Depo-Provera (Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate, DMPA) is a type of modern long-term hormonal (high level of progesterone) contraception. DMPA can provide contraceptive effect during 3 months – contraceptive injections should be done every 3 months. Depo-Provera shot delivers high dose of hormone progestin (synthetic version of progesterone, naturally occurring female sex hormone). During this type of contraception women experience fewer menstrual periods per year with reduced chances of anemia. Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate changes rhythmic monthly hormonal fluctuations, prevents ovulation (stops egg liberation from ovary), thickens cervical mucus and changes endometrium (uterine internal lining), making it harder for embryo implantation and development. This type of contraception can be very effective up to 97-99% (if regularly and correctly used).
Depo Provera can be beneficial for women as it provides decreased risk of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease. At the same time, DMPA reduce menstrual cramping and pain.
Depo-Provera side effects
Menstrual dysfunctions can be considered as common side effect after Depo Provera injections. Women could experience irregular menstrual periods, oligomenorrhea (rare periods) or unusual irregular heavy or light bleeding. Some women could experience amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) during whole period of Depo Provera use. After first year of using Depo Provera shot, up to 50% of women report absence of menstrual periods.Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect of Depo-Provera. Menstrual disturbances are more common after first injections and could disappear after few shots. About 70-75% of DMPA users experience episodes of unexpected bleeding or menstrual dysfunctions during the first year of use.
Menstrual abnormalities during Depo Provera occur because of injected high dose of hormone progestine medroxyprogesterone acetate which disturbs normal monthly rhythmic hormonal fluctuations. Increased levels of progesterone in blood stream thiken endometrium (internal lining of uterus) and cause different types of menstrual abnormalities.
Depo Provera hormones can cause constant (on-going) or sporadic (periodic, time-limited) flow of black vaginal discharge or brown discharge. This colored vaginal spotting is very common and could go away after about 6 months of use or could stay for long period of time.
DMPA high doses of female hormone progesterone are responsible for black or brown vaginal discharge. Increased progesterone concentrations fully change women normal monthly hormonal rhythms, ovaries stop producing dominant follicle and don’t release eggs which is causing internal uterine lining and cervical mucus to thicken. Mentioned thickened tissues could be responsible for unpleasant annoying on-going black or brown vaginal discharge. According to health experts, after first year of use, many women stop having regular monthly periods but still continue suffering from irregular black or brown vaginal discharge.
According to surveys, about 70% of women using Depo-Provera gain weight. During first year of DMPA use 50% women gain about 2-3 kg and another 50% gain about 4-5 kg. Increased weight, overweight and obesity could contribute to already changed hormonal status and could increase chances of on-going black or brown vaginal discharge.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.