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Disclaimer: If you get anything out of this article, I want you to understand this: birth control affects everyone differently. My personal experience on Depo Provera could be extremely different than someone else’s. 

When I was becoming sexually active, I did a lot of research on what the best birth control for me would be. I ultimately fell on Depo Provera to be the best option for me, which I had to inject in my arm once every three months. This is my story of how I went into artificial menopause because of my birth control. 

I talked with my OB-GYN about different options for birth control, and I personally can’t take birth control pills for health reasons, so I decided that Depo Provera would be best for me. This was a decision that I didn’t feel super excited about, but it’s better than accidental pregnancy. The first month of taking the shot, I found that my period went away completely, which is something that can typically happen with certain women. I didn’t mind this at all. My second shot was worse, not in the physical side-effects, but the psychological side-effects. I got my second dose of Depo around Halloween and my roommate and I went to Spirit Halloween to get costumes. I dissociated in Spirit Halloween and had an out-of-body experience, which I never have had, and I had the worst mental health day that I have ever had. 

Fast forward to my third dose of Depo, which also happened to be my last. I went home for Christmas and when I came back, I found that sex was horribly painful. I thought it was because I was just stressed, but then it seemed to keep happening. I thought I had a yeast infection, and I treated myself for that, but nothing helped. Finally, I went to the OB-GYN. After multiple doctors and appointments, I found that I was in artificial menopause. Yeah, menopause, the thing that 50-year-old women go through, not a 19-year-old. My doctor told me that the birth control shot sucked all of the estrogen out of my body so that my whole downstairs was extremely dry and my vagina had formed a trauma response to penetration, making it impossible for me to have sex. 

Not only did I go into artificial menopause, but I also gained around 30 pounds in about 3 months. This has been an ongoing process since January of this year and is still happening, even in October. Luckily, I have been able to see great doctors who have guided me through this process to make the pain more manageable and I am happy to report that I am on the mend. This has been an emotionally and physically draining process and I would never wish this upon anyone. Painful sex is not normal, so if you find that you are experiencing pain when having penetrative intercourse, please go see a doctor! I have learned so much about the female reproductive system and female pleasure during this experience, and we deserve to be so much more educated about our own reproductive system and how we experience pleasure. 

I didn’t write this to scare or confuse anyone, but I want to educate people on the side effects that no one talks about because these things are so incredibly important. Painful penetrative sex is not normal and I’m begging you, if you are experiencing this, please see a professional because they can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because, at the end of the day, your understanding of your reproductive system is so important. 

Content written by various anonymous CU Boulder writers
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