14 answers

Dealing with Depo Provera Caused Problems and a Miscarriage

This request has a lot of history to it. After my daughter was born, there were several severe complications that were life-threatening and left me hospitalized for nearly a week. I had to go through a D&C and was told that under no circumstances was I to become pregnant again for a minimum of a year. It was suggested that I start the Depo-Provera shots and I was too tired, stressed, depressed, and lost to really ask questions, which was a big mistake, I know.

I didn't bleed while on the shot, but had several other severe reactions to it and quit taking it after three shots. I knew that there was a recovery time after getting off any type of hormone based birth control before normal periods should resume. After nearly two years off the shot, I still wasn't having a normal period and I went back to my doctor. I was told that it sounded like the shot hadn't completely left my system and I was put on a low-dose birth control pill for three months to try and restart my normal cycle. That was in September of last year.

I got pregnant in early December, after I had stopped taking the pill and miscarried in January of this year. I wasn't far enough along in the pregnancy need to another D&C and was able to take care of it at home. Its now early in March and I still haven't had a normal period and I was wondering if anyone else has had problems with this.

I'm going to be seeing my doctor here soon, but I am looking for advice on questions to ask, or advice from someone who has been through something like this.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First of all, thanks to all those who responded and for all the great suggestions. I had no idea that this was a problem for so many others too.

On a hunch, I took another home pregnancy test last week and it was positive. My doctors visit is next week and I plan on asking A LOT of questions.

Update #2:
Wow, this is even more shocking than I previously thought. I am definitely pregnant still, which is really kind of hard to accept. The doctor isn't entirely sure if I was carrying multiples and miscarried one, or whether I just had some first trimester bleeding.

After the exam, he determined that I am 18 weeks along and he found the baby's heartbeat in less than two minutes. It was a good, strong and steady beat, which is very encouraging. I am due for an ultra-sound in two weeks to determine the correct due date, age of the baby, and gender.

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I went on Depo after my first was born, and was on it for 2 years without any problems. Then I had a miscarriage. I didn't know why. When I got pregnant again, everything went fine until about 35 weeks, and my doctor said I was too small. So I went in for an ultrasound to see what the problem was. My baby was born the day after the ultrasound and she was healthy, so we didn't worry about why she was early. Then with my 3rd baby, we did an other emergency ultrasound at 33 weeks, and my embryonic fluid was dangerously low, so we had an emergency induction that same day. Luckily I had received a hormone shot the week before to help develop the baby's lungs. She only had to stay in the NICU for a week. After looking back, I think it's all related to the Depo. I don't dare have another baby because of the risks of being even earlier. My youngest is now 3, and she's behind in her speech and gross motor skills. Anyway, that's my story.
H. B, Utah

More Answers

Hello C., Sorry to hear all you've gone through its never fun but i know how you feel! I was actually on Depo shot when I was 13-15yrs old & now im 24 The shot actually caused me to not have any periods on it & took a yr or so to get out of system also at 17 found out i had Cervical Cancer which it could have caused & was told id never have kids which is my life wish but the point is, is its caused my body to be messed up for life! I have now had 4 miscarrages&messed up periods plus I evan take Urine preg.test that come up pas. when not preg &neg. when I am preg.! but at 21yrs old went full term & have a beutiful daughter who I am so glad to have. I Beleive the shot is so powerful it messes up Women confusing the bodys & should not be used ever agian just like the patches I tryed at 20yrs old & actually really liked the patches but now u cant get them due to they cause Blood clots! But I Recomend when u go to the dr to make sure he/she does a real good exam (papsmear)evan maybe an ultrasound they do tell allot when not pregnant but I hope u dont have some mager wrong like blocked overys, cycts whatever but the dr really needs to know whats going on and that The shot has been proven to mess women up , I now have Endometriosis which it caused too and am having troubles getting pregnant now have tried fertilty drugs and all but it took several yrs for drs to do the tests to know, yes you may have a child but that dont mean nothing! anyways Good LUCK and please feel free to email me if you have any questions at all at ____@____.com Agian Good Luck and I hope its nothing bad thats wrong and just somthing simple maybe ask for uhm sorry forgot what its called its a pill u take for about 5days &it will start your period, dont get bck on a birth control it may mess u up any more! BYe, H.

Hi C.
I'm so sorry to hear about everything you have been through. I haven not been on the shot, I've always stuck to the pill. I have had three friends who were on Depo and here is what I know. One of them was on it for a few years and got pregnant after being off of it for a while (can't remember how long, sorry). One isn't married and hasn't tried to have kids but she was having problems on it so her doc took her off of it years ago. My other friend started taking it after her daughter was born. She took it for about 2 years and has been trying to get pregnant ever since (her daughter will be 9 in August). She has always had irregular periods which honestly I think is part of the problem she is not getting pregnant. However, her doc has put her on Chlomid (I think) and some minor fertility drugs. I could be wrong here but I think the Chlomid is supposed to help you start your period (if it isn't then there is one that does just that and she has taken it several times). I can't remember the names of the other meds she has taken. To sum it up a med to start your period and then some meds that are fertility, it is supposed to make you ovulate. She is re-starting all this again because she has been getting her period more regularly now and this time the doc wants her to buy the ovulating tests and test to see if she is ovulating or not. I wish you both luck. Good luck and all I hope everything works out.

My experience w/Depo was that after 2 kids, I started taking it. I only stuck with it through 3 shots. I didn't like the way I felt, so I gave up. I'd heard that it took a while to get out of your system, so we weren't too careful about birth control and I was pregnant the first month of not getting the shot! That pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 12 weeks. After that, I wasn't able to get pregnant for a year and a half, though I was having irregular periods. I saw my OB and all looked fine, so I started using an ovulation predictor kit. I found that I was ovulating at a different time than what I thought my body signs were telling me, apparently I didn't understand it all=) But I got pregnant w/in a couple months. That pregnancy had complications, but ended with an eventually fully healthy baby. I'd suggest going to an OB/GYN instead of family practitioner if you have the option, hopefully they are figuring out that a lot of women seem to be having similar issues. My son is now 18 months old and I still have irregular periods and bad cramping between periods. It would be difficult for them to say whether the Depo causes all of these things, but if there are similar trends w/in women, it's something to consider.

Hi C., so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. We had a stillborn baby at 20 weeks, and then a miscarriage at 9 weeks, before our two healthy babies. (None related to hormones.) It's so hard, but it does get better.

We have always done Creighton Model Natural Family Planning. (A couple of other people mentioned Na-Pro and mucous method, same thing.) I love it! It really teaches you to be in touch with your own body, and work with it the way is was meant to work - not take a body that is working fine and mess it up! Make sure your doctor is willing to work to find the problem, not just put a band-aid over something when he doesn't even know what the problem is. Our bodies and hormones are designed a certain way, why do we insist in messing with them? Some people do have problems with hormone levels, but then shouldn't a doctor figure out what that problem is, and then address that problem? I doesn't make sense to give out the same hormone pill to any woman who comes in to the office - having irregular periods? Cramps? Acne? Mood swings? Here's a pill for all of them! Does that really make sense?!

And does anyone else wonder why Depo is still on the market, with all the problems all you ladies mentioned! That just doesn't seem right!!!

If you are interested in Creighton Model NFP, the have an instructor through Penrose Hospital. This method is great for trying to avoid pregnancy, trying to get pregnant, as well as trying to figure out an irregular period, and identifying hormone imbalances. There aren't any pills or shots out there to help with all that!

Good luck!
S.

i was on depo for a year and hated it, i was a hormonal mess. i also had a friend in college who went on depo and it caused her body to go into a type of very early menopause! atleast that is how she described it.she had to have a hysterectomy at that young age to calm all the problems she was having. she was only about 23 at the timeand luckily alread had 2 children. i guess i would wonder how long has depo actually been around and if there are any long term studies about it's safety for use long term. what are the long term side effects if any? i think you really have to ask lots of questions if you want any kind of real help from your doc! i am hoping you get answers and are feeling like you self soon, big hugs to you, N.

C.,
My heart goes out to you, you've been through so much! I'm still a little stunned with what you've described here, because it's very similar to my experience. I was on the Depo shot for 2 years, many years ago. Since then I've have a miscarriage, two wonderful boys, and in the middle of all that, been diagnosed with a pituatary gland (in the brain) tumor. This tumor causes periods to disappear, along with other really frustrating symptoms. My specialist explained to me that going that long (just like what you discribed) without a period, has a very negative affect on your bones. I'm sorry my message is so fragmented... Anyway, my thoughts are that you should write down any and all symptoms you have along with the absent period. Even ones that you are convinced don't have anything to do with it. When you talk to your doctor, make sure he/she looks at all of them. It's my opinion that you have something else going on here besides the depo shot, maybe caused by it, but a seperate issue now. Another thing you might want to do is go to misdiagnosed.com and it will let you put several symptoms in at a time, and brings up a listing of the possible things that could be happening. It wasn't dead on with mine, but it was close. It might help lead you in the right direction. And good luck!!! My prayers are with you.

C.,
I'm so sorry to hear about everything you've gone through. I have nothing good to say about the depo shot. I was on it for 9 months and then had a stroke because of it at the age of 20 that left me with permanent hearing loss in my right ear. After that experience, no one would prescribe any type of birth control for me until after I had my children. Since having my second, I was put on the pill and stayed on it for 4 years with no problem at all. That shot is just bad news.
I agree with what many of the other ladies have said. Look for a doctor who's going to work with you and search to find the answers. Have you tried a fertility specialist? I have no idea, but maybe they have had other women come in with the same problem and can help you.
Good luck,
J.

Dear C.,
I would suggest that you try to find a different doctor. Birth control is what messed your body up, I don't believe that piling more on top of that is going to help you correct it. Try to find an NFP doctor or get on the internet and look for a Na-Pro doctor in your area (try Pope Paul VI Institute) You are definitely not alone in this problem...and I'm sure that you will get many responses. Good luck, I'm praying you can find someone to help.

I'm wondering if you might have hormone imbalance or hyperplasia or just not shedding the endometrium (sp??). I had hyperplasia after a miscarriage that lasted nearly 3 months and ended up with a modified d&c. Ask your doc. about hormones and keep asking until you get answers!

good luck and be gentle to yourself.
sara

Hi C.,
I am sorry to hear about your problems. I also took Depo Provera a long time ago and had similar reactions. I stopped taking it after probably 2 years and ended up having endometriosis ( had a surgery to remove ). I don't know if that is the cause or not, as my mom and grandma had it also. However, I had probably 4 or 5 friends that also took the shot and they had similar problems. Horrible terrible periods, lots of bleeding, etc.
I don't know what to suggest, except that the turning point for me was when I got pregnant and had my son. Since then, I have had normal periods and they are not near as painful.
Have faith, I am sure things will turn around for you and your family!

I took depo after my first child was born. got the last shot when she was 9 mths and didn't get my period back til she was 19 mths. got pregnant right after that period but then had a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks.I was able to see my baby alive via ultrasound at 7wks. then baby died but didn't come out on it's own and I had to have a d/c. I waited 3 mths and then tried to get pregnant again got pregnant and then had another misscariage at 5 wks. Planned on waiting again but got pregnant immidiatly even though we were using contraceptive gel (I didn't want to do hormone cause I feel that caused my fertility problems) had another misscarriege at 5 wks. dr's were finally willing to do some test to figure out what was goign on. (previously they asumed nothing was wrong since I already had 1 child with no problem and was only 25) found out the reason I was miscarrying was that my progesterone levals were too low to maintain a pregnancy. we considered doing clomid to try and get my hormones back on track. then I decided i'd wait and pray about it. I got pregnant with my second daughter. my hormones behaved themselves and she stayed. I did go into preterm labor with her at 20 wks but was able to stop it with medication and she continued to stay put til 39. I did have lots of braxton hicks but as long as I tried to take it easy when they came they went away. then when she was a year old I got pregnant with my son. with him my progesterone leval were low and he also measured small (at 7wks he was measuring 5wks) I was put on progesterone and he stayed put. I did have preterm labor with him starting around 31 weeks and had to be put on meds to keep it under control until 37 wks. then he ended up staying put til 39wks.

so......
My advice would be to have you dr check your hormone levels. this was the easiest of all the test I went through and was the only one to discover my problem. there are diferent opinions on what to do about it. I was a bit hesitant about using hormones again but my son wasn't planned so I didn't really have time to research. if your dr does discover a hormone imbalance you may want to look into alternatives to getting it back on track.

Stop taking hormones, look into alternatives like an IUD. I believe depo provera caused me to have twins. I took it for 3 years and it took almost 16 months to start having a period. I don't think I was ovulating when I began menstruating and when i did ovulate 2 eggs dropped and now I have wonderful boy and girl twins. I am extremely grateful for 2 adorable healthy children.But it was a tough pregnancy 7 months of bed rest. I don't like hormones they really do strange things to my body and my mood.

You might want to try a natural detox program or infra-red sauna treatments to get the chemicals out.

Best Wishes.

I'm sorry for your loss, first off, 2ndly, I think it's still early to expect your cycle to be back to normal. It took me at least 6 months to cycle normally after my miscarrage, but it doesn't mean you can't still get pregnant. If you are looking to get pregnant I'd try the mucous method of fertility as I believe this to be the most accurate technique. It's really a way to tune into your body in a natural way. Also pay attention to your libido at these times, this too can help you tune in. Good luck and welcome to a deeper you to explore...

I went on Depo after my first was born, and was on it for 2 years without any problems. Then I had a miscarriage. I didn't know why. When I got pregnant again, everything went fine until about 35 weeks, and my doctor said I was too small. So I went in for an ultrasound to see what the problem was. My baby was born the day after the ultrasound and she was healthy, so we didn't worry about why she was early. Then with my 3rd baby, we did an other emergency ultrasound at 33 weeks, and my embryonic fluid was dangerously low, so we had an emergency induction that same day. Luckily I had received a hormone shot the week before to help develop the baby's lungs. She only had to stay in the NICU for a week. After looking back, I think it's all related to the Depo. I don't dare have another baby because of the risks of being even earlier. My youngest is now 3, and she's behind in her speech and gross motor skills. Anyway, that's my story.
H. B, Utah

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