Do You Need A Prescription For The Birth Control Shot And Pill
Yes, you need a prescription for any form of hormonal birth control. The only exception is emergency contraception, often called the morning-after pill, which is available without a prescription at most pharmacies.
Besides visiting a clinician in person, you can use online birth control services to receive a birth control pill prescription and regular deliveries.
If You’re Under 16 Years Old
Contraception services are free and confidential, including for people under the age of 16.
If you’re under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacist won’t tell your parents as long as they believe you fully understand the information you’re given, and the decisions you’re making.
Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under 16. They’ll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they will not make you.
The only time a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you’re at risk of harm, such as abuse.
The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.
Page last reviewed: 7 February 2018 Next review due: 7 February 2021
What Is The Depo
Depo-Provera is a birth control method that you can get as a shot. You might hear people call it a contraceptive injection or birth control shot. Itâs a manmade hormone, medroxyprogesterone, which is similar to the natural hormone progesterone.
You get the shot in your arm or buttock. If you get your shot at the doctorâs office, your clinician will inject Depo-Provera deep into your muscle or under your skin. You have to get it every 12 weeks to get full protection.
After your first injection, doctors recommend that you use a back-up birth control method for 7 days.
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How Can The Birth Control Shot Impact Fertility
Depo-Provera may not be right for you if you’re looking to get pregnant soon after stopping birth control because there can be a delay in resuming ovulation. OB-GYN and Modern Fertility medical advisor Dr. Eva Luo, MD, MBA tells patients as a rule of thumb to expect that the birth control shot will likely interrupt periods for longer than other contraceptive methods.
Dr. Luo cites a study in which 50% of women who discontinued Depo-Provera conceived within 10 months. For a small percentage of women, however, pregnancy did not occur until 18 months after stopping the injections. The study also indicates that the delay in fertility has nothing to do with how long you’ve been on Depo-Provera, but is instead about body weight. Luo summarizes: “The heavier you are, the longer it can take.”
Are There Side Effects From Depo
There are possible side effects from Depo-Provera® injections. They can be different for each person. They include:
- Irregular menstrual periods longer or shorter menstrual periods, heavier or lighter periods
- Loss of menstrual periods
- Weight gain . You can help maintain your weight by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Teens who are already overweight are more likely to gain weight while taking Depo-Provera®.
- Mood changes, worsening depressive symptoms
- Abdominal pain/discomfort
If you get any of these side effects, talk with your health care provider. Its important for you to know that most people will have very irregular periods, especially during the first 6 months you are on Depo-Provera®.
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How Quickly Can You Become Pregnant After Stopping The Birth Control Shot Or Pills
As the pill is required to be taken on a daily basis, its possible to become pregnant immediately after stopping it. This is still the case if your periods irregular.
Due to the higher level of hormones administered, it can take an average of 10 months for people to become pregnant after stopping the shot. This may be longer for some.
How Can I Get The Birth Control Shot
You can visit a clinic to get the shot or a prescription for it and talk with a healthcare provider about whether it is right for you. You will then need to visit a clinic every 11-14 weeks to get your shots.
- Lighter or no periods over time most people stop bleeding completely
- Improved menstrual symptoms for some users
- You only need to remember to get the shot every 3 months
- You have complete control over the method and no one can interfere with its effectiveness
- May possibly treat and decrease pain associated with endometriosis
- Reduced risk of uterine cancer and ovarian cancer
- A good choice for people who cannot use estrogen
- Unpredictable bleeding is common especially during the first year of use, including spotting, prolonged bleeding or no bleeding. This often improves over time.
- You need to plan ahead to return every 11-14 weeks for injections
- Side effects may include weight gain, headaches, breast tenderness and mood changes
- Side effects from the shot may continue for 6 or more months after you have stopped using it
- When you stop using the shot, there may be a delay in return to fertility , but some people get pregnant right away
- No protection against sexually transmitted infections
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The Shot Can Make You Get Your Period Less Often While You Use It
Lots of people like the shot because it makes their periods get lighter. Half of people who use the shot stop getting their periods. That usually happens after about a year of using the shot. Not getting your period is totally safe, so theres nothing to worry about. However, for the first 12 months, many people say they bleed more days than usual and have spotting between periods. Your period should go back to normal a few months after you stop using the shot.
How Effective Is Depo
Depo-Provera® is 96% effective in preventing pregnancy, which means that about four unplanned pregnancies will occur out of every 100 women every year. Women at greatest risk of accidental pregnancy while taking the birth control shot include younger women, such as adolescents . This is typically related to human error, such as not getting your shot on time or missing a shot. IUDs and implants placed in the upper arm are considered to be the most effective forms of contraception.
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How Can I Prepare For My First Shot
Before you get the shot, youll want to:
- get your regular pelvic exam, if needed
Depending on when you get your first shot, you may want to plan on a backup method of birth control for the first week.
But you wont need to use a backup method after any following shots you get, unless more than 15 weeks pass between them.
How Does A Depo Shot Work
As mentioned earlier, Depo-Provera is a synthesized form of progesterone. When the body senses the presence of progesterone, it will stop producing the hormone naturally, thereby inhibiting the release of the egg.
The contraceptive injection works in more than one way:
- Prevents the release of eggs from ovaries.
- Thickens the cervical mucus, which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg.
- Restricts implantation by bringing a change in the uterine lining.
The shot, once taken, is effective for 12 weeks or three months.
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How Effective Is The Depo Shot Birth Control
The Depo shot contains the female hormone progestin which prevents pregnancy by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary . If a woman doesnt ovulate theres no egg to meet the sperm and no pregnancy can occur.
The Depo shot also causes cervical mucus to thicken, which helps prevent sperm from getting through. If the sperm cant get through, it cant reach an egg, and pregnancy cannot happen.
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Are There Different Kinds Of Birth Control Shots
Yes but they’re not all available in the U.S. Only Depo-Provera and Depo-Provera Subcutaneous – 104 are the only shots approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration .
Outside of the U.S., there are two other main types of injectable birth control: Noristerat and combined injectable contraceptives . Noristerat is a type of progestin-only birth control shot, like Depo-Provera. CICs, meanwhile, contain progestin and synthetic estrogen to prevent pregnancy. One form, Lunelle, was temporarily available in the U.S., but was voluntarily recalled in 2002 due to concerns about efficacy.
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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Depo
The Pros of Depo-Provera include:
- Highly effective when used correctly
- You do not have to remember to take a pill each day
- Does not inhibit sexual spontaneity
- Lighter periods and possibly no period after a year
- Prevents uterine fibroids and has a possible protective effect against endometrial and ovarian cancers
- Does not contain estrogen which may increase the risk of heart problems
The Cons of Depo-Provera include:
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases
- May experience a longer delay in fertility after ceasing the injections
- Requires a prescription and office visits
- Irregular bleeding which may include prolonged or heavier menstrual flow
- Injections may be painful
How Much Does Depo
There are two fees associated with the use of birth control injections:
- the doctors visit
- the quarterly injections
Office visits to obtain your prescription and the birth control injections range from $50 to $200 follow up visits for additional injections are usually between $20 to $40. The cost for your quarterly injection ranges between $30 and $75.
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Getting Pregnant On Depo
There is always a very small chance of getting pregnant on Depo-Provera. This possibility is lowest if you get the shot on time.. When used perfectly, Depo-Provera is about 99% effective. Statistically, there are times when people don’t get their shots on time, so the overall effectiveness of Depo-Provera is 96%.
How Effective Is The Birth Control Shot
When used perfectly, the birth control shot effectiveness is more than 99%, meaning less than 1 out of every 100 people who use it will get pregnant each year. But when it comes to real life, the shot is about 96% effective, because sometimes people forget to get their shots on time. So, in reality, about 4 out of every 100 shot users will get pregnant each year.
The better you are about getting your shot on time, the better it will work. But theres a very small chance that you could still get pregnant, even if you always get the shot on time.
If effectiveness is the most important thing to you when picking what birth control to use, you might want to check out IUDs and the implant. Theyre the most effective kinds of birth control. But if you decide the shot is right for you, make sure you always get your follow-up shots on time.
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Who Can Use The Injection
Most women can have a contraceptive injection.
But it may not be suitable if you:
- think you might be pregnant
- do not want your periods to change
- want to have a baby in the next year
- have unexplained bleeding in between periods or after sex
- have arterial disease or a history of heart disease or stroke
- have breast cancer or have had it in the past
- are at risk of osteoporosis
How Do You Use Depo
Depo-Provera is a prescription and the injection is obtained from your healthcare provider every 11 to 13 weeks. The healthcare provider will inject the synthetic hormone in the upper arm or in the buttocks. The initial injection is given within the first five days of your menstrual bleeding. Follow up injections are repeated every 11 to 13 weeks.
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Should I Be Worried If I Stop Getting My Menstrual Period While I Am On Depo
No. Many people stop having their menstrual periods after about 6-12 months of getting Depo-Provera® injections. This is no reason to worry. Its not a medical problem and it does not mean you are pregnant. It just means that your ovaries are resting, and the lining of your uterus does not grow, so there is no menstrual bleeding. You will get your menstrual period back within 6-18 months after you stop taking the Depo-Provera® injections.
Depo Provera Side Effects
- Irregular bleeding is common. Most people will have irregular menstrual bleeding after they get the injection. Some users have spotting on and off, some bleed more frequently, and some may not bleed at all . Bleeding frequency and amount reduces over time. Remember irregular bleeding is NORMAL for this medication. 55% percent of users will have no periods after one year of use 70-80% will have no periods after two years of use. Irregular bleeding is common for 6-8 months after stopping this method.
- Reduced Bone Density while using Depo-Provera but this is largely reversible even after using the method for > 4 years. The loss in bone density is similar to the effect and reversal seen when breastfeeding.
- Delayed return to fertility. The average return to fertility is 10 months after last injection. Users who are planning to become pregnant within one to two years should consider other methods of birth control if possible.
Other possible side effects
- Weight gain is possible:average is 5 lbs in first year.
- Other side effects can include headaches, nervousness, breast tenderness, depression, and acne.
- Rarely, an allergic reaction may occur.
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Your First Year Of Depo
Depo-Provera is a reversible prescription birth control method. Each Depo-Provera shot slowly releases a synthetic form of progestin, medroxyprogesterone acetate, that can protect you against pregnancy for 11 to 14 weeks.
Depo-Provera prevents pregnancy in three ways:
- It prevents ovulation, so there is no egg available for sperm to fertilize.
- It thickens your cervical mucusthis makes it harder for sperm to swim.
- The progestin in Depo-Provera can also thin out or prevent the uterine tissue that builds each month. This makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant into the uterine wall since there is not enough lining there to receive it.
Depo-Provera shots can also help treat the pain associated with endometriosis.
To have pregnancy protection for a full year, it is important to schedule your Depo-Provera or Depo-subQ Provera 104 shots approximately every 12 weeks. Over the course of one year, you should receive four depo shots.
When To Call The Doctor
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:
- Intense abdominal pain
- Problem with eyesight or speech
- Severe pain in the chest, back or jaw
The doctor might recommend an alternative to depo shot if she thinks that the injection isnât suiting you. You may discuss the matter in detail with the doctor.
How Much Does The Birth Control Shot Cost
Without insurance, the birth control shot usually costs around $60 each, making it $240 a year . If you don’t have insurance, Planned Parenthood offers programs to make the shot affordable. With insurance, however, the shot may be low cost or even free. Check with your insurance provider to find out what they cover. When planning financially for your shot, remember to also factor in the cost of doctor’s visits.
Test Positive On An Ovulation Predictor Test
These are ovulation test kits you can buy in any pharmacy or online. They work a lot like a pregnancy test, in that you use your urine to test your hormones. While pregnancy tests look for hCG, an ovulation predictor test looks for the hormone luteinizing hormone . LH spikes just before you ovulate.
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How Effective Are Depo
If Depo-Provera® injections are given at the same exact time every 3 months, this method is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that if 100 people get Depo-Provera® injections at the right time, less than 1 person will become pregnant in a year.
Its important to mention that life doesnt always go as planned and we cant always control that. It is OK if you are several days to a week late for your injection. So if youre late on your injection it will only be 94% effective in the prevention of pregnancy. This means that if 100 people receive a Depo-Provera® injection late, then 6 of them will become pregnant each year. The longer you wait to get your next Depo shot, the less effective it becomes. In the meantime, use a barrier method such as an internal or external condom, until you are able to get your next shot. Depo-Provera® injections do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. So you need to use a condom to lower the chance of getting STIs.
Whats The Short Answer
Although birth control can be an effective way to prevent unintended pregnancy, no method is 100 percent successful. Each type has pros and cons, including how effective it is.
Hormonal intrauterine devices and hormonal implants are the most effective forms of reversible birth control. Once inserted, the hormonal implant and hormonal IUD are more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
Other forms of birth control can be equally effective if used perfectly which means correctly, consistently, and on time, every time.
Human nature, on the other hand, often means that this wont always happen. For instance, a condom may be forgotten, a birth control pack started late, and a birth control shot skipped. So-called typical use ultimately makes the actual success rate of each method much lower.
Read on to learn more about each type of birth control, including the effectiveness and what you can do to make it more efficient.
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