proof pudding depo provera

Proof, Pudding, and Depo Birth Control

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In general, I try to avoid concentrating on a single type of hormonal birth control when discussing layers of rot among contraceptives. I never want to create the impression that another method might be safe by comparison. The degree of safety (or lack thereof) is not universal. A low-dose combination Pill that may be ‘relatively safe’ for most women could cause blood clots and kill another woman because each woman’s body chemistry is as unique as she is. See what I mean – I hate to even use the term ‘relatively safe’ because the risks are still so great I would never want my daughters taking even the low-dose formulations.

Now that you know where I stand, I do want to focus on one product that seems to be particularly egregious. Our recent citizens’ petition to the FDA asked for stronger black box warnings on all hormonal birth control, but also singled out the injectable birth control which I will refer to generically as Depo, with a request that it be removed from the market “based on conclusive evidence that it facilitates the transmission of HIV from men to women”.

When Birth Control Hits the Point of No Return

Facilitating the transmission of HIV sounds like a pretty good reason to remove a drug from the market, but several other problems differentiate Depo from other forms of hormonal birth control. As I began to study these differences a little more closely, it led me to question what it would take for doctors to hit a point of no return in their love affair with birth control. Surely, if they encountered a single type of birth control that posed clear risks over-and-above other available methods, they would be able to admit its flaws, right? Welp, the proof is in the pudding.

Think of it this way, you’re a doctor watching Breaking Bad (Spoiler Alert Warning – if you still haven’t had time to watch it, you should really hire an assistant). Let’s say Walter White is Birth Control. At first, you really like him. You know he’s a good person and he has good intentions. As bad things happen to Walt and he begins to make some dubious decisions, you give him the benefit of the doubt. Even when doctors see a tragic side effect in one of their patients, they’ve been told it’s rare and that’s what they want to believe.

Then, evidence starts to mount. Birth Control (and Walt) slide further down that slippery slope. By the time Walt watches Jesse’s girlfriend choke to death on her own vomit, you finally realize he might be irredeemable.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a point where doctors can admit even a single birth control product may be irredeemable.

Irredeemable Qualities of Depo

The top of the Depo information pamphlet contains a warning in big, bold letters surrounded by a box. In other words, they’ve manipulated the text in virtually every possible way to get you to pay attention to these words:


The warning goes on to explain that your bone loss will be greater the longer you take the product and these changes may not be reversible. It reinforces these concerns by stating that Depo should not be used as a long-term birth control solution. It even goes so far as to say it shouldn’t be used longer than two years.

That seems pretty clear and absolute.

However, Depo support groups and online forums are full of women who have been taking Depo for 10 years or more. One woman in a recent thread said she expressed concern to her doctor because she had heard that she shouldn’t be on it longer than two years. He told her, “That isn’t really true.”

It is either ignorant, negligent, or grossly incompetent for a doctor to give a patient Depo for 10 years, but to shrug off a patient’s concern while denying a side effect so clearly stated in the literature is borderline criminal.

Here’s the kicker – many of the women who still take Depo after several years continue taking it because they’re afraid of the withdrawals. Women who stop taking Depo frequently experience severe withdrawals unlike anything seen with other forms of hormonal contraceptives. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, headaches, painful breasts, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.

But, let’s not overlook the common side effect that happens when you receive the shot – unexplained weight gain. I suppose if there is a positive to be found in any of these side effects, it’s that many women avoid Depo because they’ve heard about the weight gain. In fact, 1 out of every 4 women who get the shot gain 5 percent or more of their starting weight. A study of more than 700 women found that women getting the Depo shot gained an average of 11 pounds over three years with a 3 percent increase in body fat. Researchers aren’t sure what’s causing this weight gain but believe the high dose of progestogen could be lowering the body’s metabolism and causing more fat to be stored.

Neither Candy Nor Supplement

I used to always say that doctors hand out birth control like candy, but it’s worse than that. They hand it out like it’s a supplement. They tell women that it’s a hormone just like their body is already making. It isn’t. That’s why I love the quote from Dr. Hugh Davis at the Nelson Pill Hearings:

“To think of them as natural is comforting but quite false.”

When you stumble across a product like Depo and see that the doctors’ behavior doesn’t change, it becomes harder to believe they are oblivious to the dangers they are promulgating. Their cavalier attitude toward these potent drugs and the damage they are doing should spark outrage in us all.

I would like to conclude by sharing the story that sparked my outrage and inspired this article. I was contacted by a young woman who asked me not to use her real name. She is a medical professional and doesn’t want to jeopardize her career. I will call her Amber.

A Bad Experience with Depo

Amber gave birth to a daughter in March. After the delivery, she was experiencing high blood pressure that landed her in the ER on three different occasions. The ER doctor on the third visit told her he thought she was dealing with postpartum depression and said he was going to give her progesterone to balance out all the lingering estrogen from her pregnancy. He advised her to go see her regular doctor the next day about her high blood pressure.

She didn’t think too much about the shot he gave her until she looked over her discharge papers and was shocked to see he had given her the Depo shot. The next morning she visited her doctor and he gave her blood pressure medication. By that evening, her symptoms had changed. She experienced heart palpitations and flutters. Her anxiety was out of control, and her heart rate was in the 160s.

Paramedics rushed her to the hospital and she was admitted to the cardiac unit. They performed an ultrasound and she was tentatively diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) – one day after receiving the shot.

Over the following months, she developed more symptoms. There was pressure on her optic nerve. Her thyroid was out of control. The doctors said they couldn’t even be sure whether she needed medication for a hyper- or hypo- active thyroid. They did an ultrasound and discovered two nodules on her thyroid that weren’t there when the previous ultrasound had been done. In 90 days, she had developed two nodules!

She contacted the drug manufacturer and asked them if they could provide information about side effects that have been reported with this drug (remember, she is a medical professional). She was stunned but not terribly surprised when the report she received back stated that they had received spontaneous reports of several side effects not mentioned in any literature, including atrial tachycardia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), autoimmune thyroiditis, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cysts, thyroid disorder, thyroid cancer, among a whole host of other side effects.

The Bad Has Broken

We see the effects of doctors and the drug industry downplaying the deadly risks of birth control all around us. A quick look at the patient information booklet along with some simple math, and these doctors would know that the U.S. loses three women every day to birth control related blood clots – and that’s just one side effect.

Then, along comes Depo. Not only does it have additional dangerous side effects but, since it is an injection, it’s even more permanent. You can’t just stop taking it when you’re overcome by side effects. It can take up to 350 days for the drug to leave your system after it’s administered.

How do doctors react to this deadlier, irreversible version of birth control? They deny the confirmed side effects and give it to unwitting new mothers. The further I get in this storyline the more I’m starting to realize our medical industry may be irredeemable.

But wait, Breaking Bad was notorious for giving us glimpses of hope, little signs that humanity may not be all bad. So…

Fade in to Amber in her hospital bed. Her Ob/Gyn heard she had been admitted and stops by to pay a visit. She tells him about the ER doctor who gave her a Depo shot and he becomes enraged. “Are you serious?!”

He calls the hospital CEO and says he is going to petition to get that doctor fired because it is not in his scope of practice.

Maybe there is hope for the medical community. Stay tuned.

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This article was published originally on December 19, 2019. 

Mike is an independent researcher and author, who spent much of the past decade exploring the dangers of birth control. He recently completed work on an expanded audio version of his shocking book, In the Name of the Pill.

The new version, available on Audible, examines the dubious nature of both the history and science of birth control. It features new content on modern devices and some of the little-known dangers scientists have linked to birth control.


  1. Fascinating article. I also had one shot of depo in October 2021 and developed POTS. I am still really struggling and can’t get any doctor to take me seriously that it could be related. I have had MRI, CT, echocardiogram, loads of blood work and everything comes back “normal” but my quality of life has greatly diminished. I am also having the vision changes you mentioned and had optic nerve edema on my most recent exam by ophthalmology. I would really like to know if anything ended up helping Amber or if her symptoms ever subsided.

    • Hi Molly, I reached out to Amber and she said she is doing better. She is taking blood pressure medicine and some others. She still has some bad days and usually the worst times are in the morning, but she’s working 50 hours a week as a nurse and she recently went hiking at the Grand Canyon. She says she determined not to let the POTS define her. She said to tell you that you are not alone! And, she recommended finding a good POTS support group on Facebook.

      • Thank you so much for the reply Mike! That is very encouraging!! I’m also a nurse so I found her story so relatable. I’m definitely going to find some support groups to help not feel so alone dealing with this. I’m on the lowest dose of metoprolol but I haven’t noticed too much change with that. I definitely agree it’s worse in the morning times. I am hoping my symptoms calm down soon, I haven’t been able to go back to work as of yet. Right before the holidays I had a really bad flare up and that’s when I was diagnosed after being admitted to the hospital. Thank you again! This has been one of the only sites I’ve found that show a correlation between depo and POTS. Happy Holidays!

  2. So much needs to be researched on menopause, on excruciating PMS, in some cases, two weeks out of the month, total body breakdown. But mainstream industrial medicine, well, not a priority.

    And, alas, a young relative of mine (not of my doing) was given the three course Gardasil. She’s 25, and there are indications that she has biological and mental adverse effects from this. And, in concert with the birth control pill (sic) and the toxicity of the air and soil and food and by-products of industrial capitalism, well, those drug companies can always trump us, no? “Can’t prove OUR product is creating the adverse effects, disease, death. Look at all the other thousands of factors.”

    That these arrogant MD’s, and worse, more arrogant drug scientists, rule the roost, we have to have these societies pop up to lobby and educate:

    quote — The British Menopause Society (BMS), established in 1989, educates, informs and guides Healthcare professionals on menopause and all aspects of post reproductive health. This is achieved through an annual programme of lectures, conferences, meetings, exhibitions and our interactive website. We offer a range of publications including our quarterly journal Post Reproductive Health and the definitive handbook Management of the Menopause.

    It’s in the mainstream news, how not only society, but MD’s don’t “get it” when it comes to this natural evolution of Homo Sapiens femina.

    Off topic, but not really. This best and the brightest on Democracy Now, with her new memoir, Leana Wen is equating those who have not gotten mRNA jab to alcoholics, or boozers — Sure, you have a right to drink in your home, or say a bar, but when you get behind the wheel of a car, you will and should be arrested. The same with unvaccinated.


    Then, late in the interview, she is gleeful that the mRNA jab might becoming available for 6 months or older babies by 2022.

    We need a more robust group of investigative journalists to put their feet to the fire — ALL of them.

    Wen — “And so, I actually support what the CDC is now doing, which is going back to this indoor mask requirement, because, frankly, we know that we can’t trust the unvaccinated, that they have been walking around without masks, and, in fact, that’s what led to the surge that we’re seeing.”

    “We should be thinking about this as we do drunk driving. You have a right, if you want to be intoxicated in your home or in some other setting, at a bar, let’s say. But you do not have the right to be intoxicated and then get behind the wheel of a car in a way that you could potentially endanger other people. And so, I think that the vaccine mandate concept is going to be increasingly important, because, for example, I have two unvaccinated young kids. I don’t know that someone has the freedom, so to speak, to transmit COVID-19 to my unvaccinated kids, or to somebody with immunocompromise or cancer and is on chemotherapy.”


    Take this to the next level — “Hey, your baby needs the Gardasil, and by puberty, those girls NEED the Depo, Mandatory. We can’t have all these kids running around getting cervical cancer when they are 50. And, come on, easier to implant birth control young so there aren’t any unintended accidents. Just get it over by the time they hit high school.”

    This MD Wen may have a slick and homespun way, and has a new memoir out, but beware of packaging.

    I know for a fact this MD Wen stated at a Planned Parenthood event a few years ago that all the confusion around Gardasil and anti-Gardasil litigation is based on fake science, fake news! Yep!

    Ban an environmental leader and deep researcher lawyer, RFK, Jr. Yep! Ban Ban Ban and vilify.

    Quote — In the past year, Kennedy’s beliefs about vaccines have intersected with the COVID-19 pandemic. He has told his followers not to trust “mainstream media, government health officials” and doctors who say the coronavirus vaccines are safe, recently highlighting a rare and tragic case in which a woman died hours after receiving the vaccine.


    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Gardasil Science Day Presentation Video—

    “Many of the things I’m going to say today would be slanderous if they were not true. And if they’re not true, then Merck should sue me. But Merck won’t do that. And they won’t do it because in the United States, truth is an absolute defense against slander.”

  3. I refused Depo because I had heard of bleeding lasting for months. The doctor was so displeased I was dropped for non compliance. Even though I suffered from a large uterine tumor that needed medical intervention I was dropped for protecting my body from artificial hormones. Due to the fibroid my hormones were a mess however it did not make sense to add Depo to an already bad situation. Eventually I had UFE and my fibroid has shrunk over 90% and I never bled again. No one said this would happen, actually quite the opposite was said. Trust your instincts and sadly think twice before unconditionally trusting your doctor. Saving the uterus is not in their wheelhouse. I had to go outside the speciality and it worked great, much to the GYN,s chagrin.

  4. Good article Mike, very well written. Nice touch, using BB as an analogy. Are they irredeemable? Hopefully the internet will accelerate the solution to this systemic problem. Best regards. I’ll pass this one along.

  5. Wow. I have no words. In the non-profit work I used to do, I used to meet a lot of women who were on some form of hormonal birth control or another. I never met ONE who had anything good to say about Depo. In fact, after talking to one woman who had just recently come off Depo about Fertility Awareness-Based Methods of family planning, she said to me, “I probably will always be on some form of birth control, but I will NEVER do Depo again.” Ladies, we deserve better than this.

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