Depo-Provera, often just called the Depo shot for short, is a contraceptive injection that contains a synthetic version of the natural hormone progesterone.

How does it work?

The Depo works by stopping ovulation (release of an egg) from the ovaries. You come to the clinic every 10-13 weeks to receive the injection in either the arm or the hip.

What are the benefits and side effects?

Benefits include no pill/patch/ring to remember, less period cramps, less heavy bleeding, improvement in endometriosis symptoms, and a decrease in likelihood of uterine cancer. In most people, Depo will eventually cause periods to stop altogether, and may be a great option for those struggling with heavy or painful periods. Side effects can include mood changes, headache, breast tenderness, and increased appetite among others. It can also cause irregular, lighter bleeding at any time. If you experience side effects, they may continue until the Depo is metabolized out of your system. Another side effect may include temporary bone thinning, in which the density is usually recovered after stopping Depo. To protect your bones while using the Depo, it is important to do weight bearing exercise regularly and get the recommended daily allowance of calcium through your diet or supplements.


The Depo shot not protect against STIs. If any you experience any serious side effects, contact Bridgercare, the Bozeman Health Hospital Emergency Department, or a clinic near you.