Common Side Effects of Depo Provera

December 26, 2018

Not having to remember to take a daily pill, combined with not having a period, are two of the Depo Provera shot’s most compelling features. Depo Provera is a safe and convenient injection that lasts three months and is administered by your OB/GYN.

There are side effects that may make it a less desirable option, depending on your body and it’s biochemistry. Here are some of the most common side effects experienced by women who use Depo Provera to prevent pregnancy or to regulate their menstrual cycle.

Irregular bleeding and spotting (or PMS) for the first few months

It can take at least one cycle (3+ months) for your body to adjust. So, during that time, many women find they spot or bleed irregularly, or that PMS symptoms come and go more erratically. Periods may last longer or shorter than normal. Between the first 6-months to a year on Depo Provera, most women find their periods cease altogether.

Headaches and nausea

Some women experience bouts of headaches and/or nausea while on the shot. These symptoms, particularly headaches, can creep up on you so that you can’t easily correlate them with Depo Provera. If you’re someone who’s prone to headaches, keep a calendar for the next few months and then compare it after you’re on the shot to see if it increases your headaches’ frequency.

Weight gain

Weight gain is a common side effect of virtually every type of hormonal birth control, but it can be a personal thing. Some women swear they gain more weight on the pill, others swear they gain more weight on the Depo Provera shot – you just never know until you try it.


Any change in your body’s hormone balance can cause mood swings – depression being one of them. Unfortunately, women who experience depression from Depo Provera tend to have more serious bouts so pay careful attention and contact your doctor immediately if this happens for you.

Lack of libido

This one is counterintuitive; you’re using the Depo Provera shot so you can have intercourse without worrying about pregnancy, but then the shot diminishes your sex drive anyway. Again, this is reported by a smaller percentage of the Depo Provera users out there – but it’s worth knowing ahead of time.

Additional, non-threatening side effects

Some of the other non-threatening side effects we should mention include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne
  • Having weak or dizzy spells
  • Feeling nervous or anxious

More serious side effects associated with Depo Provera shots

Although rare, some women have more severe side effects. These include:

Depo Provera

1871454 / Pixabay

Visit WebMD’s, Common and Rare Side Effects of Depo Provera, for a complete list of reported side effects.

For the most part, women using Depo Provera experience few to no notable side effects and enjoy the liberation that comes with not having to remember to take a pill at the same time each day. Interested in learning if it’s a good birth control option for you? Schedule a consultation with the all-women team here at Women’s Health Associates.