This particular morning, Sheri*, a Northeastern senior, is able to get out of bed. With difficulty, she pushes past the chronic pain in her back and shoulder muscles and manages to get dressed. The clothes she wears are not the trendy, youthful clothes of a normal 22-year-old girl in college, but instead a baggy grey sweat suit that hides the nearly 20-pound weight gain she is still trying to work off. She covers her face in makeup to conceal the painful acne that has flared up once again.
The advertisement for Depo-Provera, a contraceptive vaccination, sounded appealing to Sheri, as she had trouble remembering to take her current form of birth control.
“It said that I would not have to worry about taking a pill every day, that it was more effective than other forms of birth control, and that the main side effect was that my period might completely go away,” Sheri said. “That sounded wonderful to me.”
Depo-Provera is a form of birth control that requires an injection every three months. Each shot prevents pregnancy for 12 weeks, and it is completely reversible. Depo is cited by Planned Parenthood as one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control.
So Sheri did as the advertisement directed her to do and asked her doctor about it. She made sure to ask plenty of questions during the consultation. She was told that she simply might gain a minimal amount of weight, possibly five pounds, and that her menses would indeed diminish or even just not occur. However, the side effects she began to encounter after her second shot were much more serious, and she is not alone. Sheri belongs to an online support group called “Depo Provera Horror Stories,” a site composed o...
... middle of paper ...
...f birth control in order to cleanse her body of the chemicals she had such a harsh reaction to.
“I am just starting to feel normal again,” she said. “If I had known that this had happened to other women on Depo, I never would have taken it.”
Doctors have told her that the side effects should stop occurring 12 to 14 weeks after discontinuing the medication, but that she would probably not be able to conceive for close to a year.
Fortunately for Sheri, her mother is a nutritionist, and has helped her make lifestyle choices to aide in detoxification.
“If it wasn’t for my mom, and some good doctors along the way, I never would have made it. I would have went crazy thinking I was getting sick over nothing,” Sheri said. “I am trying to stay far away from prescription drugs now, unless I am absolutely certain that I need them.”
*Last name withheld on request.
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