Injectable contraceptives contain synthetic hormones and are given via deep intramuscular injection. It is usually given every 3 months. They mimic the functions and actions of the main hormones responsible for ovulation. It is a very effective form of reversible contraceptive method. Two types of injectable contraceptives are available: the progestin-only and the combination of progestin and estrogen. The more popular one is the progestin-only. It is available in many brand names, but the Depo-Provera is the most popularly known and used.
Injectables, as they are fondly called, are gaining popularity lately. There are many reasons behind this. Aside from being extremely effective, it is very convenient because you don’t have to take anything daily or do anything at all unlike those natural family planning methods where you always have to compute and be aware of your body. Women only have to go to the clinic every 3 months, so aside from convenience, privacy is also an advantage. Injectables are also said to improve menstrual cramps, depression, endometriosis and premenstrual symptoms. You also lose less blood during your menstruation.
There are also disadvantages when it comes to injectables. Some women who use injectables experience very irregular periods. It may bother some. It also causes weight gain, so exercise and careful diet is more a must. There is also increasing concern regarding the long term effects of taking in synthetic hormones. Not only do they cause bone degeneration, but they also predispose the woman to developing cancer. This is true especially for those with family history of cancer. Also, normal ovulation does not resume immediately after stopping the injections. It may take a couple of months before your ovaries function again.
Effectiveness, Limitations and Side Effects
Progestin-only injectables have 0.1% to 0.6% failure rate, while combined injectables have a 0.2% to 0.4% failure rate. They are not subject to user error which makes them very effective. However, there are limitations as to who are eligible in using this method. Girls below 16 should not use them because of its effect on bone density. Before using injectables, you must first make sure that you are not pregnant as it may cause significant harm to the fetus. A woman about to use this must also be aware of the possibility of losing her period entirely with prolonged use. There are also side effects associated with injectables such as headache, decrease in libido, and probable difficulty in conceiving after taking this medication. It is also not recommended for women with Diabetes, high blood pressure and those with blood clotting disorders.