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The birth control shot, also called Depo-Provera, is a popular contraception option, but as with all kinds of birth control, it isn’t the right choice for everyone. Only you and your gynecologist can determine if the birth control shot is safe for you. Here are the facts you need to know.

Patient receiving a birth control shot

What is the birth control shot?

Depo-Provera prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation and thickening the mucus in your cervix to prevent sperm from entering your Fallopian tubes, where fertilization occurs. It contains the hormone progestin and is taken via injection every three months. When used correctly, about three in 100 women will get pregnant when using the birth control shot.

What are the side effects?

The birth control shot can cause abdominal pain, acne, depression, breast soreness, low libido, and weight gain. Some people experience breakthrough bleeding that may clear up after prolonged use. Nervousness, weakness, and fatigue are also possible. Not everyone who gets the birth control shot will experience side effects. It’s important to discuss your side effects with your gynecologist. If they are troublesome to you, he or she may recommend that you switch to a new kind of birth control.

Is it safe?

The birth control shot is safe for most women, but your gynecologist will discuss your medical history with you before deciding if it is right for you. You shouldn’t take the shot if you have a history of breast cancer. One potential complication of the birth control shot is osteoporosis, so if you have osteoporosis, have a medical condition that increases your risk, or take other medications that cause bone thinning, you may need another form of birth control.

To explore birth control methods that could work for you, make an appointment with a gynecologist in Washington, D.C. at Washington Surgi-Clinic. Our providers also perform STD testing and treatment and pregnancy termination services. Schedule your visit today by calling (202) 659-9403.