I've seen several posts where people describe their experience with various forms of contraception. The only one I've seen about the contraceptive injection was very negative, so I felt like I should share my (in the end) positive experience.
I will start by referring you to the NHS information about the contraceptive injection. I will also say that this method does not protect you from STIs, so you should use it alongside condoms or once you're in a long-term relationship and have been checked and are clean. It may also be a bad choice for you if you use it for other reasons, not just contraception. You should have a conversation with your doctor about the method that is going to be best for you.
I have struggled with impossible periods from the start. They were very sporadic – 2 in 2 weeks and then a gap of 5 months kind of irregular. They were also incredibly painful to the point where when it came to GCSEs, having already tried taking 2 prescription painkillers alongside paracetamol (17 pills a day) to try and cope with the pain, my doctor suggested the pill. The pill was great and it got me through GCSEs, A levels and my BSc.
I started struggling with the pill though (mood swings/making my depression worse) and I came off it for a while but after a condom broke and I had to take the morning after pill – I knew I needed a better form of contraception. I had also been struggling with anaemia because during my periods I was losing so much blood.
I tried to have the hormonal coil fitted but my cervix is apparently a bit twisty so I'd have to have that under general anaesthetic – which seems a bit much for contraception! So, I decided to try the contraceptive injection, which you have every 12 weeks.
I'm going to be completely honest, my experience for the first few injections was horrendous.
So with my first injection about 7 weeks into having it, I started bleeding and I had awful cramps. AWFUL. So I had a 5 week period. I should also say that even when I was taking the pill – if I tried/had to run two packs together I would just start bleeding as soon as I finished the first pack, right to the end of the second. So, if that's you and you hate that – this may not be for you.
After my second injection I ended up having a 4 week period at the end but it wasn't leaving me curled up on the floor at work crying – bonus! After the third injection I bled for the last three weeks but again not too much pain. I did also find that towards the 12 week point I would be turning into full on pre-period hormonal crying mess Fleur but once in 12 weeks? I can deal with that.
Now a year and a half in, I've had my first 12 weeks without bleeding! I'm not going to lie, it's been annoying. Especially when I arrive at work and go 'oh shit' because there's blood everywhere and I have nothing on me because I haven't bled in a couple of months.
I've found my mental health to be a lot more stable and easier to cope with. Not having periods has been great for both my anaemia and having no pain (even when I have been bleeding, certainly for this year, it's been a tiny amount). I haven't had to buy more than a few packs of the thin liners this year, so it's saving me money. It means I don't even have to think when doing sport. I don't have to think about contraception – all I have to do is put a reminder in my phone to book a nurse appointment two weeks before I need my injection.
The only issue now is that it is an injection and I HATE injections. The first time I had it I almost fainted and had to lie down. Since then I ask to have it lying down and I make sure I wear loose, comfortable clothes so they can easily access the top of my bum. Apart from one awful experience where the nurse moved the needle and it HURT and I bled everywhere it's been fine!
Apart from breakthrough bleeding I haven't found any other side effects. I may have put on weight but I was also finishing my masters when I went on it, so was cramming food in my face – so I have no idea if it contributed to that.
I know that my doctors suggest not being on the injection for longer than 2 years if you haven't had children yet as it can take a while for your body to get back to normal cycles. So, I'm going to have to have a chat soon to see whether I can stay on it. If not, I may choose to go for the hormonal coil (even with GA) as it's the closest option.
I hope you found this helpful if the contraceptive injection was something you were considering. I know my experience sounds pretty awful to start with but I'm beyond happy with it now. If you have any questions the NHS page I linked at the top of my post may help, otherwise I'd suggest talking to your doctor as I am not a healthcare professional and this is just my experience!