This week we’re looking at the contraceptive injection, which is a contraceptive used by woman to prevent them getting pregnant.
There are two types of contraceptive injection, one which lasts for 12 weeks (Depo-Provera) and one that lasts for 8 weeks (Noristerat). One is no more effective than the other; it just depends on how long you would like the contraceptive to last.
The injection should always be administered by a trained professional such as a doctor and contains progestogen which will be released into your body to prevent you becoming pregnant.
The progestogen thickens the cervix mucus which prevents the sperm reaching the egg. The lining of the womb also thins which stops the egg from planting itself in there. In some women the injection will actually stop ovulation, which is the release of an egg from your ovaries.
If administered correctly the contraceptive injection is more than 99 per cent effective.
The injection is particularly good for women who forget to take a pill every day and it also means that you won’t have to think about contraception every time you have sex.
This form of Contraception is also ideal for women who cannot have contraception containing oestrogen as it only contains progestogen.
The contraceptive injection won’t be effected by any other medication and the injection can sometimes provide protection against cancer of the womb and pelvic inflammatory disease.
This treatment isn’t recommended for women who are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future as once you’ve come off the injection it can take a year for your fertility to return to normal.
There are also some pretty nasty side effects which can include weight gain, headaches, irregular bleeding, mood swings and breast tenderness.
Unfortunately if you do suffer from side effects, you will have to endure them for the length of time your injection lasts for (12 or 8 weeks) as the injection cannot be removed from your body.
Your periods may become longer, heavier or stop all together. Having your periods stop altogether is not harmful but it’s something worth considering before you have the injection.
Using Depo-Provera, the 12 week and most popular injection, affects your natural oestrogen levels which can cause thinning of the bones. This isn’t usually an issue for most women as the bone will replace itself when you’ve stopped taking the injection and there is no evidence of it causing long term problems.
The times that this can be a problem is when you already have risk factors such as already having low oestrogen or a family history of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones).
It may also be considered a risk to have Depo-Provera if you are under the age of 19 as your body is still making bone at this age. If you are under 19 you can still keep Depo-Provera as an option but must undergo careful evaluation from your doctor before starting it.
Always consult your doctor if you’re thinking about Contraception as they will be able to advise you on the many types to choose from.
Remember to always us a condom even when on the contraceptive injection to stop the spread of STIs.
For more information about the contraceptive injection or any other form of contraception visit your GP or go to nhs.uk
Cara Mason @FemaleFirst_UK