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Depo Provera and Hypothyroid Symptoms
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Depo Provera and Hypothyroid Symptoms

I was on Depo Provera for BC for 8 years with no side effects but headaches, which were manageable. Also had no periods, which was great! However, I became ill when I stopped having the injections at age 45. I experienced fatigue, joint pain and swelling, and depression. I was tested for everything from Lyme disease and Lupus, to thyroid conditons - all negative. My Dr. finally gave up and diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue syndrome. My OBGYN ran a bone scan and diagnosed me with osteopenia, and declared me menopausal, since my periods have also not resumed. Now nearly 4 years later I am still miserable - fatigue, depression, headaches, cold all the time, and I suspect hypothyroidism. I also have learned that Depo causes bone density loss so maybe I am not menopausal. I don't mean to sound whiny and pitiful, but I can hardly remember the energetic, optimistic person that I used to be. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! I have been searching the net and find lots of women with lots of side effects from taking Depo Provera, but I am trying to find other women who have experienced problems after QUITTING the injections.
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Avatar_n_tn
I thought I was alone!  I wish I did this research BEFORE I started taking Depo.   I took Depo for about 3 years but I stopped the shots a little over 2 years ago.  When I stopped the injections, I started having muscle cramps and joint pain and swelling.  I was constantly cold and exhausted for no reason.  I would get dizzy and light headed and started passing out.  This was not normal for me as  I was use to physical labor for 6 to 8 hours a day.   I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroid disease.  I asked my doctor if the Depo could have caused this but he couldn't give me an answer.  I checked into the possibility of Chantix causing these symptoms, but it seems like the Depo is the culprit.  I take 200mcg of Synthroid daily but the other symptoms still remain, today was very painful to walk due to the muscle and joint pain in my legs and feet.  I would like to know how many other women were diagnosed Hypothyroid or Hashimotos auto immune thyroid disease after stopping their injections.  All the best to you and hopefully you feel better soon!
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Avatar_m_tn
I took depo provera for about 6 years, starting in 2000.  Just over three months after I stopped taking the shots I developed a nodule in my neck which was eventually diagnosed as thyroid cancer.  I have absolutely no history of thyroid problems of any kind in family and I had had no problems before the depo.  I'm also always tired, get muscle ramps frequently and a host of other issues since then, which of course get attributed to the thyroid issues, even though I'm supposedly on a good dosage of thyroid replacements.  The warnings for this poison weren't even out when I started taking it and when they did finally come out, my doctor never told me.  Taking this stuff was easily the worst mistake I ever made.
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393685_tn?1325870933
I believe the FDA has cautions on this BC method and how it relates to the thyroid lowering its function.

All forms of BC can cause a rise of estrogen dominance which in turn - will deplete the thyroid function of an individual. Unfortunately many young people - and older are not informed of all these side effects when starting BC medication.

Looking back these new forms of BC were not on the market when I took them and only "the pill" was used.  

Weight gain is common in any form of taking BC and I too remember gaining 10 pounds or so while I was on them in my 20's, If I had only knew what it was doing to me and my metobolism gland - thyroid...
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Avatar_n_tn
I took depo for 5 years and stopped taking it when I got engaged so we could start planning a family.  At the time I stopped taking the drug I went from a size 4-6 to a size 14 in a matter of 2 months.  But thyroid kept testing in normal range.  Once my periods returned, we tried for a family and had no sucess.  Eventually we ended up doing IVF and became pregnant with triplets.  I  was very sick during the pregnancy and left the hospital with 3 beautiful girls and 30lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight.  Within 4 months I had gained all the weight back and my size 8 jeans post pregnancy were not fitting again.  I joined a gym about 6 months ago to help shed the weight.  After failing to loose any weight after months, I decided I was really stepping up the process and I go to the gym 10 times a week, on a 1800 calorie diet and run a total of 40 miles a week.  I haven't lost a stinkin pound, yet my thyroid still tests in the normal range.  I swear something is off, but no one will figure it out and I am getting very disgusted with my weight, depressed and fatigued.  
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393685_tn?1325870933
Recently I just posted an indepth comment to an article an OB-GYN posted here on Medhelp. This may give you some information on the effects. Also to support the information I posted I wrote a personal journal here on estogen domaniance and hypothyroidism.

Here is the article link

http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/223919/Bioidentical-Hormones--Sorting-Myths-and-Facts

Look on my profile for the estrogen journal.


I would bet - your TSH is the only thing being evaluated and that definately is not the cycle you want to be in with thyroid. Also the FHS/LH and other hormones most likley is not being looked at in a whole to see exactly where your domanance factors are.

I think after the whole ordeal in your BC history and now having the births you need better evaluation of your hormones to get you feeling well again.
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Avatar_f_tn
I only took the depo shot for a total of nine months about 5 years ago. I got off of it because I kept gaining weight. I was about 95 pounds and by the time I stopped taking it I was close to 170. I weighed more than my top out weight when I had my son. The doctor I had at the time kept telling me that there was nothing wrong with me and that it was all in my  head. I changed back to son's doctor. She took one look at me and said that it was my thyroid. She did some tests and it came back as hypothyroidism. I've lost close to 40 pounds, but I have yet to be able to lose my stomach bulge. That's where the majority of is, I almost look pregnant. My friend recently began to take it and she's experiencing hair loss. This is a horrible drug that should be taken off the market.
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393685_tn?1325870933
I totally agree.
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Avatar_f_tn
I took depo for 10 years and have experienced the exact same thing as you when I stopped taking it.  I gained about 60 pounds in a matter of months (I spent a week with my sister and the pants I arrived couldn't be pulled all the way up when I went home the weight was coming on so fast) and now no matter what I eat or how much I exercise (2x a day 6-7 days/wk for an hour or more...it's basically turned into a part-time job) I can't get it off.  I am exhausted all the time and I have seen so many doctors I am starting to believe them when they tell me it's all in my head.  I am taking synthroid for low thyroid and that helps with the fatigue somewhat but not completely.  I've been off the shot now for 5 years and I still barely have 2 periods a year.  I am overweight, depressed, exhausted and willing to try anything to resolve this and get back to normal.
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Avatar_f_tn
Look into Cushing's Syndrome.  I've had the same problems & am going to an endocrinologist next month to continue testing for Cushing's.  Initial blood tests showed my cortisol levels 4 times normal.

Been on Depo Provera for about 12 yrs.  Stopped last summer and haven't gotten my period back.  Over the last 4 years I becan to develop symptoms of Cushing's including weight gain (I've never in my life been overweight - then all of the sudden I was), apple-shaped body, thin arms & legs, moon face, flushing + diarrhea, and the Hallmark sign - the bufallo hump (fatty lump on the base of the back of the neck).  I now wear maternity clothes - even though I'm not pregnant.  It's the only thing that fits my body right.  The weight is not distributed throughout the body - just in the abdominal area.

Drs think it's "rare", personally, I think it's just highly underdiagnosed.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been on and off depo. for ten years.  I have asked various docs across two countries for help with understanding how it is that with normal thyroid tests, I have not just gained weight, but a twin!!  My body mass should be 56 bmi ways, and I've shot up to 104kg in 12 months.  I've been told I'm lazy, I corrected my already labour intensive days, I was told I'm cheating on eating, I'm on a very strict nutritional diet with supplements and don't cheat. I was told I need to have more sex - funny ha ha when you have no libido!  I've been told so many ridiculous things by "professionals" that I am my wits end.  I believe that the depo has had an affect on my thyroid and I want to stop taking it as I feel it may have a "reverse affect" - but after reading all your notes - I"m not sure what to think.  Muscle pain, joint inflamation (inflammation) etc. was diagnosed by one doctor as Fibromyalgia - which in context of my family history could be true - but the massive weight gain must have it's own answer.  I feel I'm losing the battle to live, I can't even breathe when I bend over to tie my shoes - which I find I can't any more.  Even a walk on level land is a mission.  Is there an answer?
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Avatar_m_tn
Definitely there are answers, if you look hard enough.  I'm glad you joined us on the Thyroid Forum.  I get so frustrated at seeing and hearing from so many people that have low metabolism/weight problems but are told by their doctors that they only need to "eat less and exercise more, and I'll see you for another office call in 6 months or a year".  Why is is so difficult to fully explore other possibilities and confirm the real cause?

Anyway, on the possibility that it might be thyroid related, have you ever been tested for thyroid issues?  If so, please post the tests results and reference ranges shown on the lab report if you have them.  If not, then you should request testing for the biologically active thyroid hormones, Free T3 and Free T4, along with TSH that they always test.  If the doctor resists testing for Free T3 and Free T4, then you should insist on it and don't take no for an answer.  There are numerous other tests that may become advisable, if your test results indicate hypothyroidism.  But we can talk about those later.  

If you look at this link showing 26 typical hypothyroid symptoms, which do you have?  It might also be a good idea to make a copy and mark the ones you have and take the copy to your doctor when you go for testing.  

http://endocrine-system.emedtv.com/hypothyroidism/hypothyroidism-symptoms-and-signs.html


There are lots of other things we need to talk about, but probably premature to get into all that until you get the testing done.  Just hang with us and you'll find loads of support and info from the many experienced and knowledgeable members here.  When test results are available, please get a copy of the report and post results and their reference ranges  and members will be glad to help interpret and advise further.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Happened to remember this link and thought you might also find it interesting.

http://www.holtorfmed.com/index.php?section=downloads&file_id=16

It is too bad that the researcher did not also evaluate the effect of Free T3 on obesity.  I think the correlation would be even more amazing.
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Avatar_f_tn
I think doctors should explain the complications of even possibly having low thyroid levels after taking Depo Provera instead of hair loss/ weight gain. I was only 18 2 years ago when I had the shot and never had another shot afterwards. Yeah it was the easiest BC and I didn't have to worry about a thing for 3 months but now I have to take Synthroid every day for the rest of my life. That was the worst thing I could have ever done to my body. These kind of BC shouldn't be handed out so easily to young girls. It should be only be used as last resort when other types of BC have been ruled out. I wish doctors would talk more about this type of complication before giving the medication to such young girls.
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Avatar_f_tn
I think doctors should explain the complications of even possibly having low thyroid levels after taking Depo Provera instead of hair loss/ weight gain. I was only 18 2 years ago when I had the shot and never had another shot afterwards. Yeah it was the easiest BC and I didn't have to worry about a thing for 3 months but now I have to take Synthroid every day for the rest of my life. That was the worst thing I could have ever done to my body. These kind of BC shouldn't be handed out so easily to young girls. It should be only be used as last resort when other types of BC have been ruled out. I wish doctors would talk more about this type of complication before giving the medication to such young girls.
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219241_tn?1357815389
Depo Provera has been cited in many legal cases. It is not the recommended birth control any longer, however many doctors still think it is wonderful.

Your doctor says you are menopausal based on the bone scan, or just included the symptoms and decided you are menopausal?
Lack of bone is more often caused by lack of calcium AND lack of Vit D. Many who are hypo have that problem.
The only diffinitive testing for true menopause is at least 3 tests of FSH over at least 2 months. FSH being Follicle Stimulating Hormone. The higher the number the more likely your pituitary is trying to stimulate the ovary to release an egg. No eggs, the higher the FSH.

Often what happens is the birth control can mimic or mask hypo symptoms and many are treated as twits for complaining. The doctors will dismiss the fatigue etc as just part and parcel of being on the hormones of the birth control.

Depo Provera will not cause hypo but it often comes along at the same time as having it. A bit of a cross over pattern. You can often mark something as being a cause when something happened at the same time.  Like we often forget how we got a bruise but if you fell at the store and had a bruise you remember it. Hence getting the Depo you note more symptoms but the Depo is not the cause just happens to be at the same time.

Anyway, get tested by the doctor properly for menopause. Depo can STOP periods for up to FIVE years even after removal of the implant!
Get tested for calcium and Vit D and get proper full thyroid function tests.
Cheers
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Avatar_f_tn
You will get to Normal within three months if you follow Ramdev Baba's breathing yogig's exercise called ( Kapaalabati).  Please learn this technique and follow it for 15 mins initially and increase upto 30 mins a day.

Remember Kapaalabati is only one stop medicine for all diseases.
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Avatar_f_tn
I took Depo for about 10 years. At 26 I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. I had 2 surgeries to have my thyroid removed. Since then, while taking synthroid, my thyroid levels have been all over the place. I will be steady with my medication for a while, then out of nowhere my levels will be off. In the last 5 years I've had at least 5 medication increases. This never seems to end, these steady increases can not be healthy.
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Avatar_f_tn
It sounds like it could very well be thyroid issues - try going to and endocrinologist and tell him/her that you wanted to be treated based on your symptoms, and not on the results of your lab tests.  The thyroid tests can be very deceiving; they may show normal ranges, but you are still having very obvious symptoms.  I took only one shot of Depo, back in Dec. 2010, and never took another one, because I couldn't stand the side effects.  Now, I am constantly freezing all the time, my hair is falling out by the handfuls, I am gaining weight that I can't lose, I have muscle cramps and pain, constipation, headaches, depression, itchy skin, extremely painful and frequent menstrual periods.  I have had my thyroid tested before, and my results always came back within normal range.  I have had doctors tell me anything from "it's all in your head, accept it" to "you're starting through menopause".  I am hoping to get in to see an endocrinologist very soon so I can get this mess settled once and for all.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been on the depo for about 15 years or more straight and I use to get tender breast, weight gain and that is about hit.  I just got tested for menopause and thyroid and my test came back negative.  Even though I have been experiencing sweating through out the day and night, I'm hot the majority of the time, I have mood swings, I get cold spells, constipation, and forget sex but according to my doctor I am not in menopause.  But how can you really tell if you have been on the shot for a long time and your body all of a sudden starts with the symtoms (symptoms) I just mentioned. Oh I'm 43 years old.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been on and off the depo for the past 12 years. I never had an issue with anything other than slight headaches and the occational spotting. I quit smoking cigarettes about 8 months ago then shortly after decided to come off of the depo because I kept gaining weight for no reason. I went to a doctor and he flat out said that I ate too much and that the weight gain had nothing to do with my depo or the quitting smoking, I also questioned my thyroid and he quickly dismissed me with " you eat too much". I then had angioedema and he quickly dismissed the swelling to dental work I had done weeks prior. Last week my legs, ankles and knees swelled up and I could barely walk. I went to urgent care and was seen by another physician, he performed xrays, urine and blood work on me. Nothing was broken, no arthritis, and my urine was fine. I have gained a total of 78 lbs in 8 months. My bloodwork came back and I have hypothyroidism and have been prescribed to synthroid everyday. Honestly at this point I am glad to finally have an answer but wish that they could have just been honest with me and at least looked into my concerns... 8 months it took to find answers now I am in a deep depression, am 80 lbs overweight and am ready to scream!!! So glad to see that I am not alone but sad at the same time!!! There is definatley a connection!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
The link's not working....
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Avatar_m_tn
My story is somewhat similar (I will post it separately) but the dr that eventually DID treat me for hypothyroidism prescribed natural thyroid hormone, as has my new doctor.

Both doctors subscribe to the school of thought that believes natural thyroid extract (hormone) is much more effective than the synthetic kind because it is much more readily taken up by our bodies.

I have never had synthyroid, only ever the natural option.

I was placed on 1.0 grain (not "gram") initially and told to monitor symptoms. Every 3 weeks I was to increase by 0.5grain until symptoms went away.

My therapeutic dose turned out to be 3.0 grain. About 2 weeks after reaching that level, I began dropping weight and feeling more energised and "vital" than I had in at least a dozen years. My tests were done again and my hormones were still in the normal range - yet I was absolutely a new person.

I lost 17kg in the first 4 months and it was not hard. I wasn't eating any stupidly strict diet or denying myself anything that I really felt like.

The best way I can describe it was that my body seemed finally to be able to use the nutrients I consumed. I craved what my body really needed instead of craving calorie dense and nutritionally poor food. I had oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, lots of meals of fish/lean meat and salads, with fruit salad for dessert, raw nuts or fruit or hommus with vegies or crackers for snacks. And I didn't have to drag myself out of bed or to exercise.
I would wake after 7-8 hours of quality sleep and be ready for my day.

This was nothing crazy. This is how my body had behaved from the age of 16-27 when I led a pretty "normal" life (also pre-Depo).

I would say to anyone who is on synthetic thyroid hormone and is *not* feeling a genuine "lift" in energy and mood, that it's worth talking to your doctor about trying natural thyroid hormone and seeing if you get a better result.
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Avatar_m_tn
I found this thread after googling "Depo Provera thyroid". Why? Because I was starting to join some dots in my head and wondering if the conclusions I was drawing had merit. It seems they have some.

I have tears in my eyes reading so many stories above. God I know that frustration, judgement, self-flagellation, depression and desperation! I know what it feels like to be the "living dead".

As a child I battled with my weight, but flip-flopped between a really bad excessive eating habits and very strict "dieting" (also being *really bad* eating habits) from the age of 10. I was not at all an active child.
So, as a kid I was fat basically because I did all the wrong things. I don't think I did my metabolism any favours while I was at it!

From 16 to about 28 or 30 I ate sensibly and was much more active... and was a much healthier weight and much more energised. That's about the last time my body was "normal" without medical intervention.

Over the next few years I put on 35+kg, despite my level of activity and pretty "normal" eating habits.

I have been tested for hypothyroidism and the common, basic tests showed "normal". I was recommended to a doctor who specialises in hormonal medicine. He had a 13 page in-depth checklist of symptoms which I completed.

His diagnosis was hypothyroid despite the tests (I have heard false negatives mentioned a lot when researching this Depo/hypo topic!). He said my symptoms were way too clearly pointing at it.

I was put on NATURAL THYROID EXTRACT RATHER THAN SYNTHETIC and experienced incredible change once I reached my therapeutic dose (for me it was 3.0 grain).
> Lost 17kgs in 4 months
> Had energy to burn (and loved doing it!)
> Libido increased to what had previously been normal for me
> My skin was clear and fresh looking, my colour was good and I looked "vital"
> My depression dissipated
> My cravings for calorie-dense, nutritionally poor foods were replaced by a desire for fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, lean meat, nuts and high fibre grains/cereals. I ate what I wanted and I ate a healthy amount. It's just that what I wanted changed and I was able to stop when I was "satisfied" rather than needing to feel "full" (ie "over-stuffed") to be able to stop.
> I easily managed 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night and woke feeling refreshed.
> Migraines were a thing of the past
and so on....

The weight loss was not unnatural or excessive. It directly resulted from the shift to healthy eating and daily exercise. I had no "negative" hyperthyroid symptoms. My regular blood tests showed my hormones still within "normal" range - just a little more toward the upper end of the normal range.

My new job made it hard for me to see my specialist and I dropped treatment. The downward spiral began again.

In the meantime I had heard some people suggest treatment with thyroid hormone rather than TSH could make the thyroid "lazy" and cause it to shut down. So I had my doubts about returning to that treatment.

Then I quit work to study and there was no question of being able to afford the treatment.

3 years later, I'm back to square one and desperate. I found a new (much more affordable doctor) and now have a prescription to start again (started today).

The doctor is also an acupuncturist and believes that the underlying issues (thyroid, pituitary, pancreas and liver are all issues for me) can be cleared with a course of acupuncture treatment.

I'm willing to give that a go and will share my thoughts here as we progress

I'm seeing her tomorrow and I'm going to ask her about links between Depo and the endocrine issues I have... because the dramatic negative changes all began around the time I started on Depo.

I note many here noted the changes after stopping. I'm certain my dramatic downward spiral started WITH the Depo.

I switched from Depo to Implanon at the age of 38 (6.5 years ago, after a break of roughly 2 years from Depo) to allow myself the option to conceive sooner if I should choose to. My next line of enquiry is whether Implanon is also linked.

From age 17 my periods were unbearable and I was on the pill by 20 for treatment (not as a contraceptive). I progressed through various dosages as my periods got worse and then moved to Depo as the pill was no longer effectively managing my symptoms.

As the bad periods can be a symptom of hypothyroidism, I note a comment above says the BC can mask it during treatment rather than being the cause. But then, I had few related symptoms before Depo and a barrage of them once I commenced Depo.

Too many people have suffered. Doctors need to be more aware at both ends of this scenario (before prescribing Depo and before dismissing hypothyroidism).

As my next line of enquiry begins.... does anyone have any comment re Implanon?
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Avatar_m_tn
PS. the thing I most want to say is "thank you".

Reading your stories reassures me that going back on the thyroid hormone is not just the *only* thing to do, but is likely to be the *right* thing to do.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was only given one shot and like others I wasn't truly informed about the side effects from my OBGYN and at 18 I actually trusted my Doctor. I was 125 before the shot and today I'm 183 and look about 5 months pregnant. My friend and I were talking about it Friday and she had the exact same thing happen....she walks a couple miles every day, eats healthy as can be, goes to the gym, etc etc..finally went to the Doctor bc of the weight and found out her Thyroid levels were incredibly low. (my mother also just found out she has low thyroid levels). As for me, I fo to the gym 2-3hrs a day...buring 800 calories (4x a week) and 1000 calories (once a week)....I don't eat snacks, ice cream, chips, etc. Two years ago I found out I have bleeding ulcers. Than now whenever I get full (which is alnost immediately after eating a salad or something small) if I try to eat anything else I'll get very sick. I don't know if its all related. I just wish I was informed better.
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