Depo Provera is somewhat popular in the trans community. It’s most likely to stop periods, which is a life-saver for trans folk who are highly dysphoric during that time. It’s covered by most insurance and is far easier to get than T, as well, so it’s helpful for those who either don’t want T or who can’t get on it yet. (also, although this is aimed at the trans community, it’s certainly useful information for cis women considering depo as well)
There’s a not unheard of side effect, though, that I not a lot of people talk about. Namely: prolonged periods, sometimes lasting months.
The first time I took depo was in 2010. Fortunately, it did stop my period. I took it again about 8 months post-partum and the results were not the same. For the first few months, I had a regular period. Then it didn’t stop. It didn’t stop for a solid two months. Since it turned out that it was costing me $50/dose after insurance, it definitely wasn’t worth it. My hormones were horrible, my mood took a nose dive, I ended up taking the risk on herbs that are meant to reduce PMS/PMDD symptoms, which you aren’t supposed to take while on hormones, which did help. After missing the shot, it stopped for 2 weeks and then was back on for 10 days.
I’ve looked it up and other people have had the same experience of months of straight bleeding, often that doesn’t stop until they go off depo. Apparently planned parenthood will warn you about this potential side effect, but I had never been told about it.
I find this to be especially irresponsible because I was specifically going on it not as birth control but to stop/reduce my period due to the horrific PMS I was getting. If that had happened to me when I first took it, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I may have killed myself. If I’d known it was a not unheard of risk, I’m not sure if I would have taken it.
I can’t find any statistics on how common this is. Some people claim that it’ll probably stop after 6 months, but I’ve heard of people experiencing 9 months of straight bleeding that only stopped when they got off of it. I wasn’t willing to find out, two months is too much as it is.
I’m not saying to never ever go on depo, but do be aware that there is this risk. I wish I could tell you how much of a risk it is- a lot more people are willing to take a 1% risk than a 50%- but I don’t know. If you absolutely couldn’t handle it, you may want to try other options. Possibly warn your support system about it and to make sure that they watch out for you, especially if you have severe emotional effects around/during your menstrual cycle.
Has anyone else had similar problems with this or other birth control?
(note: I’m still taking a break from blogging after what happened last week, but I felt this was too important not to publish)