Depo decline and side effects

The Depo Decline

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Learning About Depo the Hard Way

In 2010, I was 32 years old, and a preschool and elementary school teacher. I was looking for birth control to prevent pregnancy. I tried several different birth control pills previously, but reacted badly on every single one of them. The pills increased my blood pressure significantly and gave me migraines. I also tried both the hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs. Each of them gave me chronic bacterial vaginosis. This persisted for the entire 6 years that I used these devices. My doctor told me that the Depo Provera shot would be a good option for me since it didn’t have any estrogen in it and I wouldn’t have those terrible side effects. She said the only side effect would be a 5-10lb weight gain. I stupidly and regretfully took her advice and got the depo shot. I wish I could take that day back because it has ruined the past 10 years of my life. I had the shot on August 18, 2010 and I still do not feel well, almost 10 years later. That shot left me with numerous autoimmune and endocrine problems. I should mention, I was healthy before all of this began.

Within a week of the Depo shot, I began feeling off and not like myself. I developed unusual and extreme hunger. I was very moody and irritable, extremely tired, and experienced daily headaches and migraines. It only got worse from there. Within three months, I gained 25 pounds.  I called my doctor’s office and told them I would not be returning for another shot. I told the receptionist about the side effects that I was having.

I began having all sorts of weird health problems that were totally out of the norm for me. As I mentioned, I was healthy prior to depo and never had to go to the doctor except for my annual check-up. I felt like I was going crazy because my doctor said “Depo can’t do this to you.” When I asked why I was having all these problems all of a sudden, she assured me it wasn’t from Depo. What was it from then? I have never been given an answer.

I have spent thousands of dollars on trying to heal my body and have seen over 20 doctors and specialists to try to find out what this shot did to me including: endocrinologist’s, rheumatologist, gastroenterologist’s, podiatrist’s, dermatologists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, physical therapist, massage therapists, psychologist, infectious disease doctor, vitamins and supplements. My health never returned. I’m only able to function at about 20-25% of what I was prior to depo. This is despite trying everything I do to heal my body through research and books and doctors.

It has been a decade from hell and because of all these health problems from depo, I lost my job, my family and my house. This shot poisoned my body and wreaked havoc on my mind and body. I’m 100% convinced from the newest research conducted and reading “The Dangers of Depo” book that it did irreversible damage to my body at a cellular level. My body, my mind, my thyroid and adrenals and my cells were never able to recover and heal from this shot.

This past decade has been a literal nightmare. This shot needs to be banned. I’m only writing all of this to warn other women to stay away from this poison. I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone. It has destroyed my once happy and successful life.

Surviving Depo Together

Last year I started a Facebook group “Depo Provera =Endocrine Disorders” support group to help other women who are experiencing endocrine problems after getting the Depo Provera shot. In little over a year, we have 589 members. These are women who have become ill with various endocrine problems since getting the depo shot.

We are all very supportive and help each other. Most of us have family and friends that really don’t understand what it’s like to get so ill from a pharmaceutical. So it has been very comforting knowing we have each other to talk to and other women who know and understand what we are going through. That was my goal when I started this support group. I wanted to see how many other women worldwide were experiencing severe health problems from depo and offer a safe place for us to share stories, concerns, advice and anything helpful. We have an amazing group of ladies and I met some wonderful women through my Depo group. Their support and encouragement pushed me to go public with my Depo story. I’m a very private person. I didn’t want everyone in the world knowing about my horrific experience and my life crumbling. It’s embarrassing to me, but I’m doing this because I feel knowledge is POWER! The more we inform women about the dangerous Depo-Provera birth control shot the better.

With social media and the internet hopefully women will research Depo Provera before getting it and realize how dangerous it can be. Then make an informed decision prior to getting it. Had myself, and thousands of other women been informed about these issues, we would have never gotten this shot. So I’m writing this to help as many women as I can to be informed and to warn them as to what can happen if they chose to get depo.

I hope my story helps women. That is the only reason I am sharing it. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.

Depo Provera Side Effects

Below are just some of the dozens of diagnoses, odd symptoms and lab results that I have had since receiving Depo Provera.


  • Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis
  • miscarriages
  • Chronic Epstein Barr virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Lyme disease
  • Skin cancer (3 times) leg, face, low pelvic region
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis in lower back
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Bone spurs on spine
  • Facet syndrome in my low spine – I have severe lower back and neck pain
  • Autoimmune disease
  • PCOS
  • Nodules on thyroid, cysts on liver and kidney, cysts on right ovary, fibroid on uterus
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Sleep apnea and low oxygen while sleeping and trouble breathing during the day


  • Adrenal fatigue -low cortisol/ACTH
  • C reactive protein is very high
  • Sedimentation rate is very high, and indicator of high inflammation
  • Absolute basophils very low
  • Anion gap high


  • Food sensitivities and Food intolerances to gluten, dairy, soy, sugar
  • High blood pressure 169/115
  • Pain/throbbing in bicep/elbow
  • Throbbing pain on thyroid
  • Bloating, swollen stomach, diarrhea -IBS/D
  • Ringing in ears-tinnitus 24/7
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia)
  • Debilitating fatigue, always tired, malaise, not feeling awake for hours after waking up, falling asleep a lot during the day, sleeping 12-15 hours per day, my body feels limp and I get worn out doing simple things like laundry
  • Night sweats
  • Brain fog, headaches, anxiety, nervousness, irritability
  • Getting very dizzy and passed out twice
  • Feet and hands falling asleep a lot, my fingers are stiff- right thumb freezing and won’t move
  • Teeth grinding while asleep
  • Plantar fasciitis-feet: severe pain on bottom of feet and left outer side of my foot making it hard to walk especially when I miss my menstrual cycle
  • Toenail fungus
  • Poor healing: cuts and incisions do not heal.
  • I can’t handle normal stress at all. I get very sick and then I can’t get rid of colds. My immune system doesn’t work and I end up staying sick for months and years.
  • Extreme 80 lb Weight gain
  • Iron and ferritin are deficient
  • Vitamin B low
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Basically, I am falling apart, one piece at a time, and no one seems to be able to help. Doctors mostly dismiss my declining health. The power of informed choice was taken away from me since I was not informed of the real risks. Depo carries a black box warning, which is the most stringent warning short of an outright ban. Had I been aware of this, I would have never gotten this shot. It is completely unfair, unjust, and unethical for doctors and nurses to administer this shot to unsuspecting women without adhering to their legal obligation of disclosing the very real, serious, and in some cases like mine and many others, permanent side effects that this form of birth control is responsible for.

If you are suffering with endocrine related side effects due to Depo Provera, please join my Facebook group, “Depo-Provera=Endocrine Disorders Support Group.”

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Image credit: Wallpaper Cave.

This article was first published on June 17, 2020. 

Gretchen is a proud mom, former teacher, founder of the Facebook group “Depo-Provera = Endocrine Disorders Support Group”, and one of the many victims of Depo Provera.


  1. Hi Gretchen,

    Have you ever tried high-dose allithiamine (TTFD) + other B vitamins and minerals?

    When I took Luteran (chlormadinon) for about 1.5 years, in 2013/2014, I got so much worse in terms of available energy. I think that’s how my complete health decline started, because I was hungry most of the time, was sleeping too much, had no energy. These symptoms just became so much worse, until 2015, when I became bed ridden most of the time.

    I share about 90% of your diagnoses and symptoms, including Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, persistent fatigue.

    I started allithiamine in November and when I reached 300 mg/day, most of my symptoms were either gone or improved by ~80%.

    My endometriosis and PCOS symptoms are gone, including the heavy bleeding and the complete intolerance to all hormonal products. I can take some bio-identical progesterone 5-10 days/month if I feel like it.

    I think it’s worth looking into this and find a medical practitioner who can help you.

  2. I had a 45 mg injection of Lupron 7 months ago prior to radiation treatments for prostate cancer (Gleason 6). It is called ADT Androgen Depravation Therapy. My testosterone dropped from 1040 to 21 within two weeks. I had been on testosterone HRT for 5 years prior and never had any health problems at all except the flu one time. About 8 weeks after the injection, I began experiencing bad side effects.

    * I have pain in my hands and both have trigger fingers. I am right handed and that one is worst. I soak them in very warm water every morning to loosen them. Sometimes I cannot open a jar of food, open any twist cap, or operate a can opener. I received a steroid injection in my right hand for trigger fingers but it made no difference. The hand splint the therapist made for my right hand does not help. When I use it, I wake in the morning with my hand stuck open instead of stuck closed. There are no days that I can make a fist. I chose to wait for testosterone to come back rather than have surgery on my hands.

    * I have several hot flashes almost every morning usually soaking my shirt with sweat.

    * My arms and muscles are much smaller.

    * I also have developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot that makes walking or standing very painful some days and tolerable other days. Never had any foot problems before.

    * I have some energy until about noon then tired the rest of the day.

    * Although I watch my diet, I have gained several inches in belly fat. I can’t exercise much because of my hands, foot, and lack of energy. Very depressing.

    * The nickname for ADT is “chemical castration” so you can guess what my sex life is like with my wife.

    Doctors wanted me to have 2 more injections of Lupron for a total of 18 months. I told them no.

  3. I refused a Depo shot when my fibroids were bad asking for the opportunity to research it. I thought this perfectly reasonable considering you can’t take it back once administered however the doctor became very angry. I did research and asked about it on a fibroid support group. The majority said it would not help the fibroid and would cause greater hormone disruption. Many who responded gained significant amounts of weight and developed pronounced bleeding. I didn’t have any idea what Depo was the day it was offered and had I complied it would have been administered that day. I received a letter from my provider that same week dropping me for non compliance for refusing. Very unsettling that a patient must not question a provider and must “comply” v. having a say to treatment options. I refused hysterectomy as this was also being pushed as a first line solution to a moderate sized fibroid. I spoke to many doctors about my fibroid and over and over I was dropped for non- compliance for refusing hysterectomy. Finally I had UFE for my fibroid and lo and behold it shrank by 90%. Not one of the specialists I spoke to suggested UFE as an option for fibroids. Isn’t this telling of a corrupt medical system that treats women as cash cows only pushing expensive drugs and surgery? Be your own advocate and step back to review the suggestions of all drug and surgical suggestions. It is your right to do so!

  4. Oh, my ! This is me! I did a piece for Hormones Matter in April 2016 on Lupron Depot. Very similar, almost exact symptoms after my 2nd shot! That was in 1997! Yes, I am still sick . Nobody knows what to do . Just treat symptoms which seem to grow the older I get…..20+ years now because of this poison! The neuro-endocrine-immune system dysregulation is maddening! Just when I think I am managing better – boom, another nagging symptom! So you know by now that you are not alone and I know that is little consolation. Thanks for writing this article. I wish you the best and hope you fair better than I have. God Bless you.

    • Thank you Connie. I’m so sorry this happened to you too. I will have to see if I can find your article. I’m having the same problems as you with the neuro-endocrine-immune system dysregulation. Feel free to join my Facebook group. This shot is poison and needs banned. Chronic fatigue has been the most debilitating side effect for me for years. I just don’t have energy to do things like I used to and it’s awful. I want to work and I want to be able to be normal like my old self. This shot took our lives from us and it’s not fair. The other worst part is the majority of doctors don’t seem to get it either. So we are left to figuring this out on our own or spend a fortune paying naturopathic doctors. Which many of us can’t afford since we were left disabled and can’t work now.
      Praying for you and hopefully someday we feel better. ??❤️ There’s a book “The Contraceptive Risk” written by an attorney about Depo. Have you read it? Or the book “The Dangers of Depo?”

  5. Thank you Derrick. I will certainly try this. Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it. I will pass this on to my group.
    Question.. how long do I take these supplements for? A few months until I feel better? A year? Or the rest of my life?
    Thiamine, magnesium, B complex. I took “pure encapsulations” B complex and magnesium biglycinate before for 60 days. They helped a little bit. I have never taken thiamine before.

  6. I will reiterate the symptoms and important lab. Increased CRP, debilitating fatigue, night sweats, teeth grinding (bruxism), brain fog, headache, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, syncope (fainting), feet and hands sleeping, toenail fungus, poor healing, weight gain, and immune collapse are ALL due to energy deficiency. Strangely the plantar fasciitis is included. You need megadoses of thiamine, magnesium and B complex. Please review the posts on this website that will help you understand. Energy deficiency particularly affects the brain, autonomic nervous system and heart, because they consume lots of energy. Unfortunately you are not alone, pass it on to your group

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