Birth Control - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of Depo-Provera?

The most common complaint of women using  Depo-Provera is the irregular bleeding during the first year.

  • By the end of the first year, more than half of the women stop having their periods. Some women believe this is not healthy, as they feel the uterus needs to bleed to stay healthy and clean itself. This is not true, otherwise women who are in menopause, pregnant, or breastfeeding would have a lot of health problems!
  • There are some women who gain weight, some who lose, but most stay the same weight.
  • Some users complain of mood changes such as depression.

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How can I prevent my period from happening?

  • A lot of women find that it is inconvenient to have their periods at certain times (e.g., at a sporting competition or at a wedding/honeymoon, or during vacation.)
  • One of the benefits of using  birth control pills is they can be used to change when a period is expected.
  • By using multiple packages of pills and not allowing a hormone-free time, women can delay their period from one week to three months.
  • How this can be done also depends on the type of pill being used. It is important to let your doctor know if you are doing this on a regular basis, as it will affect how many packages of pills will be used in a year.
  • If a monophasic pill (all the hormone pills are one colour) is being used, you take all the hormone pills from the first package.
  • The "memory pills" should be thrown away, and a new package started right away.
  • As there is very little research done as to how this would affect a female long term, it is recommended it only be done for three packages at a time.
  • Doing this for two months is referred to as "bi-cycling", and doing it for three months as "tri-cycling".
  • If a triphasic pill (hormone pills are three different colours) is being used, the process is different.
  • The female would use the first package as usual, but as the hormones increase weekly, she must stay at the highest level to keep from ovulating.
  • Again, the memory pills are thrown away. In the next package, only the last row of hormone pills is to be used.
  • For each week the period is to be delayed, a new package will have to be opened and the last week of hormone pills is to be used.
  • This can get rather costly as the first two weeks of each package get wasted.

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