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The birth control shot (aka Depo-Provera or the Depo shot) is really good at preventing pregnancy. It’s 94% effective, meaning only 6 out of 100 people get pregnant each year while using the shot.

The shot can help with certain period problems, like cramps and a heavy flow. Most of the time, the shot makes your periods lighter. Some people stop getting periods altogether while they’re on the shot. So if you’re not getting a period, you won’t have menstrual cramps.

But the shot doesn’t help ease headaches — some people may actually get headaches as a side effect of the shot, especially during the first few months as your body adjusts. The shot also doesn’t help with acne — but other kinds of hormonal birth control that have estrogen in them (like the pill, patch, and ring) can help clear up acne.

If you need birth control that helps with cramps, PMS, and other period problems, there are lots of options. Talk with a nurse or doctor, like the ones at Planned Parenthood, to help figure out which types of birth control are right for you. You can also take our birth control quiz to find out which methods might be a good match.

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