My name is Hannah Nowlin and I am 37 years old. I got the Depo Provera shot 2 years ago and I still don’t feel like myself.
The reason I got the shot was because I was having heavy bleeding each month during my period. It was from fibroids. The bleeding was so heavy that I would get sick each month I lost so much blood. I was referred to an OB-GYN in Springfield, MO. She told me I couldn't do the birth control pills because that would make the fibroids bigger. She told me my only options were to get a hysterectomy or to get the Depo Provera shot to help stop the bleeding, plus be a birth control. I asked her if I could get a hydro-ablation that is water that goes up into the uterus to scar the lining of the uterus so that I wouldn't bleed each month like I was doing. Plus I was not planning on having any more children. She told me that wasn't a good option. I don't remember why, honestly.
Before the nurse gave me my first and only Depo Shot I've ever gotten, I asked her if there would be any side effects I'd have to deal with. I was a little worried. She just looked at me and said, "Oh no! You'll do fine." I trusted her because she was a nurse. I trusted the OB-GYN knew what I needed. I didn't hear any warning of what could be certain side effects. She never mentioned any possible negative side effects at all.
I literally started to feel a difference in the parking lot of the clinic where I walked out from getting this shot. I thought to myself, "Surely this won't get worse." I was worried. I felt anxious. I felt a physical anxiety from it.
The next few weeks were hell. I became a different person. The powerful amount of the fake progesterone steroid that is in the shot literally changed me. I was in a constant panic, now I realize it’s from the progestin in the shot that was causing my glands to work overtime in producing too much cortisol and adrenaline. I was on edge like I'd never felt before. So much so that I would snap at my family members for nothing. I remember vacuuming one night in our living room and my husband wasn't home from work yet. I started to feel anxious and angry (it was all physical) because nothing happened that would have made me angry. I started reacting too strongly to my kids and yelling and screaming at them and it scared my so badly that I locked myself in our laundry room. I threw myself in the corner with my head on my knees and just sobbed and screamed till I wore myself out. I just couldn't control myself. It was devastating to me. I didn't want to be this mean to my family but I just couldn't help it so I put myself at a distance from them as much as possible and this hurt because it made me feel lonely.
On top of this, I felt even more alone because I didn't know what was going on and I didn't have any sex drive any longer. My husband would try to come onto me and I would feel literal physical nausea I had not felt before with him. I knew it had to be hormonal then so I started researching on the negative side effects of the Depo Provera shot. Sure enough, website after website had in their lists, things that I was dealing with. Things like, decreased sexual desire, anxiety, panic attacks, achy muscles and joints, decreased muscle strength, trouble sleeping.
I remember being at my parents for the holidays and I stayed up literally all night for three nights in a row! I simply could not sleep. During those days I would feel sleepy but then when I tried to nap I couldn't fall asleep so I would go to despair. I was so depressed. I also had this feeling that I needed to "freak out" all the time. I always had this urge to scream. I was on edge. I yelled at my kids while at my parents' house during Christmas and I remember afterwards my mother coming up to me with this sad look on her face and she said, "This isn't you." I said, "I know. Something isn't right." I later told her it was the hormone imbalances caused by the shot poison. I felt so ashamed.
Also, nothing was enjoyable anymore. I didn't enjoy everyday activities like being with my children. Because I always felt terrible and anxious. I was not myself. I was nauseated and scared and didn't want to leave my house. I didn't enjoy movies.
It has been almost 2 years now and I'm just now starting to get over this Depo shot. It was one shot! And it has taken this long for me to get over it just some! I'm not even back to normal yet. I've been on survival mode for this long. All the symptoms I mentioned above are still here, they are just at a lesser amount. But I'm still depressed and anxious. I deal with panic attacks on a daily basis. I still get easily upset and I still feel on edge. I don't enjoy movies or going out or being with my kids. This is not me. I used to love movies, hanging out with my family, laughing, eating and exercising. Even exercising is harder because my muscles have become weaker from the shot. This is a side effect. And because it's difficult to exercise, it's harder to lose the 40 lbs. I gained from the shot in only a few months! I went to a different OB-GYN who told me in order to get all the fake progesterone out of my system and because the Depo Shot is a steroid that sticks to fat cells, I need to lose all the weight I had gained from the shot. I have a slight scoliosis in my spine and it has made my spine weaker so even dealing with this is more difficult. I still feel stuck from all of this that needs to change in my body. I think if I had had one more of the Depo Provera shots, it would have killed me. I honestly would have rather died. Nothing is worse than this, and I've been to the hospital for drug withdrawal and it was not this bad. Withdrawals are painful but this is more painful and it doesn't subside. It is hell on earth.
I pray every day it gets out of my system. I have started eating better and have lost about 30 of the 40 lbs. I had gained. I know it is still in my system because I haven't lost the 10 lbs. I have to detox the steroid by losing those 10 lbs. They surely seem to stick. There are things I want to mention that I have done to help me get through this. One of the things that helped significantly that I started about the 2nd week after the shot, was estrogen. I was reading that estrogen can help balance progesterone effects. I'll never forget the first time I took that first Estradiol Rx pill. At first I took up to 3 pills of 2 mg tablets of Estradiol a day. It helped so much with my anger and anxiety I felt from the shot. I felt relief from symptoms like anxiety and nausea in 15 minutes the first pill of it I ever took after taking that shot! So I recommend taking Estradiol. You do have to ask your doctor for it and that could be difficult to do, but if your doctor will not prescribe Estrogen for you, then you can take things that are natural like Wild Yam or supplements that have natural estrogen in them. Something I took when I wasn't taking the Estradiol Rx was the supplement Black Cohosh. This helped with my anxiety and my moodiness that is extreme with such extreme amounts of fake progesterone in the system. I also recommend taking oils that help the body produce real progesterone towards the end of it getting out of the system which for me has taken 2 years. I'm down to 136 lbs from the 160lbs, so the progesterone is started to get released out all the way out of my system, but now my body is trying to get back to normal from all the trauma and hormonal chaos the Depo Shot caused. So natural oils and plants or herbs, like supplements (which are God's medicines for us) help a lot in getting the hormones regulated again. I've taken, for instance, Endo-AId, which is to help with hormone imbalances. I take it 2 times a week internally with bread so it doesn't irritate my stomach. I also use something called Progessence Plus by Young Living. The Wild Yam has natural progesterone from plants to harmonize the body.
This thing that is so terrible about Depo Provera, is not only how synthetic it is, but how much of it there is and how this imbalances normal hormone levels that mess up mood, sleep and make you feel terrible all the time. It is like poison and the body is constantly stressed because of this and this causes increase in cortisol levels which then causes constant anxiety. So it is a downward spiral not even worth the convenience it claims to give. I'd rather not have the convenience and have my health and well-being.
There are major differences in natural progesterone and fake progesterone that comes from Depo Provera. Our own progesterone supports fetuses, holds pregnancy, essential for cardiovascular health, stimulates hair growth, calms mood and promotes sleep, and prevents breast cancer. Fake progesterone, like the kind of chemical in Depo Provera, causes harm to fetuses, can terminate pregnancy, increases the risk of fatal blood clots, causes hair loss, causes anxiety and depression, and increases the risk of breast cancer. So when our bodies are pumped with fake progesterone, our thyroids that produce good progesterone gets confused and can stop making our own hormones. (Source: www.larabriden.com). Wild Yam is a supplement that has natural progesterone.
I lost half of my hair with the one Depo shot I had. It has been depressing and is just now growing back some. It won't grow long anymore. I had to cut it pretty short the first year after the shot because it got so thin. I had never had to do that before in my entire life. It hurt.
It's very difficult for me to exercise because this shot has caused me a lot of muscle fatigue, so I get depressed and don't feel any hope in exercising. But I read that exercising can help our thyroid to regulate and helps depression and anxiety and with fat loss that can get rid of the Depo Provera chemical steroid quicker. So, I make myself exercise now and it helps, though I cannot physically do it for long because of the weakness the shot has caused. But I have gotten stronger though I am not strong yet. I believe and pray one day I will be. Swimming helps because it helps my joints that ache now too.
Another supplement I just started taking for my thyroid health is iodine. It's called nascent iodine dietary supplement. It is in droplet form. The iodine put in iodized salt is simple not enough or the adequate type or form of iodine that helps our thyroids. Thyroids help our hormones. Most humans don't get enough iodine which we all need desperately anyway for normal hormone function, so I know this is helping.
I have been taking a supplement called Calcium Bone Maker Complex by Doctor's Best, since I researched and heard the Depo Shot leaches calcium from bones. So be sure to take this or at least some calcium supplement. This is the best one I've ever taken. It's good because it has other minerals in it to help the calcium absorb into the bones.
I've had to be on anti-depressant Celexa and anti-anxiety medication like more of the Neurontin I was taking plus diazepam just to stop my panic attacks I was having everyday from the shot. It also has messed with my sleep. I would be up for days and didn't know what was going on until researching the side effects of this shot. So, I recommend a sleep aid like Alteril that I purchase on Amazon, or even a prescription sleeping pill if you have trouble sleeping from this Depo Provera shot. Otherwise your lack of sleep will make you more depressed.
I also recommend getting a support group. I have found people online in forums telling their horror stories of Depo Provera and this made me feel less alone. I knew then that I hadn't just gone crazy. I knew how horrible it truly was for too many women. It's not worth being on the market for even one women's life being destroyed by it. It's morally wrong and I believe the FDA approved it for monetary reasons.
It is also very scary that people in medical school are not taught the potential dangers of this drug. It baffles me. The only reason my husband, who is now a family doctor, knows how terrible this shot is because he has seen how it has changed me into a different person firsthand. His eyes were completely opened to it and now he won't give it to women and takes women off of it and warns them of the terrible side effects that are so bad that if they were to happen to these women they would have terrible regrets. Some women claim not to have issues firsthand like me or others, but that doesn't discount how horrible it is for too many of us and how it is affecting these other women's bodies in the long run.
This Depo Provera has cost me too much. It has cost me emotional health (I cried every day for a year on it). It cost me the health of my closest relationships like my husband and my children. I still can't have sexual intimacy with my husband because I have zero sex drive and this has caused so much harm but he realizes I'm not the same person and so he doesn't blame me. He gives me a lot of grace and I'm thankful to God for this every day, because otherwise where would we be!?! I don't know if I will ever be the same person again and this grieves and scares me and makes me very saddened. It's even difficult to be writing about it. But I write this because I want to warn women and others about this and I want as many people as possible to not have to go throw this hell. I want this to be spread to all the medical schools as literature for their schooling. Wouldn't that be awesome?! I believe it can be done and I'm thankful for the person who decided to compile some of these stories to help warn others.
I hope that my story has helped and gives some hope too. I believe and pray everyday that I'm healed of the damage this shot has caused to my body and even my soul and spirit. One part of you can't be hurt without the rest of the unseen part of you not being affected as well. And this is what it has done to me. I'm in constant anxious turmoil that is not as extreme as it was at first but because it's not as extreme I have hope. My body is extra sensitive to chemicals and drugs like this so it will take longer for me to heal. Everyone's chemistry is different, so don't think just because mine is taking years to get out of my system and get better that yours will take as long. I've heard all different amounts of times in people's getting better. I have another friend who had one shot of the Depo like I did, and she told me recently that she is just now starting to feel more like herself after 3 years! One lady told me it took 8 years for her to feel normal again! Don't believe the textbook answer they teach doctors that it will be out of the system and you'll be normal in 3 months. A lot of doctors think this. I went to one older OBGYN who has seen more and he told me some women don't ever get back the same. This was sobering and depressing and I hope he said it just for liability's sake. But part of me believes him. Please warn your friends and spread the news so that others can know not to chance what this horrible drug can do to their bodies.