The Injectable | Find My Method
  • Effectiveness: All types of Injectables are very effective –However, you should remember to get the shot on time. When women have injections on time, 99 of every 100 will manage to prevent pregnancy.
  • Side effects: most common are irregular bleeding and increased appetite, leading to weight gain. A high number of women using this method will stop having monthly bleeding after the first year of use.  Do not worry; this is not harmful!
  • Effort: low – you need a shot every 1, 2 or 3 months (depending on the types available in your context).
  • Doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


Yes, it is what you have in mind!  A syringe, a needle and some liquid that is injected into your body.   The injectable prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs. It also thickens your cervical mucus to help block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. There are different types –some may not be available in your country.

  • Monthly injectable: It keeps you protected for a month! Contains two hormones –progestin and estrogen.
  • NET-EN or two months injectable: It contains progestin. It keeps you protected for two months! A great option for women who can’t take estrogen.
  • DMPA or three months injectable: It contains progestin. It keeps you protected for three months! A great option for women who can’t take estrogen.


If you do not want to take a pill every day, the Injectable might be a good option. You only need to remember to do something once every 1 (monthly injectable), 2 (NET-EN) or 3 months (DMPA). You will need to see a health provider or trained community health workers to get your injection

Total privacy. No one can tell when you have used the Injectable. There is no packaging and nothing you need to do before you have sex.

Yes, there are needles involved. If you are scared of needles, then the injectable is not for you. Keep in mind that it is only one shot, and you are done for 1, 2 or  3 months.


Late injection rules.  Did you miss the date for your injection?   You may still be protected.  DMPA injectables (3 months injectables) may be used up to 4 weeks late. NET-EN (2 months injectables) may be used up to 2 weeks late.  Monthly injectables may be used up to 1 week late.   But, do not make being late the rule!  It could reduce the effectiveness of the method.  Think about using an alarm on your phone or a paper calendar to keep track of the injection date.

Pregnancy. It is possible to get pregnant as soon as you stop using this method, though for some women it can take longer for fertility to return. If you are not ready to get pregnant get another shot or use a different contraceptive method.

Availability. Some types of injections may not be available in your country, but if you want to use this method, then we recommend looking at the “Methods in my country” section.

How To Use

You do not do much if you choose the injectable. Just make sure you get a shot on time.

Have you heard of Sayana Press?  It is a self-injection method to prevent pregnancies for 3 months. To learn more about this method,  visit

When you first start using the injectable, discuss your period with the provider or trained community health worker. This will help to decide how soon after the injectable you will be protected.

Side Effects

Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.

The Positive: there are lots of things about using injectables that are good for your body as well as your sex life.

  • Easy to use
  • Does not interrupt the heat of the moment
  • Private – no one will know unless you tell them
  • You do not have to worry about remembering to take it every day
  • Might give you shorter, lighter periods – or no periods at all
  • It is very effective at preventing pregnancy – if you get the injectables on time
  • You can use it while you are breastfeeding (except the monthly injectables)

The Negative: everyone worries about negative side effects, but for many women, they are not a problem. Remember, you are introducing hormones into your body, so it can take a few months to adjust. Give it time.

The most common complaints:

  • Irregular bleeding, especially for the first 6-12 months (this could mean longer, heavier periods, or spotting in between periods)
  • Change in appetite or weight gain (It is common for some women to gain 1-2 kg in the first year. Other women gain nothing.)

Less common side effects:

  • A change in your sex drive
  • Depression
  • Hair loss or more hair on your face or body
  • Nervousness or dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sore breasts

There is no way to stop the side effects of the injectable. If you feel the side effects are more than you can accept, switch methods and stay protected. Remember, there is a method for everyone, everywhere!

* For a very small number of women, there are risks of serious side effects. Talk to the person who gave you the injectable if you are worried about the side effects that you are experiencing.



  • We are here to help you. If it still does not feel right, we have ideas for other methods. Just remember: If you decide to change methods, make sure to stay protected while you switch. Condoms  offer good protection while you find a method that suits your needs.Should I be concerned about spotting?
    • Spotting can happen with many different methods. You do not lose that much blood with spotting, even though it might seem like it.
    • Still not working? You may have more luck on a pill with a slightly higher dose of estrogen, or one that provides estrogen during a different part of your cycle.
    • Try a different method: IUD; pill

    What if I cannot afford the injectable?

    • In some countries, contraceptives can be expensive. You may find free contraceptives or better prices if you get your method through a public health facility, a community health worker or a community health worker.

    If you have a regular partner and you feel comfortable talking about these issues, you may want to discuss how each person can contribute to paying the expense.  What if this impacts my desire to have sex?

    • While this is not a common complaint of injectable users, it is a potential side effect. So, the first step is to check what else in your life could be causing a change in your sex drive? Are you stressed? Are you having relationship issues? You may be able to change some of these things, to increase your desire to have sex: try to exercise more,  try new things in bed, try having an open conversation about your feelings and needs with your partner.
    • Still not working? If you have looked at other things in your life that might cause the loss of sex drive and still think it is the injectable, think about switching to pill, patch, or ring (which have less hormones and are easier to stop using if the problem persists) or an IUD (which has low or no hormones). You could also try non-hormonal methods such as the diaphragm, external condoms (male), or internal condoms (female).
    • Try a different method: IUD; patch; pill; ring

    What if I want to get pregnant soon?

    • You cannot reverse the injectable, so if you already had the injectable, you will have to wait 1, 2 or three months (depending on the type of injectable) to start trying. Be patient – sometimes it can take up to 10 months after the last shot for fertility to come back completely.
    • Still not working? If you want to become pregnant sometime shortly, consider using the monthly injectable, NET-EN (2 months injectable) or different hormonal methods. The pill, patch, ring, or IUD all allow a faster return to fertility than the Injectable. You might also consider a non-hormonal method, like external condoms (male) or internal condoms (female).
    • Try a different method: external condom (male) ; IUD; patch; pill; ring

    Why am I getting headaches?

    • Headaches are a potential side effect with the injectable. If you have bad headaches, first think about other reasons that you may have them. Try to minimize stress, drink more water to prevent dehydration, and make sure you are sleeping enough. If that does not help, then talk with a health provider about the headaches.
    • Still not working? If you cannot find another reason for the headaches and want to switch methods, consider the IUD, pill, patch , or ring.
    • Try a different method: IUD; patch; pill; ring .

    Why do I feel moody?

    • Mood swings are a potential side effect of the injectable. But before thinking about switching methods think about what else in your life could be causing moodiness.
    • Still not working? The injectable is a hormone, so if moodiness is still an issue, think about using a shorter-acting, lower-dose method, such as the pill, patch, or ring. You could also try either type of IUD.
    • Try a different method: IUD; patch; pill; ring

    Is the injectable bad for the environment because of the hormones in female urine?

    • Any method is better than no method when it comes to the environment.
    • Some of the hormones from the injectable will enter the environment through a woman’s urine. But it is smaller than other sources of estrogen in the environment.
    • Estrogen from industrial and manufacturing processes, fertilizers and pesticides, and the drugs given to animals all enter the environment in larger amounts than the estrogen in a woman’s urine from the injectable.
    • If you do not want to add hormones to the environment or your body, there are options for you. Natural latex condoms and the copper IUD are both good options. Whatever you decide, choose a method that meets your needs and stick to it.
    • Still not working? If you would like to use a very effective method without any hormones, try the non-hormonal IUD
    • Try a different method: IUD