October 27, 2009 11:49 AM   Subscribe

So, I'm trying the Depo Provera hormone shot birth control for the first time. It's been about 2 weeks since my first shot, and I'm experiencing some weird effects which may or may not be related to the hormones now coursing through my veins.

So, physically I feel fine. The first day I felt a little woozy, and I have had some slight nausea, but it's the psychological effects that are throwing me for a loop.

I'll start things off by explaining a bit. I'm on b.c. for my irregular and ridiculously painful menstrual cycles. When I was in High School I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, and they put me on the pill.

Two weeks into it, I felt more depressed and listless than I ever have before. We're talking serious sobbing spells about absolutely nothing. I stopped taking them and everything went right back to normal.

When I got to college I tried the NuvaRing. It was amazing, I loved it and I stayed on it for a full two years. At the end of that time, my insurance ran out, and without insurance my beloved NuvaRing is $50 a month.

It's been a few years now, and with new insurance that covers some b.c. but not the ring, I decided to try the quarterly Depo shot. I knew it was a risk with my history of emotional side effects with b.c., but I wouldn't know unless I tried.

And... here's the result. I've had a little spotting and occasional slight nausea, but the most remarkable change is in my demeanor.

I am so PISSED OFF! I am not an angry person, in fact most of my life I have been on the timid side, usually avoiding conflict like the black plague. I've witnessed my personality shifting in a few ways recently, but I've been especially surprised by my recent inclinations towards anger. I actually find myself lusting after contentious arguments (see bottom of post for details), and I've almost gotten into a fight with random strangers a time or two in the last week.

Things have always bothered me (of course) but I usually vent with friends or in a journal. Since the shot, however, I've found myself verbally responding in the moment. I've stood up for myself when I really needed to (and at times when it wasn't really necessary) as well as had to fight this ridiculous and persistent urge to "tell off" a few of my friends (namely one specific ex boyfriend) who have been doing sneaky things to me behind my back.

Here's my problem... the timid me who has always wished for the guts to stand up to bullies and the like, and to hold people accountable for their wrongdoings against me, is in conflict with my sensible self who thinks I shouldn't be mean, shouldn't make a scene, and should just rise above.

I've encountered at least two people in the past two weeks who really deserve a good slap in the face/public embarrassment/shake of the fist.

So far I've been able to keep myself from acting on these impulses, instead of confronting I've distanced myself from these people and given them the message to butt out of my life....

but I don't know if I will always be in such great control of my impulse to make them pay!

Anybody got any advice? I'm open to both "Go get 'em girl!" and "Keep to yourself" suggestions, and any in between. Also if anyone has ever had similar anger issues with b.c. or Depo I'd love to hear about it.

...By the way, for a little more detail and because I won't be able to post follow-up, my exboyfriend cheated on me a year ago with his now-girlfriend, and then recently my ex asked me to be involved with a party he was throwing. The job was in-line with my long-term career goals, and I was excited to do it, even without financial reward. A few days after he called me and asked me specifically, because of my knowledge and expertise on the subject, to help him out, I saw that he had asked other people to do those jobs without telling me. When I asked about it, he made it seem as if I was being unreasonable and bratty. I didn't make a big fuss, just said whatever, told him I was pissed and continued living my life. He kept me on his mailing list, however, so he kept sending me invites and inviting all of my friends. I got annoyed, told him to stop, and he did.

Fine. Everything was fine. I didn't go to the party, and felt totally okay about it. Until today, when I opened up pictures from the event and saw that he wrote ZOMB! on the wall behind all of the pictures. I made a film while we were dating called ZOMBZ.

Rip off? I think so. Makes me SO MAD! What should I do?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
This question is kind of a mess, and I think you're asking three different things. But yes, hormonal birth control (the pill) made me angry for about the first three months. At the time, I thought it was worth it, but I certainly wouldn't want to go through it again.
posted by runningwithscissors at 12:09 PM on October 27, 2009

This is my experience with anger on bc. Like runningwithscissors, I was very angry (but it only lasted about a month and a half), and since then I've been fine.
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:16 PM on October 27, 2009

I can't speak personally to Depo, but one of my friends became an insane rage monkey on it. It lasted about a fiscal quarter, and then she was fine...but woof, she was touchy for a while. So, I don't think it's that uncommon, but it does seem to be fairly short lived. Perhaps line up all those folks that need a good spanking and get it out now? ;)
posted by dejah420 at 12:22 PM on October 27, 2009

When I was in High School I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst.

I stopped right there. After a year and a half on Depo, I started having terrible pains. I went in and had a CT scan where they found multiple ovarian cysts that they said were likely already there, but that Depo was inflaming them. I was immediately taken off of Depo and I've never had those problems again. Get this checked out.

Fine. Everything was fine. I didn't go to the party, and felt totally okay about it. Until today, when I opened up pictures from the event and saw that he wrote ZOMB! on the wall behind all of the pictures. I made a film while we were dating called ZOMBZ.

Rip off? I think so. Makes me SO MAD! What should I do?

Just let it go, don't give him the reaction he's looking for.
posted by june made him a gemini at 1:29 PM on October 27, 2009

I felt perfectly normal when I took it but my bf at the time told me I acted crazy. I have a friend who's been on it for years and, like clockwork, she becomes a raging lunatic for the two weeks before it's due. I'm afraid of it now.
posted by Raichle at 2:55 PM on October 27, 2009

When I tried the Depo Provera shot I became extremely angry and had crazy mood swings. I also gained about 30lbs in the course of a month and a half.

Just a data point for you.

You could consider getting a Mirena IUD (this is hormonal, but very, very low dose and it's the only hormonal BC I've ever been able to tolerate). Or you can even go a step further and try the Paraguard IUD, which is simply made of copper and has no hormones.
posted by sickinthehead at 3:26 PM on October 27, 2009

I took the Depo shot for about two years in my early twenties. Now, I'm already kind of bitchy, but I became a raving lunatic for the first few weeks after getting the shot but then it would mellow out a bit until I received my next one. People usually gain weight on it, but I lost weight, around 15 pounds. I also stopped having my period after about 6 months and it completely killed my sex drive. I'd say give it a little time to see how it all pans out and if it doesn't get any better, find something else.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:31 PM on October 27, 2009

I was on the Depo shot for five years with no mental health side effects whatsoever. I had a slight weight gain that I can't attribute directly to Depo (about 20 pounds over those four years).

I did bleed (not quite period strength) for a solid year, but afterwards my periods went away entirely.

Just a data point--hormonal birth control effects different people drastically differently, so there's no way for a bunch of people on the internet to tell whether your rage at your ex-boyfriend (over a small issue, but one that just is just built to create outrageous anger because of who's causing it) is caused by the shot. Based on your history of cysts alone, I'd be wary of the shot, so maybe you should discuss it with your doctor and consider a different form of birth control in two and a half months.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 3:41 PM on October 27, 2009

Oh, flashbacks. I took Depo for about six months. The rage, yes. And it took at least six months for the rage to fully fade. I didn't realize what was happening at the time, my boyfriend was ill-equipped to deal with it, and... let's just say that it was not my favorite life experience.

Depo also killed my sex drive. Like, dead. Permanently, as far as I can tell. Which is a listed side effect, so I guess I have only myself to blame.

Let's just say, I don't recommend Depo.
posted by ErikaB at 7:53 PM on October 27, 2009

I'm just like peanut_mcgillicuty. I've been on Depo for many years with no mental health effects at all. I've gained and lost weight on it. (Not inexplicably; clearly tied to food/exercise.) No period, which was the best thing ever. I wouldn't say I have rage. I would say that I've found my backbone in recent years, but I think that has more to do with growing up and being more self-confident than I was in my 20's.
posted by web-goddess at 8:54 PM on October 27, 2009

I have known several people that started taking Depo Provera and had similar side effects. Another side effect was massive weight gain. (40+ lbs in a few months) I'd reconsider the Depo.

(source: my wife is in OB/GYN and specializes in women's health.)

The IUDs mentioned (Mirena & ParaGard) would be a better option.

The question is... are you on bc for the cyst or to prevent pregnancies?
posted by drstein at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2009

I just asked the wife. Her response: "Oh, yes. Very common."

"So, someone that becomes rather angry after starting depo might want to reconsider it, eh?"

"Absolutely." She was nodding her head while I was reading the post aloud.

Ideas: Desogen or Mircette. Monophasic pills that you'll probably do well on... if you're using bc for pain control/endometriosis. Ask your ob/gyn about them.

Any questions, feel free to ask and I'll pass them along.
posted by drstein at 4:42 PM on October 29, 2009

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