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Gynecology Services


Progesterone-only Birth Control

Depo Provera

Depo provera (Depo) is an injectable form of birth control that is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Depo works to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation in some women. The drug also thickens mucus in the genital tract obstructing the forward movement of sperm and reduces the ability of the uterine lining to be receptive to pregnancy.

The first dose of Depo must be injected during the first five days of the menstrual cycle.

Subsequent doses of Depo will be administered every 12 weeks or 84 days. Doses of Depo can be given earlier than 12 weeks, but no later than 13 weeks or 91 days without a lapse in birth control.

If a subsequent Depo dose is not obtained by 91 days, then it will not be administered unless you are on your menses or have abstained from intercourse for two weeks and have a negative pregnancy test. If you are late for your injection then your new injection will not be effective birth control for up to two weeks. Remember: emergency birth control is available over-the-counter at your pharmacy and is safe and effective.

Recommended injection site is the buttocks. Although the site will be sore , resist massaging it. This will disperse the medication too fast.

Common side effects of Depo include: irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, bloating , weight gain (5 pounds the first year , 0 - 3pounds every year after), acne, headache, worsening depressive symptoms.

If irregular bleeding bothers you , you may obtain a Depo injection sooner than 12 weeks . Ask your doctor about this option.

After the fourth injection, most women do not menstruate anymore. This is not permanent but after discontinuing Depo regular menstruation may not resume for 3 - 12 months.

Depo effectively prevents pregnancy two weeks after the first injection. Birth control is continuous provided you obtain subsequent injections of Depo when your are due.

Depo does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

Because Depo decreases your estrogen levels, the drug can also reduce your bone strength. We recommend that you take a daily vitamin and calcium supplement. Your calcium goal is 1200 mg. daily. A glass of milk has 300 mg. Try two Tums Ultra daily. That will meet your needs.

If you are over 40 Depo may lead to irreversible bone loss. Ask your health care provider about other options for birth control that have no impact on your bone health.


Click here for more information. (Implanon)

Oral Progesterone

Progestin only birth control pills (POPs), also called the "mini pill", contains only half of the ingredients found in a regular birth control pill.

Regular birth control pills contain both estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen-containing pills can increase the risk of clotting in women with high blood pressure, diabetes, migraine, clotting disorders and smokers. These women are encouraged to use products without estrogen.

Estrogen can also decrease the production of milk in breastfeeding women. Women who want to continue to breast feed should avoid products containing estrogen.

A regular birth control pill is 93-99% effective in the first year of use and 97-99% in subsequent years of use.

A progestin only birth control pill is as effective: 97-99%

With all birth control pills, effective pregnancy prevention relies upon the regular, daily use of the product.

The brand name mini pill is called Micronor or Nor QD. Many generics are available.

When you open the pack, you will immediately notice that every pill is the same color. This is because every pill has medicine in it. There is no break for your period.

Therefore, the most common complaint of women using the progestin only pill is irregular periods; bleeding is not heavy, but possibly unpredictable. Most women experience lighter periods over months of use and do develop some type of pattern to their periods.

Some women will experience no period after many months of taking progestin only birth control pills. This is not harmful. Periods will return when the pill is discontinued.