Michelle - posted on 12/17/2013 ( no moms have responded yet )
So I've read a lot of horror stories, and not horror stories about getting off the depo shot. I did my research right after my last shot, as I knew that was going to be the last shot I got for a while, or maybe even for good. I read a whole lot of things about the 6-12 month wait for before even having something similar to a cycle, much less a full on cycle, or the 12-18 month about the returning of fertility.
Well, as I'm sure a lot of you know, that is not necessarily true. Here I am 4 months and 1 day off the shot and boom! A full on cycle with intense bleeding, not so much intense cramps! I know a lot of women are iffy about the shot and a lot of women getting off the shot are very interested in how their body may react. So I figured I would share my story, and continue on telling you ladies about my experience thus far and hopefully keep you guys posted about the returning of my fertility and my post depo symptoms.
I began the shot Nov. of 2009. Stuck with it for 4 straight years and never missed a single one. A lot of doctors I have talked to about it say to get off of it for a year after you've been on for about 2 years. They didn't tell me at the time (thanks!!) but I never saw any trouble with the shot. I also never once had a period or even spotted the entire 4 years.
Fast forward to August 2013! The 16th of August would have been my next shot after the last shot I received before quitting. I decided I would let my body rest for a bit, and not start up on the pill as I wanted my body to have a natural cycle before I began something new. Well the first 2 weeks I was off the shot I had a bit of dark brown spotting. It didn't bother me or strike me as strange as my hormones had been all kinds of crazy and probably raging, so I figured oh well whats a little bit of old blood going to do? About a week after that, my breasts became incredibly sore, and swollen. What a pain! Bras were so uncomfortable, so for a while (I think an entire month), I resorted to thick hoodies and shirts with a bandeux underneath to escape the irritation!!! My breasts felt lumpy, stiff/hard, and very very tender. My left breasts even started leaking! But no fear!!! It was just hormones. I never once suspected I was pregnant.
Anyways, fast forward another week and a half. I started having very unusual cervical mucous. Kind of like leukorrhea. The white, excessive discharge. Except mine was thick and ongoing. It was not a yeast infection though. No smell, itch, burning sensation or clumpiness! If anyone is wondering what it was, my body just hadn't had a cycle yet, or in 4 years for that matter, and this was my bodies was of doing what is called 'Priming'. It was basically getting ready to have a cycle, it just had to 'prime' itself to be able to do its job since it hadn't done so in such a long time! I also never suspected pregnancy at this time either.
A few days later I had a physical and decided to inform my doctor about this, though I knew nothing was wrong, and asked if I could have an ultrasound to see if my body might try and ovulate. Sure enough at the ultra sound, 2 1/2 months after stopping depo provera, my left ovary had a dominant follicle. It was dilated at 11x14. Not fully ready to ovulate, but a dominant follicle none the less. I decided I would get some ovulation test to test over the course of a week if I felt necessary or if I noticed any unusual (for me at the time) discharge. Never experienced any nor felt the urge to check my LH surge.
November 12 of this year, I consulted with my doctor about my being "severely underweight." She explained she feels like that was why my body wasn't having a cycle just yet, but at the same didn't dismiss the fact that it was unusual for depo users. Keep in mind I am only 88-90 pounds at any given time. I rarely exceed 90 pounds, even on birth control. She confirmed that depo was completely out of my system, as my body metabolizes EVERYTHING and ANYTHING super fast. This also means that the fatty cells that store lady hormones (progesterone), are very few if not non existent in my body. My doctor felt this was why depo didn't show up in my urine test either and therefore was "out of my system".
She told me to come back a month later, Dec. 12 if I hadn't started a cycle and she would put me on the progesterone challenge.
The progesterone challenge basically kick starts your period, for those wondering. It helps your body build up a lining on the uterus, then once you are done with the medication your body sheds that lining, thus creating a 'false' period, but also helping cleanse out the uterus so it can create its own lining and help you start a natural, healthy cycle.
Dec. 12 of this year I returned, and she was surprised I hadn't bled yet. She prescribed the progesterone challenge and my generic (cheap) birth control. That works best for me which is why I use it, not too mention I don't want the implants or anything like that!
She called my prescription into the pharmacy nearest me, and unfortunately I was not able to receive it on that day.
On the day before my Dr. visit however, I had light brown spotting, similar to my spotting 2 weeks post depo, that lasted about a day and a half. Very light, with a pinkish tinge. Anywhoo, it had quit the night before my visit, and I had figured my body was 'priming' some more.
Dec. 12 about 11:45, right before I went to bed, I went to the bathroom. As I wiped I noticed the light pink, slightly reddish spotting I had, but it wasn't enough to concern me, so it didn't.
Friday, Dec. 13, 7:00 a.m. I wake up to get ready for work, and surprise! Nothing! Just to be safe though I packed some tampons and panty liners, and decided to wear a tampon with a panty liner just in case.
8:50 a.m. I go the restroom at work and lo and behold. I'm bleeding! A full blown period!! At least I was hopeful! I ended up bleeding the rest of the day at work and was very excited that my body was doing it's thing!!
It was kind of like a big middle finger to the progesterone challenge...which actually didn't get called in until the 14th!
(On a funny note before I continue, you know how women have that sixth sense about their 'time of the month' or as my friends and I call it 'shark week'? Literally 3 days before my spotting began I was at the store with a friend buying another friends some snacks for work. When we were leaving the store I told him "Hey, I feel like I am going to start to period!" That night my discharge was heavy, so I finally tested for the LH surge. Still nothing. So I'm thinking no ovulation this period, just bleeding which is fine. I say no ovulation because the entire 4 months I was off the shot I was with my partner, protection-less might I add, and no baby! I am not trying diligently with my husband though either. We figure it might help if we don't fret about it or plan it (: )
Anyways, my diary/schedule since Friday has been like this for those wondering!
Dec. 14th, day 2 of bleeding; Bleeding was medium, crampy/bloated and 2nd FULL day of bleeding.
Dec. 15th, day 3; Heavy beginning of morning, lightened up to flow by end of day. 3rd FULL day of 'official period'.
Dec. 16th, 4th day of bleeding; still bleeding, spotting in the morning through afternoon, heavy bleeding at night and before bed. 4th FULL day of bleeding.
Dec. 17th, 5th day; kind of let off until arriving at work at 9 a.m. Started medium then went back to heavy bleeding. 5th FULL day of bleeding.
I figured I would keep you ladies posted who are wondering about depo shot side effects, or coming off of the depo side effects! (: I will continue to update as often as I can about this situation and try to track ovulation!!
I also work in a clinic and will try to figure out more about this shot and its side effects! (fertility delay, anxiety, sore boobs, the works!) Thanks for reading my super long post and if you have any questions feel free to comment or message me!!