What is a contraceptive injection?

Contraceptive injections are commonly known as Depo Provera or Noristerat

Noristerat (Also known as Norigest or Nur-Isterate) is a less popular choice and is an oily injection of a norethisterone ester given every 8 weeks. For the purpose of space, this page only contains information on Depo Provera. However, if you are a user of Noristerat and need advice, please ask on the Discussion Forum

Depo Provera is an injection containing the hormone progestogen which utilizes medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) usually given in doses of 150 mcg, - usually in your butt - once every 12 weeks.


How does it work?

Depo Provera works by releasing the hormone slowly into your body and blocks ovulation.


What are the advantages?

  • There are no pills to forget, you only have to think about contraception 4 times per year.
  • It is believed to protect against cancer of the womb
  • Periods are usually lighter, some women stop having periods altogether


What are the disadvantages and common side-effects?

  • Periods are commonly affected by contraceptive injections. It is common for them to become irregular or stop altogether. Some users have reported excessive periods.
  • Weight gain of up to 30 pounds have been reported although most users report only a slight weight gain.
  • Once you receive the first injection it cannot be removed from your body therefore any side-effects you may suffer will last the duration of the dose (Usually 8 - 12 weeks)
  • Many report a longer time to return to normal fertility after ceasing contraceptive injections.
  • You must remember to go back for your injections on time
  • Because it requires an injection, some women suffer a phobia of needles.


How reliable is it?

Contraceptive injections are over 99% effective. Many professionals recommend you use additional forms of contraception in the first two weeks following your first injection.


Where can you get contraceptive injections?

Only a qualified Doctor or Nurse can give you contraceptive injections. They are usually given by your own doctor, gynecologist, family planning clinics (UK), Planned Parenthood (US) or any doctor trained in contraception.





Q. I'm terrified of injections but I'd like to try DP. Any suggestions?
A. I am too, however I found I needed injections for this and blood tests for that so it's something you have to face some time in your life. It would depend on how bad your fear is. Some people have an extreme phobia about needles and I respect this. If you feel your phobia is so bad, talk to your doctor about this who may be able to help or refer you to a psychologist or hypnotist. However if you just don't like the sight of needles, I always ask the nurse or doctor when I enter the room not to show me the needle and most won't.


Q. Can Depo Provera make you infertile?
A. No, but there is a delay in returning to normal fertility (Around 6 months to a year) so planning a pregnancy a year in advance is advised.


Q. But, I've only had 2 injections. Will I be able to get pregnant sooner?
A. It makes no difference whether you've had one injection or twenty, the answer is still the same (6-12 months)


Q. I am already overweight and I'm considering Depo Provera. I don't want to put on more weight, is this method suitable?
A. Depo Provera can cause weight gain in the initial months. It appears that women who are already overweight have less weight gain but expect to put on a couple of pounds at least when using this method.


Q. Please can you give me some advice, I have been using Nur-Isterate injection, about 3weeks ago I started bleeding, the bleeding seems to skip a day then start again the next day, it is now time to get my second injection but I am worried that I will be bleeding for the next 8 weeks. By taking the injection will it stop the bleeding? Will I have to endure 3weeks of bleeding every time I take the injection or will it my body adjust to it?
A. The injection you have been using contains Norethisterone enanthate 200 mg/mL every 8 weeks. One of the side effects of this type of contraceptive that is not that uncommon is intermenstrual bleeding as your experiencing. I am afraid that it's unlikely a future injection will solve this unpleasant side effect. I would recommend you talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about switching to an alternative contraceptive method.(JW)


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