Depo Provera, PCOS and Diabetes

By HarmonyStarr Latest Reply 2017-11-24 15:36:55 -0600
Started 2010-06-15 22:44:24 -0500

Hi, I'm Beth and I'm newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I also have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which I was diagnosed with at about 25 (I'm 37 now). One of the symptoms of PCOS is insulin resistance and up until 2008, was never much of a problem for me, as my sugars were, apparently, basically normal, though my doctor was recently mentioning that I was pre-diabetic, but prescribed Metformin, which is common for PCOS. However, in April, 2009, my gyno put me on Depo Provera basically because instead of not having a menstrual cycle at all, I was bleeding intermittently throughout the day for a couple hours at a time (sorry to the guys if this is kinda gross for you). In September of 2009, I had a glucose reading of 187. In October of 2009, my bleeding became 24/7 and in May I had to have a hysterectomy. The morning of my surgery was when they diagnosed me with diabetes, my blood sugar being 355 at that time (that was a fun day, I can assure you). They did an A1C and determined that I was at 11.4% with an average of 280. They immediately put me on insulin, Lantus at night and Novolog before each meal, basically stating that because of the PCOS, they couldn't start me on pills.

My PCP asked me what changed between the summer of 2008 and September of 2009 and the only thing I can come up with that changed was the fact that I was started on Depo. After doing some research, I found that Depo raises blood sugar levels and that women with diabetes need to be closely monitored. However, I was not diagnosed with diabetes at that time, only pre-diabetes because of PCOS, which my gyno was well aware of.

So, after all that rambling background, here's my question: Has anyone else been diagnosed with diabetes after having taken Depo? And did you find that your levels started going back to normal after the Depo has been stopped?

My last shot was in March 2010, so my 12 weeks is now up and, obviously, with the hysterectomy, I no longer need to take the Depo. I'm hoping that perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel and perhaps my levels will go back to normal after this crap is out of my system. Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you made it to the end, and thanks for any responses.



10 replies

PrimaLena 2017-11-24 15:35:01 -0600 Report

Hello, Beth, and everyone else reading. I have PCOS. I am also overweight, there is some diabetes in my family, but I am not diabetic. I just stumbled on this page while searching something else. Initially, I was treated by my PCP with Metformin, then my gynecologist suggested birth control to treat it. As I am a smoker, over thirty, often forget to take daily meds. anyway, and BTW, while taking any birth control carries a crazy amt. of risks and possible side effects, (the reason I put off taking it until the issues, and their effects on my life became just really unbearable) the pill is still the worst. My doctor also said DepoProvera would treat it (though I have heard some say it does not, also, as one of the previous commenters here mentioned-it tends to be GP/PCPs who know less about both any reproductive issues you my have, and what measures are effective, obviously, than your OB/GYN does-always go with the specialist when answers vary.) Then I asked my PCP if there was any reason I should keep taking the Metformin, as I was on the Depo., and he said I should continue, as I may be "prone to other sugar-related issues". Really, I'm prone to just about any issues-I have auto-immune disorders, but whatever. So, I was on both for the past year and a half, and was recently hospitalized with all kinds of crazy problems, which they are telling me are most likely due to "long-term, moderately severe hypoglycemia". They've advised me to go down from two tabs., to one tablet daily of the Metformin, and to not skip any meals. BTW, I had no idea low blood sugar could cause many of the things they're saying it did, like severe, increasing muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing and swallowing, and other neurological issues, like pains, jerking, tingling and numbness, and an entire leg becoming suddenly useless, but it seems perhaps it can. Regardless, I would imagine that no, Depoprovera does not raise blood sugar levels-at least, for sure, not enough to, in my case, counteract the lowering of it caused by the Metformin. I know this is a diabetic chat, so I would imagine most, if not all, reading have diabetes, but if you do not, and are on it just for PCOS (whether also on any form of birth control or not), I would advise keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels also, nonetheless.

Anonymous 2017-02-19 08:26:06 -0600 Report

I took the depo shot when I was 16. After 2 shots I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and pcos and I dramatically gained weight without any change to my diet. I am now 22. I now take the pill and wish I would have never gotten lazy and decided to take the shot. My life has forever changed for the worst! I cannot wait for a lawsuit to come out so I can sue!

merugada 2014-01-28 11:30:14 -0600 Report

I too was recently diagnosed diabetic right before my hysterectomy surgery. Also never had a problem with blood sugars before taking provera. I wondered the same thing if its possible to recover after the pills leave your system? Did you end up recovering?

jladytiger1979 2011-06-14 20:00:48 -0500 Report

i take the pill. Have for 17 years. Is changed name but same drug. Triphasil/trilevelin and a host of other names. I'm still on it. I was dx last year with diabetes & pcos. Dr said birth control was sposed to help the pcos but after my own research of other nc did found that this particular progestin hormone can make insulin resistance worse in addition to making lipid profiles worse. I've struggled with them both. What are we to do??? I take metformin for the diabetes and a little higher dose because of the pcos.

classof78 2011-03-28 20:25:14 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed in Oct. I had been on depo for 20 yrs, and only changed to the pill because of a change in insurance. (I definately do not like this period business!!) I'm finding that the longer I am off the depo, the lower my BG# becomes. It is not uncommon for it to be below my range in the AM, and sometimes later in the day also. I'm beginning to wonder if I am truly diabetic. I have lost 25 lbs, which might account for some of the change, and am being careful w/ my diet. Both my parent have diabetes, so I have that risk factor, and they both take metformin,and I want to avoid the meds as long as possible.

bettymachete 2010-06-28 19:55:16 -0500 Report

Beth I'm sorry I missed this discussion before, I was diagnosed PCOS along with insulin resistant diabetes II. My fasting BGL was 120, along with missing my monthly for 6 months. So far I am getting no treatment for PCOS but am on metformin. I will be seeing an endocrinologist next month however. My A1C is 8.4. I am really in a fog about what I am to expect from the endocrinologist and rather upset it takes so long for an initial appointment. Was your need for a hysterectomy a result of the PCOS or the depo?

HarmonyStarr 2010-06-29 06:04:39 -0500 Report

Actually, the Depo was given to me to try to prevent me from having the hysterectomy, which didn't work.

A little good news for you, Metformin is generally prescribed for women with PCOS as it is found to help keep the insulin resistance under control, though it doesn't do anything to reverse symptoms or anything like that.

As for why I needed the hysterectomy - it was a long-standing problem that several years and many changes in gynecologists finally resulted in getting the real treatment I needed. I had had so many problems with bleeding and other things, and I kept trying and trying until my last gyno finally listened to me after letting me bleed non-stop for seven months, while taking the Depo shots, which are supposed to stop menses altogether - I always did work backwards. *laughs* I never met with an endocrinologist, as I never could get a referral to one from my PCP.

I had been told by previous gynos that women with PCOS should not go on Depo, which is why I was surprised when my current gyno snorted when I said that and put me on it. I really wish I would have fought him a little harder. But, I still don't know for sure that the Depo is what caused my rise in blood sugar. Naturally, it's hard to find a doctor who's going to point fingers at colleagues, plus, I did have other risk factors for diabetes, including my weight, age, the fact that I smoke and a family history of diabetes. The only thing that really makes me think it was the Depo that triggered it was the fact that tests I had prior to starting the Depo were perfectly normal. After the Depo was when my levels started climbing up and finally peaked at 355 before it was officially caught.

monkeymama 2010-06-15 22:55:12 -0500 Report

Wow! I am kind of wondering if that would also be the case with the stupid patch too. This has really got my head thinking now. But my situation has some similarities and some difference that is making me question a few things now. It would be hard for me to "truly" say because of family history and that. Thank you for the info. I am going to have to search into this a bit more.

HarmonyStarr 2010-06-15 23:25:34 -0500 Report

I probably should have added that, yes, I do have a family history of diabetes, and being overweight (a symptom of PCOS as well as a symptom of my love of food *laughs*), but as I said, my levels were all normal until after the Depo shots. The best place I got information on Depo was at (I'm not sure how to make that a clickable link, I'm still learning my way around this site). They have a lot of detailed information about a lot of medications. Definitely something worth looking into.



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