Michaela Deane examines the potential benefits and disadvantages for those who are considering the injection as a form of birth control.
The injection (also called the “depo shot” after its brand name Depo Provera) is a contraceptive commonly used by young women, due to the fact that it’s seen as a low maintenance and long-term type of contraception.
The injection is given to you by your Doctor once every 12 weeks, and works by releasing the hormone progestogen into the body very slowly over the 12 weeks, which prevents ovulation.
According to the Irish website thinkcontraception.ie, the injection is over 99% effective once it’s given regularly. This makes it one of the most reliable forms of contraception for women. If you are given the injection within the first seven days after the start of your period, you are protected from pregnancy straight away. Otherwise, a backup form of contraception such as a condom should be used for the first week after getting the injection.
Most women can use the injection as a form of contraception, however it is not recommended for people who have liver disease, breast cancer or blood clots. However, because it does not contain the hormone oestrogen, this means that it can be used by women who smoke or have high blood pressure.
When considering using the injection as your choice of contraception, it’s important to think about both the advantages and the disadvantages. The main reason that women choose the injection is because it’s convenient; there’s no hassle of remembering to take a pill every day. It’s not something that you can forget to take, so as long as you have a doctor’s appointment booked when your 12 weeks are finished you’re pretty safe.
Also, there’s no pause in the middle of sex because the injection has been given beforehand, so there’s no interruptions. It can help to prevent cancer of the womb and is also a very private form of contraception; there are no wrappers or evidence that some people may find embarrassing.
One thing that can put many people off the injection is that it can cause irregular bleeding. Although this stops after a while, it can persist for a number of months and put women off having sex altogether.
Something that is also seen as a disadvantage for some people is the price. If you don’t have a medical card it can be expensive and this can be a huge inconvenience, especially to college students.
As well as irregular bleeding, the injection has a long list of possible side effects such as weight gain, change in sex drive, depression and nausea, which cannot be immediately reversed if experienced in the first few weeks after getting the injection.
The injection does not prevent against STD’s, so it should always be used with a condom unless you know about your partner’s sexual history. No method of contraception is 100% effective and it’s important to remember this when you’re planning on having sex.
I am not a doctor or trained medical professional, so for any worries or clarification don’t be afraid to make an appointment in your local doctor’s office.
For more information visit www.thinkcontraception.ie