Prescription Options

Does Depo Provera Cause Weight Gain?

February 6, 2018

Depo Provera (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) is a hormonal medication used as a reversible form of birth control. Despite the fact that the drug is 99.7 percent effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 14 weeks, weight gain is frequently cited as a reason women will cease using Depo Provera.

How Depo Provera Works

Depo Provera includes a synthetic form of progesterone known as progestin.

It’s an injectable form of the same medication, known as Provera, used to deal with menstruation problems caused by hormone imbalances.

The progestin-based treatment prevents ovulation from occurring. It also thickens the cervical mucus which makes it more difficult for sperm to pass through the cervix. In addition, the hormonal activity causes a thinning of esophageal tissue, which makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant since there’s not sufficient tissue on the uterine wall to get it.

Depo Provera does have a number of unwanted effects, the most common of which include:

  • Acne
  • Drowsiness
  • Missed or irregular periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Increase facial hair
  • Sleeping problems
  • Stomach pain

Several, more severe side effects are known to occur include an elevated chance of birth defects if taken when pregnant and the reduction of bone mineral density (a condition that’s largely reversible once treatment is stopped).

Butinterestingly enough, the 1 side effect which will often cause the greatest stress among users is the potential threat of weight reduction.

Depo Provera and Weight Gain

Since 2009, studies have mainly confirmed that Depo Provera may cause women to gain weight. The degree of this impact, however, can change significantly with some adding a couple of pounds while some include or two dress sizes.

One of the more comprehensive research, conducted by investigators in the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, compared weight reduction in 703 girls who used either the pill, Depo Provera, or nonhormonal contraception (such as a diaphragm, IUD, or sponge).

The participants included 200 African American, 247 white, and 245 Hispanic women.

What the researchers discovered was that Depo Provera not just caused weight gain over the span of the 36-month trial, it did so by raising body fat mass. Weight gain among users of the pill, by contrast, was mostly associated with fluid retention. All told, women who used Depo Provera experienced profits in:

  • Weight (9.7 pounds following 24 months and 11.25 pounds following 36 months)
  • Body fat (9.04 pounds)
  • Body fat percent (3.4 percent)

The level of weight gain appeared directly associated with the quantity of Depo Provera used. Furthermore, non-obese women appeared more vulnerable to this effect with 50 percent likely to become overweight following three decades.

Luckily, this effect looks partially reversible among girls who stopped Depo Provera and transformed to a nonhormonal contraceptive. For these women, there was an average weight loss of 3.75 pounds following 24 months.

On the reverse side, those switching into the tablet experienced a profit of 3.75 pounds following 24 months (again, more because of fluid retention than the extra accumulation of fat).

A Word From Verywell

This choice of contraception is a highly personal one. For many girls, the advantages of advantage may significantly outweigh any potential side effects.

In the long run, there is no wrong or right answer.

Should you decide to use Depo Provera, then it is likely to lessen your risk with proper nutrition and regular exercise. Ask your doctor for a referral to a distinctive nutritionist who could have the ability to offer ideas about how to maintain your ideal weight by boosting your metabolism through action and controlling your overall caloric and fat intake.