How does it work?
- The injection contains a progestogen hormone, which prevents ovulation (the release of an egg) and thickens the mucus at the entrance to the womb, making it difficult for sperm to get through.
- It’s given by a healthcare professional.
- You can either get an injection once every two months or once every three months.
How reliable is it?
- It has a very high reliability when administered by a trained healthcare professional, and given within the correct timeframe.
What are the benefits?
- It’s very reliable and doesn’t require you to remember taking a pill every day.
- Progestogen-only injections are suitable for women who are breastfeeding, or who don’t tolerate oestrogen, or when oestrogen is contraindicated.
- Injections can reduce heavy, painful periods and help with premenstrual syndrome.
What are the risks?
- It does not protect against STIs.
- Some women experience headaches, dizziness, spots and greasy skin, bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, abdominal discomfort and changes in mood and sex drive.
- Once the injection has been administered, side effects can be more difficult to control as the hormones cannot be removed from the body.
- Injections can cause irregular bleeding, which may take a while to settle down. Some women will eventually not bleed at all.
- Depending on the type of injection, it may take up to one year for your period and fertility to return after stopping injections.
- With progestogen-only injections, adolescents and women over the age of 45 may have a risk of losing bone mineral density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis in later life, however some studies have shown that bone mass recovers after stopping the injection.
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This website is intended to provide information to a local audience within South Africa.
Last updated on 11 June 2015