Going off depo provera and running...

sorry... total girly question... but not just for girls per se...

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18/07/2008 at 13:35

Hello

Bit personal... but know folk on these threads are a plethora of information...

I recently went off depo provera and I've found I'm really struggling homornally. Emotionally, yes, some ups and downs... but also quite badly physically. I feel tired all the time and not just 'need a good sleep' tired, but as though all the muscles in my body have gone on holiday. Feel very very bloated, retaining water massivly and feel 'puffy' all the time.

And the worst thig is it's affecting my running! I just don't seem to have any energy before, during or after runs. I'm running my routes slower and feeling sluggish, and breathless. And it's really effecting my mental attitude and feeling down and discouraged.

So I guess my question is... anyone else experience this coming off birth control... and does it ever go away so my body can go back to 'normal' and I can run like the wind (or at least pretend that I do).

23/07/2008 at 18:14

I had to come off Microgynon about 18 months ago due to developing blood clots (one of the rare side -effects) and suffered exactly the same symptoms as you, which was a bit of a pain as I was trying to train for the FLM!

I thought that everything would 'settle down' eventually but it didn't,  even after a year. It just got worse each month.  I eventually went back to my GP who put me on a progesterone only pill (apparently its the oestrogen that increases the risk of blood clots) and have been feeling heaps better ever since. Almost back to normal (plodding)!

The gynaecologist I went to see suggested taking agnus castus (a herbal remedy) and starflower oil/evening primrose oil supplements. She also highly recommended acupuncture.

As going back on the pill has pretty much taken care of all my symptoms, I haven't tried  these alternatives but they may be worth a go.

Hope you feel better soon...

24/07/2008 at 11:55

Hi Tripod, thanks so much for your reply on a bit of a personal subject to post on an open forum about! And I am feeling a bit better this past week, so that's a good sign.

Not overly encouraging to hear that your symptoms weren't allieviated until you went back onto another form of contraception...which is something I'm trying to avoid for the time being. Though not trying for a baby just yet, more that I want to give my body a break off all hormones and see what happens when it's 'au natural' as I've been on either the pill or depo for the past 20 years.

Will have a think about it and I'm going for a full tune up next month so will put on the list of things to discuss when I go. I think I'll also wait and see what happens when I start to get my periods again and see if that makes any differences (i.e. will this eventually become a natural monthly PMS type thing or will it continue to be a constant misery).

I do like the idea of trying your suggested herbal remidies and see if they help.

Otherwise, guess time will tell... if I don't feel better after some time I suppose I might have to try and go back on contraception...

Keep running

24/07/2008 at 20:20

HJ  - the wearing off time of depo-provera is notoriously unpredictable - you don't really 'come off it' you just wait for it to wear off and for your normal hormones to kick in. This is very variable and entirely unpredictable between individual women.

Don't forget that it has an almost-guaranteed high level for 3 months, so it only starts to slowly wear off after that period of time. A year with strange hormone levels (and so no periods or ovulation) isn't unusual. There isn't much you can do to speed this process up, I'm afraid. It will settle down, though, when it's ready. 

PS - Don't forget that you never know when the next ovulation is - could be tomorrow - so don't rely on it for contraception after the 3 month mark.

25/07/2008 at 11:31

Hi Blimey, thanks for that. I think I am feeling better about it being something that I'm just going to have to have patience with. It's good to have it reaffirmed that it will wear will off in its own time, and that helps my mentality enormously. I'm not sure what I thought would happen when I stopped getting the injections, but I didn't expect this hormonal burst!

I've been keeping a better eye on my diet this past week and think that will help too.

10/11/2010 at 12:22

Hello

Thought I'd resurrect this thread even though it's an old one, rather than starting up my own, as I've stopped having depo injections after around 5 years of having them, and am wondering about some of the effects.  I'm guessing the original posters are no longer here, but I'm sure current forumites might have some answers.

My last depo injection expired at the beginning of September, so I've effectively had two months off it so far.  My query is around the effect on weight.

A couple of weeks ago I had something approximating a period (although lighter than my 'proper' periods used to be) with accompanying PMS-type symptoms including bloating, soreness in certain areas and water retention.

This has settled down again now the bleeding has stopped, but I seem to be struggling to lose weight. Not that I have an awful lot to lose - less than a stone til I reach my target.

But I'm doing all the things I previously did and lost weight successfully with very little trouble at all (I did so last year - not ten years ago! - but unfortunately have put the weight back on in recent times due to injury/time out from training), but now I've reached a standstill - I've never previously plateaued at my current weight.

I know your BMR goes down as you get older and you therefore require fewer calories, but surely it can't be vastly different within just one year...?

I also know it's still very early days since I stopped receiving the injections, and I'm fully aware of how long it takes for things to get back to normal, but has anyone else had experience of problems with their weight after coming off the depo?

I've done a lot of Googling, but most of the information seems to relate to weight gain/loss while on the depo, rather than off it.  I never had any problems at all with my weight while on it - in fact, I've never had any side effects whatsoever from being on the depo.

Alternative types of contraception aren't an option - I'm 30 now, and I'd like to try and have a baby before I reach 35-40, so I'm working with the idea that it'll probably take a while (although if it doesn't, then fair enough...).  And anyway, I've had so many bad reactions to other contraceptive methods that the depo has been the only thing I've ever been happy with.

Luckily, although I'm still only gradually building my running back up again after injury, I haven't noticed any ill effects on training thus far...

But any ideas on the weight thing are welcome!

Edited: 10/11/2010 at 12:23
10/11/2010 at 20:32
Inability to lose weight could be a sign of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which is a hormonal imbalance which can be masked/treated by contraceptives. If any of the other symptoms fit, you might want to visit the doc for a blood test.
Lix
10/11/2010 at 22:11

Hey Lady Pineapple!

Man, I cannot describe how much I empathise with you right now. I was on depo from Jan 2005 to Aug 2008 and my periods have only just come back. I also gained 4 stone. (I am 32 now)

I found it completely killed my sex drive, made me slightly depressed, my mood swings were mental and yet none of this i attributed to the drug (which, incidentally, is the 'chemical castration drug'  - ie what they give to sex offenders to lower their sexual urges. nice. ) Yes it was GREAT not to have to worry about getting preggo but my god the after effects have SUCKED.

Totally don't mean to bum you out - my intention was to provide solidarity and say YES! i know what you're going thru and it SUCKS!!! What this drug does is undermines your emtabolsim because it makes your body think it's going through menopoause - that's the bit they do not tell youwhen you get it! It's taken me a year and a half to lose 50lbs

i wish you all the best with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lix xxx

11/11/2010 at 12:15

Yup - been there done that!!  I had exactly the same issues as  Lix.  Depo - is a nightmare and it took nearly two years for my body to start feeling my own again.  I don't remember any weight issues (I only had about 3 or 4 injections in around 2004-2005) and I was in my early 30's at the time.

11/11/2010 at 17:24

Crikey!

Thanks for the responses so far, ladies!

I didn't really notice much in the way of ill effects while I was on it - no real difference in libido luckily , I was kind of hoping it might temporarily enlarge my rather tiny boobs a little but sadly it didn't (but at least they stayed comfortably sized for running).

I did have one bout of depression while on it, but I've had depression in the past several times without being on any form of hormone-based contraception, and on this particular occasion it was more to do with my personal circumstances at the time.  As I said, I had no problems with weight (any more than normal, anyway) while on it.

It slightly concerns me that the after effects from coming off it might be so drastic , but I guess I've just go to suck it and see, be patient, and realise I'm not alone...

...and er, maybe starve myself so I don't gain too much weight...?

(Very definitely only kidding on that last one - I am ruled by my stomach and enjoy food far too much...)

11/11/2010 at 17:26

Oh no... I've been on it for 10 years and I'm comtemplating getting off it but this really got me worried... Might switch to a pill to start with...

11/11/2010 at 17:32

Not looking forward to chaos again, though.

Having always had super-regular, predictable, manageable periods all my life, I then had nearly three years of complete chaos trying out different forms of contraceptives before settling on the depo:

  • couldn't take combined pill due to family history of all sorts of medical conditions
  • progestogen-only pill left me with a light but constant 'period' for several months
  • coil left me bent double in agony every month with incurable cramps, and the most horrendously heavy, messy periods I've ever had (sorry if TMI)
  • couldn't bear the thought of risking something as longterm as implants, so thought depo would be a reasonable compromise

Depo really worked for me as it made things predictable again (in that there were no periods).

Ho hum.  Guess I'll have to just grit my teeth and realise it won't be horrible forever...

11/11/2010 at 17:33
Mon77 wrote (see)

Oh no... I've been on it for 10 years and I'm comtemplating getting off it but this really got me worried... Might switch to a pill to start with...

Might be a good idea, Mon - ask your GP about it (caveat here that I'm not an expert on these things).

Unfortunately not an option in my case, as per my previous post.

Edited: 11/11/2010 at 17:34
11/11/2010 at 20:27

Might be a good idea, Mon - ask your GP about it (caveat here that I'm not an expert on these things).

Unfortunately not an option in my case, as per my previous post.

To be honest I don't know what to do anymore.  I spoke with the nurse when I had my last injection and she told me I should definitely consider going off it after such a long time- mainly to sort out the hormons and reduce the risk of ostheoporosis.  She arranged an appointment for me with another nurse who was meant to specialise in contraception.  She proceeded to tell me that if I'm happy on depo there's no need to come off it (unless I want babies which I don't) and that the risk of ostheoporosis is very small at my age (33) with the right diet and enough exercise (definitely getting enoug exercise...).  So it seems like every person I speak to has a different opinion.  On top of it there are so many horror stories about people getting off it or suffering side effects... I have an appointment tomorrow for the next injection and I can't decide if I should just stick with it or ask for a pill
Sprocket    pirate
11/11/2010 at 22:33

Just thought I would add my tuppence worth.  I was on Depo for 2 and a half years for the treatment of endometriosis in my early 20's.  I spoke to the gyne consultant before coming off it and he said that the average time for it to fully be out of your system is 18 months. 

I would suggest taking something like Agnus Castus (I have an unopened packet of it here if anyone wants to PM me I'll happily pop it in the post.  I'm 6 months pregnant so won't be taking it)  There is also a set of vitamins available in boots called something like cycle balance (or words to that effect) that contains a good mixture of the vitamins that are good for helping regain hormonal balance.  I will try and look up the name of it.  I took it with along with a zinc supliment. 

 Sorry to say but Depo is a bit of a nightmare and it does just take time for your body to adjust back.  Frustrating but just have to be patient and try and give it a hleping hand with vitamins.

 R x

Lix
19/11/2010 at 15:37

@Mon - I was told i couldn't be on it for longer than 5 years due to the greatly increased risk of osteoporosis. The more I have looked into it, however, the more I realise that GO's dont actually KNOW a lot of the side effects yet. it was introduced to ghetto areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn unbeknownst to teenaged girls in an attempt to control the teenage pregnancies. 

It's also thought to be a major contributor to the fatty deposits in the back of hips - love handle areas, where you have the injection  -  because of continually injecting a hormone into that site. I truly think it's horrid. There's a move to ban it in the states!

 When my cycle first kicked back in I was having 2 full on periods a month which obviously SUCKED! This went on for about 8 months - thankfully it's calmed down now but boy oh boy it's taken aaaaaaaaages to lose the 50lbs and get my metabolic age from 57 to 16!

I am so glad to find people who are honest about depo on here!!!

 Lix xx

19/11/2010 at 16:35
Lix wrote (see)

It's also thought to be a major contributor to the fatty deposits in the back of hips - love handle areas, where you have the injection  -  because of continually injecting a hormone into that site. I truly think it's horrid. There's a move to ban it in the states!

Hmmmmm can't say I've been affected by the love handles... lucky me 

I've decided to come off it and switch to a pill.  Unfortunately the nurse I had an appointment last week with did not have family planing training (???) and couldn't make a decision on which pill to give me so ended up taking another injection.  Next time I'll make sure I get an appointment with the right person and get it sorted...

Lix
19/11/2010 at 16:42
Mon77 wrote (see)
Lix wrote (see)

It's also thought to be a major contributor to the fatty deposits in the back of hips - love handle areas, where you have the injection  -  because of continually injecting a hormone into that site. I truly think it's horrid. There's a move to ban it in the states!

Hmmmmm can't say I've been affected by the love handles... lucky me 

I've decided to come off it and switch to a pill.  Unfortunately the nurse I had an appointment last week with did not have family planing training (???) and couldn't make a decision on which pill to give me so ended up taking another injection.  Next time I'll make sure I get an appointment with the right person and get it sorted...


lucky you defo!!

family planning training? good grief! better luck next time! There's always abstinence

21/11/2010 at 22:09

There is no scientific proof Depo leaves fatty deposits it is just a rumor. I had Depo every 3 months in my arm for the last 6 years, my arms are very skinny and slightest change, bump or lump would show up straight away. But no nothing shows.

For me Depo has only been a good thing but I am dreading coming of it, not necessarily Depos fault as I was very hormonal and irregular before.

22/11/2010 at 10:59

After all the pain, discomfort and inconvenience of all the other forms of contraceptive I tried, for me personally depo was an absolute godsend.

To be honest, in terms of side effects of being on it, I had absolutely nothing to complain about.

Never had a problem with weight gain - most of my weight was gained when I gave up veganism a few years back and returned to meat-eating, but I'd already been on the depo at that point for a couple of years.

No other nasty symptoms.

But yes, right now I'm struggling to lose weight in a way I really didn't when I was on it.   Admittedly I'm in a healthy weight range and only want to lose half a stone or so in order to fit into some pairs of trousers again, but while I was having the injections I never found it this difficult.

Anyway, I've now got to go back to using good old-fashioned condoms again as my GP has told me I shouldn't be trying to get pregnant while taking amitriptyline - I'm on this for nerve problems in my left hand and IBS, and will be on it for at least another three months. 

Perhaps the amitriptyline could also be having an effect on my weight - it is one of the listed side effects...

But I don't think the amitriptyline is the thing that's making my boobs hurt.

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