You can use several options to prevent unwanted pregnancy. One of many birth control methods is Depo-Provera, which is essentially a hormone injection. It provides you with a high dose of a synthetic version of progesterone, called progestin. When you take the Depo shot, it leads to certain hormonal changes and prevents your ovaries from releasing an egg. You just cannot get pregnant when your ovaries have not released an egg. Depo-Provera has a good success rate and works great for the treatment of endometriosis, but you may experience some side effects, such as spotting while on Depo. Let's find out why it happens and what you can do about it.

Spotting While Using Depo and Common Bleeding Problems

It is actually quite common to notice spotting while on Depo-Provera for birth control. It leads to a change in your menstrual cycle, which can result in irregular spotting or bleeding. You are more likely to have spotting during the first 6-9 months of taking the shot. 

Here is more about the most common bleeding problems you may experience during this phase:

  • Breakthrough Bleeding: It is possible to continue experiencing spotting or light bleeding between periods for several months after taking the shot. In fact, more than 70% of women taking the shot are likely to experience breakthrough bleeding. It may continue during the first year.

  • Heavy Periods: You may have irregular periods after taking the shot. Some women complain about having periods longer and heavier than their normal menstrual period. The problem goes away when you continue to use this birth control method for several months.

  • Lighter Periods: The other extreme to experiencing heavy periods is to miss your menstrual period completely. Sometimes, you will have lighter periods and on other occasions no period at all. It is common for your period to stop after taking the shot, but even if you have it, it could be much lighter than your regular period.

While the Depo shot works quite well, it is still a good idea to take a pregnancy test after regular intervals. That is mainly because every birth control method has a failure rate, and the Depo-Provera is not an exception.

Is There Any Way to Stop the Spotting While on Depo

Unfortunately, there is no specific way to stop the unexpected bleeding caused by the Depo shot. If you are really concerned about these side effects, simply stop using the birth control. Even when you stop taking the shot, you may continue to experience bleeding because you will be under the effect of that birth control shot for at least three months. However, you will expose yourself to risk of becoming pregnant when you are not using the Depo shot. In this case, you may want to talk to your doctor to know about dealing with the side effects of the Depo shot or trying other birth control options. Here are a few options:

Go for Estrogen Treatments

If you are finding your bleeding issues to be very annoying, you may consider going for estrogen treatments. Here are some of the options your doctor may consider:

  • Conjugated Estrogens: They may give you a combination of Cenestin, Enjuvia, and Premarin to help treat your symptoms.

  • Micronized Estradiol: They may give you Gunodiol orEstrace, which are obtained from plant sources. This estrogen type is easy to digest and may help deal with your symptoms.

  • Estradiol Patch: They may give you a trans-dermal skin patch, such as Climara, Alora, and Estradem to help treat your symptoms.

  • Estradiol Vaginal Ring: They may recommend the use of a flexible ring to provide you with vaginal estrogen. Keep in mind that this is not like NuvaRing.

Estrogen therapy works by repairing tissue and promoting the growth of uterine lining. It also helps stabilize your blood vessels, which in turn lower your risk of having bleeding after getting the shot. It is fine to use estrogen therapy while taking the Depo shot.

Try Tranexamic Acid

Sometimes, your doctor prescribes this medication as a treatment for your bleeding issue caused by the birth control shot. Fibrinolysis is a normal body process that helps prevent blood clots, and Tranexamic acid can help prevent this process to help treat your bleeding issues.

Mefenamic Acid

Your doctor may prescribe this medication to treat your bleeding issues. You usually need to take a dose of 500mg two times a day to get positive results. Keep in mind that it is not a long-term solution, mainly because Mefenamic acid is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which is why it can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.


While it is usually used to cause abortion, your doctor may prescribe it to treat your bleeding issues if they are because of the Depo shot. You have to use it in low doses only. You can find a dose of 200mg in the United States, but keep in mind that it can cause some other side effects too.

Other Side Effects of the Depo-Provera Shot

Spotting while on Depo is a common concern, but it is possible to experience some other side effects as well. For instance:

  • You may end up gaining some weight after taking the Depo shot on a regular basis. This is more common during the first year of taking your contraceptive injection. After the first year, not all women continue to gain weight. Some notice no change in their weight at all, but others may have to pay attention to their diet to manage their weight better.

  • You may notice your bones become weak with the use of these contraceptive injections. Thinning of the bones is a common problem but usually affects you during the first year of taking the Depo shot. It is therefore important to take some care and avoid getting in situation that may cause you to fall or injure yourself. Moreover, you should consult with your doctor if you already have an underlying problem, such as osteoporosis.

  • What's more, you may also have to deal with other common issues, such as tiredness, headache, breast tenderness, stomach upset, nervousness, depression, and dizziness.


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