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Should We Use Provera or Depo-Provera for Endometriosis?

Pain with Endometriosis

When we read about Provera, it sounds fairly harmless. A drug developed from progesterones (soybeans) which we take to reduce the hormone imbalance in our body. The drug is called Medroxyprogesterone and essentially it was developed to reduce the amount of estrogen in our body. There are a variety of brands and means of taking the drug, from tablets to an injection given four times a year. The dose will also vary depending on what your doctor prescribes for you. It also sounds fabulous as you only need to go for an injection every 4 months and you don’t get your period at all! Fantastic! No period means no pain! Right?

To give you a brief explanation on how this works… essentially we have a higher level of estrogen in our body than we should. It is this heightened estrogen which causes our lining to be thicker than it should and for the endometriosis to form and grow more rapidly. By reducing the estrogen in our body, we reduce the lining and the endometriosis cells from growing as we have cut off the reason they grow too large in the first place.

What Provera does is it mimics the progesterone in the body. Progesterone reduces estrogen. So, what they are essentially doing is giving you more “fake” progesterone to try and get your estrogen levels down. By doing this, we stop ovulating and hence, no lining, no bleeding and no period.

Sounds fair enough? Makes sense, right?

Well, unfortunately, we are essentially playing with a natural balance in the body. The reason we have elevated estrogen in the body is not reviewed at all in this equation. We are simply looking at one area, the endometriosis, and trying to reduce that one problem. When you look deeper, you will find out that the reason estrogen levels are high are numerous but one main one is poor liver function.

The problem with any drug, whether it is the pill, headache tablets or Depo Provera, is that it will affect your liver and your body. It is not natural and your body has to process it as a toxin and get rid of it. The more toxins you give your liver, the more it has to process and the less time it will have for healing your body properly.

Now Depo Provera is really not much different from any other drug prescribed for endometriosis. They all try and do the same thing—solve a symptom the body is sending you. Unfortunately, though it might reduce the symptom (the heightened estrogen levels), it also causes heaps of other problems while it is in your body. It is also important to note that it might reduce the symptoms associated with heightened estrogen while you are on the drug but it will not cure or heal your endometriosis. If anything, it will simply create more imbalances in the body.

I feel it is very dangerous to “play” with our hormones. Sure we have elevated estrogen but taking something to reduce it will simply create other imbalances with other hormones in the body. They are intricate and incredible chemical reactors that don’t just control our periods and our uterus. They perform all sorts of important functions in the body. Who are we to go and dig around in there, within an area we simply don’t understand? It all interlinks and doctors still don’t understand how they all work. So, why are they messing around with it all?

Anyways, there has been some full-on stuff about Depo Provera which will hopefully put you off even considering it.

Here are a list of things I would be worried about:

  • It is not recommended for women with liver problems. This seems contradictory to me when we know that the liver is the main reason we have these problems in the first place.
  • It is known to cause osteoporosis in women. Now, they will say that if you only use it for two years you will be okay. Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases that weren’t and bone loss is not that easily replaced.

The Canadian Coalition on Depo Provera, a coalition of women’s health professional and advocacy groups, opposed the approval of Depo in Canada. Since the approval of Depo in Canada in 1997, a $700 million class-action lawsuit has been filed against Pfizer by users of Depo who developed osteoporosis. In response, Pfizer argued that it had met its obligation to disclose and discuss the risks of Depo Provera with the Canadian medical community. Source: Wikipedia

  • All the usual suspects: migraines, headaches, nausea, hair loss, fatigue, abdominal cramping, irregular bleeding, depression—you know the ones I mean.
  • It actually caused endometrial cancer when it was tested on monkeys! Now, they say it doesn’t have this effect on humans but would you want to risk it?
  • It prevents ovulation which essentially means you won’t be able to try for a baby for at least 9–10monts after being on it.
  • It has been known to cause breast cancer in younger women.
  • Known to cause cardio-vascular disorders.
  • The other thing which I find somewhat concerning is that it is made from soybeans. I can’t find anything to say about what type but if they are the ones I am thinking of, genetically modified ones, then that is really scary!
  • The drug was tested on women in third world countries and from the information I found, it was a very poorly run trial. Do you really want to trust the testing process?


The list goes on. There is a girl who has created a whole site for women who have had bad experiences from Depo Provera. I would strongly advise you read the information on there to see what your life could be like after you have taken this drug.

We have the power to make informed decisions by researching information through the internet and books. Don’t just believe the wonderful marketing messages we get from these pharmaceutical companies. Do your research! Find out more about any drug you are considering. Chances are, they all have side effects and most of them are not worth the current pain of endometriosis you might be experiencing.

Here are some scary stories and things you should read before even considering this drug.

Women stories of their experiences

The case against Depo Provera

So, I hope you stop wondering about any drug treatments for endometriosis. They are all drugs and no matter how pretty the picture is painted, it will have side effects, whether these are obvious to you or not. It is a question on whether you want to risk the long-term damage they do to the body or the pain of endo? Thing is, you can get your endometriosis under control by following the heap of information on this site. It is possible as I have done it. I know the road is longer and seems harder but ultimately you will heal properly and not be faced with possible worse situations by taking drug treatments.

Have any of you tried Depo Provera? What was your experience? What are your thoughts? Feel free to share!

Hugs, Melissa x
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This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Melissa

    It is scary and I totally get that cos I did the same thing with the contraceptive pill. I stayed on it for 15 years. The trouble was, I wasn’t actually treating anything. I was only suppressing symptoms. That might be okay for a little while but eventually it catches up and you land up with more mess to clean up. I really regret not focusing fully on supporting my body.

  2. Sara lucarelli

    I have been on depo over 3 years.I have not had any real bad side effects and my doctor has informed me that recent studies show that any bone loss caused by the depo returns after you come off the shot. I have had a serious reduction in pain and symptoms overall in this drug.I have had no bleeding or spotting at all.

    That said I do understand the liver connection and the concept of further taxing the liver with synthetic hormones. I don’t like the idea of soybeans being the source either. I realize that for complete healing I may need to cease the depo shot yet I must admit I am nervous about doing that. My specialist says since I’m doing well in the depo I should not come off it as the endo will likely flare up and it could be dangerous due to the locations of my adhesions.

    So there’s where I’m at and my two cents

    Thank you so much for this forum

  3. admin

    It will definitely affect the liver. I would strongly recommend telling the doctors about it for sure!
    Big hugs Layla. I hope it gets better soon.

  4. Layla

    I am very curious if anyone knows if this shot can directly affect the liver? I am in the hospital right now fourth day in here and none of the doctors can figure out what’s wrong except that my liver test levels are way to high. Now it might sound crazy but two and a half weeks ago I got the shot like I’ve been doing this is probably the third one I got since I started and that’s when I’ve noticed me getting sicker and sicker each day. Basically if anyone knows if this can directly affect the liver please let me know soon while I’m still in the hospital so I can mention it to the doctors cause they aren’t telling me anything, they just keep taking blood and driving me insane!

  5. Melissa

    When we heal naturally we focus on the root cause of imbalances that may be associated with Endometriosis. That means we include the whole body. So, what we eat, what we think and how we move. The Depo is kinda like a plaster for endo but it may be affecting other aspects of your body as it is synthetic.
    It is totally up to you Bambi and only you can decide what is right for your body 🙂

  6. bambi

    I have been taking depo for 8 years and It has been a life saver for me. I don’t want children (im 37) but I have been looking at going off it and doing something more natural but im very nervous about going through the extreme pain of what I used to before I got the injection
    I want to know if any natural remedies help with the pain? It was unbearable when I had it, the extreme pain, the masses of bleeding. Im just not sure I have the courage to go through that again

  7. Whitney

    I was on depo for about four years and I honestly believe it caused my endo. One of the causes is the blood not leaving the body and that is what depo does. I had no problems what-so-ever until I used and quit the depo shot. I got mine in my stomach too, every where says you are supposed to get it in your arms or butt, not sure if that has anything to do with it.

  8. Melissa

    The best advice I can give you is to just keep reading my blog. THere is so much info on here to help you. Diet is a big thing 🙂

  9. julia

    hello melissa, I just finished my 8 weeks depo shots to treat my 7cm endometrioses because I am so much trying to conceive…can you give me advice regarding the natural way to treat this one.

    thanks a lot!

  10. Kirsty

    Thanks Melissa, Ive followed the endo diet 75 – 80% of the time since May and ive cut out all meat 90% of the time (excpet chicken) and have cut out dairy apart from natural yogurt and occasional feta and changed to almond milk permanently. I will have a look at how to liver detox and your ebook.
    Any suggestions on best place to get the cream and the calcium D glucarate?
    Thanks x

  11. Melissa

    Hi Kirsty,
    I am glad I was able to share more information on Depo. It is good to get informed fully 🙂
    Yes, the approach would be to reduce excess oestrogen as easily as possible. Calcium D Glucarate is another one is really good. This approach doesn’t however get to the source of the problem. The real source is to heal and cleanse the body of toxins, which is done by the liver. Get onto a good liver detoxifier and change what you are eating – fats found in dairy and meat really aggravate the liver. Have you got my free ebook? It explains it heaps better than I can in one reply 🙂

  12. Kirsty

    Hi Melissa,

    I visited my dr for a check up this week and have been described depo provera, I’m so glad I decidedd to have a look what its all about. How awful! If America wont have it then why do we??!! (in UK)
    My boyfs just said dont have it after I told him what could potentially happen with it.
    I had an excision of severe endo, adhesions and 2 ovarian cysts done in April and have been on 6 months of Prostap, that was bad enough with the hot flushes, aching, restless sleep along with other effects.
    I have just had a read of the story of a girl suffering from depo provera and at the end of her story she mentions she is using a progesterone cream and at the bottom is a link to another page about balancing hormones and it also mentions this cream. Is this a good thing to use in reducing oestrogen? He also mentions DIM – the anti – estrogen formula. What would you recommend for treating the oestrogen dominance and preventing the endo coming back? Is not being on any treatmentat all effective? What have all you girls used that have stopped with the depo?
    I am so terrified of it coming back as it ruined and ran our lives for over 2 years

    Thank you so much 🙂

  13. Melissa

    There are better choices out there and perhaps if you did further research on Depo Provera and other hormone drugs you might discover this too. Check out heaps of videos and other websites which also are there to educate you about what they really do to your body. Perhaps you should listen to your bodies signals that it is not happy, when it is bloated and in pain on the very drugs these doctors are prescribing. Check out more scare mongerals here 🙂

  14. concerned

    Well I came across ur website and it has scared me death, s thanks for thatI’ve hadn endo for yrs n had various ops n it has flared up again n currently in on provera and have Been quite bloated and fed up but i think that’s just cos of life in general.
    I don’t really think ur advising others on medicines is a great idea ad you don’t appear to have any medical background?
    My doctor has never mentioned the matters you have discussed and has said it shud help so I will put my faith in her rather than the scare mongering on the internet !
    So thanks for scaring the life out of me!

  15. Melissa

    That seriously does not sound good! I would really consider going off Depo Provera! This stuff is clearly not agreeing with you 🙂

  16. LASHAY

    okay how long have you been taking the depo shot because i have been having alot of complications with the shot such as extrem stress deprission / anxiety and very bad thought of dieing // dej vu // thinking something bad is going to happen chest pain etc…. and im perfectly healthy also heart palpittions

  17. Melissa

    Thanks for sharing Lucy and sorry for your struggles with Depo. You can flush all that bad stuff out of your body….give yourself a good cleanse and your body can heal 🙂
    A great solution for vericose veins is putting some Poke Root on the skin with some castor oil. This will also help with your abdominal area.
    The Lady Computer sounds fabulous! I also found that Apple has an application you can download, like an ovulation calender.
    Hope you find solutions on here 🙂

  18. Lucy

    Hi there,
    I took Depo Provera for about a year. In this space of time I started to get pains, and I went to several doctors, and eventually had a laparoscopy. They found that I had pelvic congestion syndome. The supposed treatment of it was to “keep taking the pill” because I was off the Depo at that point.

    Useless, incompetent doctors obviously either ignorant to pharmaceutical corruption or just self-centred. They did not once support that it could have been caused by the Depo Provera. But I know it was; I was a healthy young girl, and now I have clicking in some of my bones and varicose veins near my ovaries. I hope people stop taking it.

    Alternative; I’m on the Lady Computer for contraception. Its been so far fantastic. It is a reliable fertility monitor (as reliable as the pill) and no hormones put in the body.

  19. Melissa

    Hi Tami. Nice to see you commenting again 🙂 Unfortunately, I don’t think it matters which drug we take, they are all going to have side-effects. Some may be really visible and obvious, others might be not so obvious. We also don’t know how we are going to react to them, now or years later. I know it can be scary to explore other options but personally I wouldn’t even consider any drug now for my healing. They simply focus on symptoms rather and don’t look at the whole body for healing. It is your journey but perhaps these symptoms are signs to explore more natural methods 🙂

  20. Tami-Lynn

    I really enjoyed this article like many I have been reading on your site:) I really didn’t think that Depo was actually that bad for you…I have been on it for 9 months and have been having very horrible symptoms….one I have is discolouration of my skin on my stomach which I have to go for a biopsy on June 2nd….also hair loss which I thought was from Lupron I was on last year….I wonder now if maybe its the Depo causing it….and thank you for this article again 🙂

  21. Melissa

    Hi Judy, Wow! These doctors sound scary! Telling you, you are going to be unhappy and in pain is hardly a good way to advise you on treatment options. I am on neither hormone treatments and I am perfectly happy and mostly pain free! 🙂 At least you are strong enough to recognise these are not the right thing for you.
    Why don’t you try a natural therapist, homeopath, Traditional Chinese Doctors or any of the holistic doctors out there? They look at the whole body when healing and consider all the organs in making decisions for your overall health. Read some of the success stories on my blog and this will really encourage you to keep looking.
    Check out this article :http://endoempowered.com/just-take-it-all-out-i-need-relief-what-you-need-to-know-about-having-a-hysterectomy/
    There is a link to Carolyn from Endo Resolved story about how she overcame endo. It is a great read and really encouragin!

    You have it in you to heal! Just follow what you instinctively know and you will find the right path for you 🙂

  22. Judy

    WOW! Decided not to take Depo anymore. I have never been so depressed in all my life not to mention that Depo didn’t stop my bleeding but I have been bleeding everyday since Sept. 2010 and it is April 2011.
    The OBGYN said after the second shot to continue it as it takes time for out body to accept the Depo. I took shot number three and four and two weeks ago had severe abdominal pain and went back to him immediatly at 10PM. He did a pelvic ultrasound and told me that my uterus is much larger and sick because of the Endo, he said that I must have a hystorectomy. I did my research and talked to another DR. who told me that I should get off the Depo and treat the pain of Endo and having a hystorectomy doesn’t mean that your not going to have Endo. I have changed my diet dramatically and taking Ibuprophen three x a day. The Doc wants me to try a new hormone treatment but I don’t think this is the right decision. He said if I don’t take it I will have bad pain and be unhappy.
    Any ideas?

  23. Melissa

    Hi Ann-Marie and thank you for sharing! I only used Depo for a year but it didn’t take at all. I just got spotting with it. I am glad it gave you some relief and was able to help in the short term. More importantly I am glad you have decided to explore the natural options now 🙂
    I will definitely look up more on the info you have sent. It sounds very interesting and helpful. Glad you love the site and hope to hear from you again soon!

  24. Ann-Marie

    Hi Melissa,

    I’m 35 yr old Irish fem. I have Grade 4 endo, diagnosed 4 years ago. I used depo for two years and I have to say I had no side affects, it completely took my pain away, no cysts and no daily cramping, interestingly enough it didn’t stop my periods, lightened them yes and no Pain! I had a bone density test towards the end of the two years and that too was fine. I was actually very happy on this injection, and obviously very fortunate not to have some of the terrible experiences other women have had. I decided myself to stop taking the depo and see what happened, so less than a year later I have a number of ovarian cysts again, I’m currently attending a herbalist and also an amatsu (google this!) therapist for my lower back pain and to gently help with “unsticking” my organs. It’s been just a month, so I’ve a way to go yet but I’m patient and I’m happy to be taking the natural route this time, yes it’s harder work than turning up at the doctor for a needle lol, but I’m hoping to God that I will have a result from my efforts on the diet front combined with the herbal tonics. I absolutely love your site, there’s so much info on it I could read all day. I just wanted to put in my bit about the depo incase there are other women out there on it who have no problem with it, I would say read up on it I only did this after I stopped and feel very lucky that it didn’t upset my system in any obvious way as it seems to have done to others. Hopefully it’s long gone from my body now, I think it probably is. Anyway keep posting those great blogs. 🙂 All the best.

  25. Melissa

    It is my pleasure Laura! Well done on the ordering Maca and Aloe – your first two steps! It all starts with little decisions we make each day. Yes, it is definitely related to depression but Maca will help this tremendously. If it still doesn’t work after 3months try some St Johns Wort Oil.
    It is amazing how many clues we miss when we aren’t listening! 🙂

  26. Laura

    Thanks for the reassurance Melissa 🙂
    I think also looking back there were quite a few signs with my digestive system that may have given me a clue about my endometriosis.
    I’m also intrigued to know whether my hormone inbalance could in anyway be linked with my depression…
    I now want to investigate side effects of microgynon and consider coming off it in the future. I know I need to do it sustainably but am making steps in the right direction….about to order some maca root powder and aloe vera today! 🙂
    Take care and thanks again for your wise words and guidance.

  27. Melissa

    It is my pleasure Laura! I love writing and helping women so it is great when I get responses like yours :). I think it is a combination. I have also come from what I like to call a poor “gene pool”. I also drank a fair bit in my teens but I think my symptoms were there even before then. I used to get sick from too many sweets and struggle with car sickness and all sorts of signals when I was a kid so perhaps my drinking and poor diet in my teens just pushed it over the edge. Alot of it is also emotional so who knows exactly but I reckon it is a combination and we can kinda go through each one and tick them off and that way we can heal it 🙂
    No probs! I shall do 🙂

  28. Laura

    Dear Melissa,

    Thank you so so much for taking so much time and energy to put this article together.
    It’s certainly given me a lot to think about.
    I was having doubts about provera before, but now I definitely do!!
    I ultimately want to be able to come off microgynon and be completely natural and have a goal to aim for: to become pain free through natural methods.
    I used a natural contraceptive method (persona) for 4 years before I got diagnosed and I found this stablised my moods and made me feel healthier in general. (I have a history of depression so taking hormones is worrying for me).
    After my laproscopy and my diagnosis, I felt I had no choice but to go on the pill and suppress my periods, although I hated how unnatural this was, I was glad to be pain free for a bit. Now I’ve had time to come to terms with my diagnosis, I know this is not how I want to live the rest of my life, waiting for the next laproscopy and taking hormones to change how my body responds.
    It was so interesting what you said about the liver, I didn’t realise that endometriosis can be caused by a liver inbalance.
    I had a shiatsu massage in 2006 and my therapist said he could sense a liver inbalance!!
    I did nothing about it because at the time I had no pain or real symptoms, apart from perhaps some mild digestion issues. It feels looking back that my endometriosis was developing then. I drank way too much in my teens and during university. Do you think this abuse of the body has somehow led to endometriosis or is it purely genetic as I know it runs in my family?

    Keep writing, your blog is amazing and inspiring, thank you!!!

    Laura x

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I'm Melissa

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