Planned Parenthood

What are the disadvantages of the birth control shot?

The birth control shot is safe and convenient. However, there are some disadvantages and side effects.

You have to go to a doctor or nurse to get the injection every three months.

This may be easy for some people and harder for others, but the shot only works if you get it on time. If you live far from a health center, or if you just have a really busy life and think you won't stay on top of getting your follow-up shots, some other birth control methods might be a better fit for you. IUDs and implants are methods that you don't need to think about once you get them put in.

There can be negative side effects while you use the shot.

Some people may get annoying side effects while using the birth control shot, but many of them usually go away after 2 or 3 months. Many people use the shot with no problems at all.

Most women have some change in their periods, including bleeding more days than usual, spotting between periods, or no periods. This is most common during the first year.

Lots of people who use the shot stop getting their period altogether after about a year of using it. This, like all the side effects of the shot, goes away after you stop getting the shot. Your period should go back to normal within a few months after your last shot wears off.

Other possible side effects of the shot include:

  • nausea
  • weight gain
  • headaches
  • breast tenderness
  • hair loss or more hair on the face or body
  • depression
  • slight bruising where the shot was given
  • very rarely, a small, permanent dent in the skin where the shot was given

If you get any of these side effects and they really bother you, talk with your doctor or nurse.

It may take up to 10 months after stopping the birth control shot to get pregnant.

If you decide that you want to get pregnant right away after you stop getting the shot, you should know the shot may delay your ability to get pregnant by up to 10 months. However, some people do get pregnant soon after stopping the shot. There's no way to know how long it will take for you.

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What are the disadvantages of the birth control shot?