.

By means of adhering to the above-mentioned recommendations, a patient is likely to either prevent gaining extra pounds or even lose weight after a Depo shot.

An interesting fact: If a patient is afraid of the possibility of gaining weight after the administration of a Depo shot, they might try out other forms of contraception, such as the intake of a birth control pill or the insertion of an intrauterine device.

Final Words

All in all, Depo-Provera is an efficient method of birth control. When properly applied, it protects a woman from unplanned pregnancy with 99% of effectiveness without any risk to health.

At the same time, however, there exist certain risk factors of gaining weight after a Depo shot. Still, they might be efficiently managed with a healthy diet, appetite control, and regular exercise.

So, feel free to contact your health care practitioner and try out Depo-Provera. Protect yourself from unplanned pregnancy!

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