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 one of my best friends, Suzanne through our group. Suzanne is the one who encouraged me to go public with my 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 Suzanne always says, “knowledge is power” and the more we inform people 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. Suzanne and I had an almost identical experience with depo. We have so much in common medically, personally and professionally and I’m truly grateful for her love and support through this difficult time.
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
- Chronic Epstein Barr virus
- Lyme disease
- Skin cancer (3 times) leg, face, low pelvic region
- 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
- Nodules on thyroid, cysts on liver and kidney, cysts on right ovary, fibroid on uterus
- 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.”
We Need Your Help
More people than ever are reading Hormones Matter, a testament to the need for independent voices in health and medicine. We are not funded and accept limited advertising. Unlike many health sites, we don’t force you to purchase a subscription. We believe health information should be open to all. If you read Hormones Matter, like it, please help support it. Contribute now.
If you would like to share your story: Contact Us.
Image credit: Wallpaper Cave.