View Full Version : OMG...now it all makes sense.

08-01-2008, 11:50
Please read this letter from a woman who used the depo injection.:eek:
I really never put it all together before...but after talking with some other women and doing more searching now it all makes sense.
The weight gain, back and joint pain, depression and mood swings, the hairloss and eczema. I really thought that the depo shot was great, I loved not having my period but I think I will be discontinuing the use of this...my health is more important. I just got my injection 2 weeks ago and all the aches and pains have increased again, I was feeling better before I got the shot. I am really upset with my doctor...only thing she warned me of was the fact that I need to take additional calcium, since depo depletes the bones. I just had to share this letter with everyone.

I'm writing this to tell you about my experiences of the last year and a half on Depo-Provera injectable birth control. Before using the Depo-Provera I was a 26-year-old, extremely physically fit woman with no history of medical problems of any sort.
In January of 1998, I was looking for a reliable means of birth control. Being unable to handle any type of birth control pill, I began taking injections of Depo-Provera. My doctor told me it would work for me since it doesn't contain any estrogen, and that I wouldn‘t have any periods. Having been competing at an elite level in bicycle racing for many years, I didn't really have a menstrual cycle anyway, and decided that not having periods at all wouldn't be such a bad thing.
That was about all the information I was given about the stuff . I thought, no problem. It won't be much different from what is already going on with me.
Everything seemed fine for a number of months. I didn't notice any crazy emotional effects like I had experienced when I tried to take the Pill. My moods seemed totally unaffected. I thought, "Gee, this is great stuff. I don't even go through mood swings around the time of a period because I don't have any periods at all. How convenient."
Unexplained Back Pain
In midsummer, I began to notice that my lower back felt very tired all the time, which I had never experienced before. I'm on my feet and moving around a great deal at work, and by the time I got home and stood in the kitchen to make dinner, I would feel like there was just no comfortable position for my pelvis. My lower back just felt so tired. I just tried to ignore it.
Unexplained Skin Problems
At the same time, I also developed eczema-like skin rashes. I finally went to the doctor because I couldn’t restrain myself from scratching. I was scratching myself bloody every night. The sores covered my scalp, neck, and arms, and the worst part was the rash on both my eyelids and on and above my lips. I felt like a monster. The doctor gave me cortisone cream and a prescription moisturizer. I tried these things for a couple weeks, and they didn't put even a dent in the itching or the red, scaly appearance of all the spots.
All this time, I was continuing to take Depo-Provera injections every 13 weeks without ever having any suspicion that it might be related in any way to my troubles.
In early November, I got a "cricky" feeling in my lower back. It felt as though it needed to pop. Usually in the past when I had felt something like that in my lower back, thirty minutes or so of yoga for my legs and back would take care of the problem. This time I stretched every day and tried everything I knew to get my back to move into a comfortable position. It was all to no avail. After ten days or so I thought maybe some weight-bearing exercise would mobilize it back into place, so I went for a run. My back didn't feel so good toward the end of my run, and by the time I cooled off, I knew that I was in big trouble. I couldn't even stand up straight. I got an adjustment from a chiropractor that gave me quite a bit of relief, but I was so sore and weak from the incident that I was flat on my back for nearly a week after that.
My Life Falls Apart
After that it was just a haze of doctor visits and chiropractor visits and physical therapy visits. The upshot was that my back just wasn't healing. It kept on going out of place without even the slightest provocation. I was continuing to have adjustments, and it just wasn't holding. Throughout this time, I had been missing days of work here and there, and going home early almost every day because my back would be so exhausted by midday that I had to lie down for the rest of the day and evening. Eventually I was unable to sit at all. I had to rig up a standing work station for myself.
I was pretty much debilitated. I couldn't lift anything over about five pounds. I couldn't bend over. I couldn't even lie on the couch. I had a permanent nest laid out on the floor, because that was where I spent most of my time. My athletic endeavors had come to a screeching halt. I had been used to riding my bicycle about 40 miles a day, or running six or seven miles. I couldn't even look at my bike without wincing in pain. I was pretty much handicapped. I couldn't cook or clean and I couldn't even walk for exercise my back hurt so badly.
I took enormous doses of ibuprofen trying to get the inflammation to go down. I used ice. I used glucosamine sulfate. I avoided wheat, dairy and corn products. Nothing helped for long. As time went on, my back pain was not even ameliorated when I would lie down. It ached all the time no matter what, and any type of bending, standing, or moving would bring on much more severe pain.
An Astute Chiropractor Finds the Culprit
I finally went to see a chiropractor named Dean who told me it was absolutely essential for me to get off the Depo-Provera. He made no bones about it. He was very stern and came on very strong about the topic. I was astounded. I couldn't understand how birth control could have anything at all to do with my back.
He said that the hormones in the Depo are not the forms naturally made by the body. They are synthetically altered progestins so that the pharmaceutical companies can patent these molecules and thus make a great deal more money from them, since they can't patent a substance found in nature. The problem is that even though these synthetic molecules do bind to the hormone receptors, the body simultaneously recognizes them as foreign substances that need to be eradicated. So the immune system works overtime around the clock trying to get rid of this nasty foreign substance The adrenal glands think it's emergency time all the time, so they pump out the hormone cortisol. Pretty soon, the adrenals are completely exhausted.
In Chinese medicine, the adrenals are on the same circuit as five of the muscles of the lower back. When the adrenals are over-tired, it inhibits these muscles of the lower back. Dean told me that the reason my back wasn't getting any better was because those muscles simply were not firing appropriately. Essentially, there was nothing holding my lower back together, and that's exactly what it felt like.
I Finally Understand What Has Happened
Well, this was quite a shock to me, and quite a bit to chew on. He did, however tell me not to simply take his word for it, but to do a little reading on my own. He recommended your book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause. I devoured the book in a couple of days, and thought it was a very plausible explanation. It also explained my skin problems, my low blood pressure and dizziness problems, as well as the two teeth that had gotten loose in the last year.
I called the pharmacist to find out how long the Depo was going to take to wear off. She told me that it has a half life of 50 days. It takes about four half-lives after one injection for it to undetectable in the body. She told me it reaches its peak concentration in the blood thirty days after an injection and drops from there. That bit of information caught my attention. As I thought back to my major incidents of back problems, they were all within about 30 days after an injection. Well, that sealed it for me. I had no more doubt that the Depo-Provera was at the root of my problems.
The Healing Begins and I Start to Get My Life Back
I am now about 20 weeks out from my last (ever!) injection of Depo-Provera. I am off the anti-inflammatories. I began to be able to sit again about three weeks ago. I am slowly and gently beginning to ride my bike again. My skin is back to normal. I will be doing abdominal exercises for the rest of my life to help stabilize the permanent damage done to my back, and I'm using a natural progesterone cream to help get my own hormones back online.
I deeply regret that in my ignorance I poisoned myself. I would like to add that in speaking with other women during this time, there have been three other very young women who have suffered problems like mine or even worse after only a single injection of the Depo. I would like to emphasize as well that all of these women, including myself, are way too young to be suffering back trouble like this without a major traumatic injury. If, in writing this account, I can help just one other person avoid the suffering caused to me by Depo-Provera, I will consider it time very well spent.

08-01-2008, 18:08
OMG! is right!! wow :eek:

08-01-2008, 23:38
I won't even go into the horrid side effects I had with the nasty arm rods thing I had back in the 90's. (Doh, what were those called?). I got mine the first year they were in the US - and kept it nearly 3 years. My Dr who removed it commented that she had never seen anyone keep it in more than 6 months!! I only kept it because I was broke!

The hardest part was the weight gain - the hormones settled into my fat and stuck around. Making it worse, often you can be getting the wrong hormones - leaving dry skin, weight gain, acne.....bad attitude and more. That in itself is good birth control..lol!!

All I can say is....if you want super long term control, think about an IUD - the 10 year one. No hormones. Upfront cost of a couple hundred (though often you can get them done much, much cheaper at places like PPH). They come out easy as well.

I know, I know - people say "IUD's!!!!" Lets just say they are not our mother's IUDs anymore. They are safe and highly effective. But, you have to see a Dr and as well, be in a commited relationship to avoid complications from STD's.

And nowdays? You don't have to have had kids to get one! Yay!

10-15-2008, 03:49
Thank you TruthIsNature!

10-15-2008, 07:36
WOW...I can't believe I missed this thread. Man...I have to say that it really doesn't surprise me. I am just glad there are others like myself who know how bad some forms of birth control can be. I have always struggled with being able to take it. Many times I have felt like a test tube. I finally gave up and opted to quit trying, realizing there just wasn't a birth control solution for me by way of pill or shot. After reading that article I'm glad I did. Thanks for the great info.

Mrs Baggins
10-15-2008, 08:18
Guess I've always been very fortunate with the Pill. I started taking it right before I got married in 1975 and took it off and on for most of the past 33 years. No bad side effects at all. They cleared up my skin, made my periods much shorter and lighter. No weight gain or bloating. Now I'm hearing more and more that long term Pill use is a good thing for many of us that tolerate it so well. It actually can prevent many cancers. In my case it also seems to have held off menopause. I haven't taken it in more than a year to try to kick start menopause (sick to death of periods - - period) but no luck. Not so much as a single night sweat or hot flash, periods as regular as when I was in my 20's and I'm almost 53. I don't consider that a good thing. I just want this over with. I'm tired of planning all of my trips and hikes around it.

10-15-2008, 08:43
I am with Sarbar.

I never liked BCPs and investigated IUDs when I first heard of them back in the 70s. I had several, ALL with NO ill effects, until I had a hysterectomy in 2006. Over 30 years of excellent service, and near perfect health! The few health problems I have had were not related to the IUDs.


10-15-2008, 09:00
my best friend got the shot back when it first came out. she happened to be allergic to the hormone in it, which she didn't discover until after she had already gotten it. well, once it's in you can't get it back out. i remember her being very ill for almost 6 months before it was out of her body and there wasn't a thing she could do about it. sounds to me from the letter like she got off easy. jeez, what people will sell to make money.

10-17-2008, 21:20
All I can say is....if you want super long term control, think about an IUD - the 10 year one. No hormones. Upfront cost of a couple hundred (though often you can get them done much, much cheaper at places like PPH). They come out easy as well.

I know, I know - people say "IUD's!!!!" Lets just say they are not our mother's IUDs anymore. They are safe and highly effective. But, you have to see a Dr and as well, be in a commited relationship to avoid complications from STD's.

And nowdays? You don't have to have had kids to get one! Yay!

I got one of these Paragard IUD's over a year ago as did my older sister. We were super-excited. While you now are not required to have had children before getting one, it is probably best. I have known too many people (myself and my sister included) whose Paragard IUD expelled within the first few months. Not a big deal for us, as we are both students, on our parent's insurance and so the charge for getting the IUD's was only $10 each (copay), but if you pay the normal $200+ charge for them, it can be really frustrating when it just falls out. When I talked to my clinician about getting another one, she said "Everyone I've given a Paragard (non-hormone/copper) IUD to who HASN'T had kids has had it expel." Then she gave me Mirena, which I have had with ultimate success for one year now. I haven't had a true period for that entire year!! The only drawbacks are that there are very low levels of hormones, and that it only lasts for 5 years (versus the 10-year Paragard). I have heard that they might approve it for a longer timespan though!!!

10-19-2008, 23:45
It sounds horrifying, thanks for sharing this!