Anyone who has a womb, who has sex with a partner who has a penis, and wants to avoid getting pregnant. It may also stop periods, or make them lighter. It is an option for people who can’t use contraception containing the hormone oestrogen. It might not be an option for those who are at risk of osteoporosis.
The contraceptive injection steadily releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream, which prevents the release of an egg each month (ovulation).
It also thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to move through the cervix, and thins the lining of the womb so a fertilised egg is less likely to implant itself. If used correctly it can be 99% effective.
It lasts for 8 or 13 weeks (depending on which injection you have) so you do not have to think about contraception every day or every time you have sex during this period.
If you have the injection during the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, you'll be immediately protected against becoming pregnant.
If you have the injection on any other day of your cycle, you'll need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days.
It's very useful for people who find it difficult to remember to take a pill at the same time every day.
The injection releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream, which prevents the release of an egg each month. It also thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to move through the cervix, and thins the lining of the womb so a fertilised egg is less likely to implant itself.
It may also reduce heavy periods.
The injection does not protect you from STIs, so it should be used alongside a barrier method (e.g. condoms, dental dams) if you are having sex with someone who does not know their STI status, or if you do not know yours.
There can be a delay of up to 1 year before your periods return to normal and your fertility returns. You may experience side effects like headaches, acne, hair loss, decreased sex drive and mood swings, and side effects can continue for as long as the injection lasts (8 or 13 weeks) and for some time after.
Speak to your GP or local sexual health professional about getting the injection.
You usually have the Depo-Provera and Noristerat injections in your bottom, but you can have them in your upper arm. They will be administered by a health professional.
You can have the Sayana Press injection in your tummy (abdomen) or thigh and would normally learn to do this yourself, but chat with your doctor before doing this.
real life experiences
"I'd opted for contraceptive injections as I was with a long term partner and didn't want to get pregnant, and was very bad at remembering to take my contraceptive pill! We'd both been tested for STIs so didn't need to worry about that, and it was suggested this might not give me the side effects I'd previously experienced with an implant (near constant bleeding). I attended the sexual health clinic every 2 months to be administered Noristerat, which was injected into my bum cheek by a clinician quite painlessly but usually left a bruise for a couple of days afterwards. I didn't experience any ill effects after these injections, though did have light, irregular bleeding that took about 6 months to settle. After that, I had no periods until I stopped receiving the injection." Zeinab, she/her