Did You Know These Side Effects of Birth Control Shot? 12th is Ironical


When you hear the word, “birth control”, a pill snaps into your mind which is followed by popular methods these days such as IUDs and others. But among these favoured methods of birth control, one method is often overlooked – the shot. There are some side effects of birth control shot as well.

What is the Birth Control Shot?

The birth control shot is an injection you get once every 3 months to avoid unplanned pregnancy. This shot works similarly to oral contraceptive pills. It prevents ovulation and increases the mucus build up around the opening of the cervix. Its made of a synthetic hormone – progestin. The doctor will give the shot on your arms or buttocks.

According to Planned Parenthood, the efficacy of shot is 99 per cent. That means, if you have your shot on time without being late, there’s a 1 in 100 chance you’ll become pregnant during a given year. As a ​progestin-only contraceptive, it may be a great choice if you are unable to use estrogen-based contraception. However, just like the pill has side effects, the shot also comes with certain adverse effects which are not intended.

Side Effects of Birth Control Shot –

1. Cessation of Periods

After a few shots, your periods will either be very light, or they might stop completely. Studies show that one-third of women who take birth control shots experience amenorrhea by month six. After a year, that number will increase to 55 per cent and continue to increase to 68 per cent by year two.

2. Irregular Menstrual Bleeding

During the first 3 months, most of the women experience spotting and prolonged bleeding as a side effect. The effect will ward off gradually but in some cases, it can continue to a year. If the symptoms are severe, termination of this treatment is the only option.

3. Bloating 

Along with irregular menstrual bleeding, hormone-related bloating and stomach cramps are also inadvertent effects. However, it usually subsides after 3 months as the body adjusts to new hormones. Exercising, avoiding gas-producing foods and adding bulk fiber to the diet may ease the symptoms.

4. Weight Gain 

This effect is not seen in all women but it is reported that around two-thirds of women gain weight of 5 pounds during the first year of using this method of contraception. This number increases to eight pounds by year two and continues to increase, year on year, by an additional four pounds.

5. Bone Density Loss

There is a black box warning about the possibility of progressive bone loss on the package of the shot. If it is used continuously for more than two years, the loss of calcium may significantly increase the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones. Doctors often recommend calcium and Vitamin D supplements to alleviate this condition.

6. Headaches

A potential side effect of pretty much every form of hormonal birth control, headache, is considerably a managed symptom. You should talk to your doctor if you experience prolonged and severe headaches after starting with this option. Taking an aspirin might mitigate the headache.

7. Nausea

The birth control shot delivers a high dose of synthetic hormones all at once. Hence, some may experience mild to moderate nausea after the shot is injected. Call your doctor right away if you experience dizziness or change in vision such as loss of sight or double vision.

8. Breast Tenderness

Both birth control methods – contraceptive pill and shot – have breast tenderness or soreness as a common side effect. It also causes your breasts to shrink and decrease in size.  But, with time the symptoms are lessened. Tell your doctor if someone in your family has a history of breast cancer before receiving an injection.

9. Acne

Acne occurs when sebaceous oil glands attached to the hair follicles are simulated due to hormonal changes. Taking the progestin-contained shot has a chance of developing acne on face. Although, a proper diet and abstinence of greasy and junk food can help to manage this condition.

10. Hair loss

If your ponytail is thinning while taking birth control shots, then you are certainly not alone. The manufacturer of shot reports that between one and five per cent of women who receive the injection experience hair loss or no hair growth. But the good news is when you discontinue using the shot, your hair will grow back again.

11. Fatigue 

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), the shot results in flu-like symptoms including weakness, fatigue and body aches. The severity of these symptoms is intense within the first few days or weeks following the schedule of receiving the injection. Make sure you allow yourself to get extra bed rest during the times when you feel fatigued.

12. Decreased Libido

Due to changes in hormonal levels caused by the shot, it can affect the sex drive. Physical intimacy and/or sexual interest seems to diminish, reports about 8 per cent of women who were taking this shot regularly. Although opting shot may be responsible for saying no to your partner in bed, it is not alone. Libido is influenced by our physiology, including our hormonal levels, and also our psychological, mental and emotional states.

13. Reactions of Injections

The least dangerous and most common side effect of the shot is the reaction of injection. Some women will report mild pain associated with the injection, while some will experience skin reactions around the area where the shot was delivered. Both of them will be cured in a day or two on their own.

14. Delayed Return of Fertility

The birth control shot has a long term contraceptive effect and it takes almost a year to start ovulating normally again and regain fertility. According to research by the manufacturer of shot, it took 68 per cent of women 12 months to get pregnant after stopping it. By 15 months, the overall figure increased to 83 per cent.

Consult your doctor immediately if you have serious side effects of birth control shot including:

  • mental/mood changes (such as new or worsening depression),
  • swelling of the ankles or feet,
  • unusual changes in vaginal bleeding (such as continuous spotting, sudden heavy bleeding),
  • persistent nausea or vomiting,
  • severe stomach/abdominal/pelvic pain,
  • unusual weakness or tiredness,
  • dark urine,
  • yellowing eyes or skin, or
  • seizures.


Also Recommended

Side Effects of Oral Contraceptives 

Safe and Natural Birth Control Methods

5 Important Side Effects of Birth Control Methods You Should Know

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