The Basics Of Implanon As A Contraceptive

4 min read
The Basics Of Implanon As A Contraceptive

For women looking for a contraceptive, there has never been more choice than there is now. Unfortunately, this wealth of choice can also be a little bit confusing when it comes to finding the right contraception for you.

One kind of contraception that many women opt for, particularly if they don’t enjoy using condoms and struggle to remember to take a pill on a daily basis, is an implant called Implanon. This is a kind of birth control where hormones are implanted under the skin of your arm in the form of a small plastic rod.

How Does Implanon Work?

Implanon contains a progestin hormone called etonogestrel, which is similar to the naturally occurring hormone progesterone that’s made by a woman’s ovaries. When this hormone is in the body, it stops a woman from releasing an egg every month, and also thickens the mucus in the cervix. Together, both of these things prevent pregnancy.

Inserting And Removing Implanon

Implanon needs to be inserted by a specially trained medical professional, either a doctor or a nurse. The actual insertion process is very quick, usually taking no more than a few minutes. A local anaesthetic is used to help stop any discomfort, and therefore most women feel only the injection of that and nothing more. After insertion women may experience some soreness and bruising, which tends to fade after several days. Once inserted, the Implanon can be left in for as long as three years before it needs to be removed and replaced.

In order to remove the Implanon, a health professional will inject another local anaesthetic underneath where the implant it. Then, they will make a small cut in the skin and take out the Implanon rod. This might take a few minutes, and tends to leave a small scar. However, no stitches are required a new rod can be inserted in the same place. During some rare instances, the Implanon rod may have been inserted deeper than normal, or may have shifted into a different position. If this occurs, a specialist will remove it with the help of an ultrasound.

How Effective Is Implanon?

When Implanon has been properly inserted it is 99.9% effective, making it one of the most effective reversible methods of contraception currently available on the market. If Implanon is inserted during the first five days of a woman’s normal period, it is effective immediately as a contraceptive. Of course it can be inserted at other points during your menstrual cycle as well, but in these cases it can take seven days to be effective.

There are some things that cause Implanon not to be effective. These include St John’s Wort, which is a natural remedy, and some medications used to treat epilepsy. Implanon is not recommended to those women who have had breast cancer in the last five years.

The Good And Bad Of Implanon

As with any contraceptive, there are positive and negative things to keep in mind when considering Implanon. Let’s look at them now.

The advantages of Implanon is that it is highly effective, inexpensive and easy to reverse. It doesn’t require women to take a pill every day and many women experience either lighter, less painful periods, or no periods at all. When Implanon is removed the contraceptive effect reverses quickly, and its effectiveness is not impacted by vomiting or diarrhoea.

The disadvantages of Implanon is that it needs to be specially inserted by a health professional. The insertion of the device might not be readily available in your area, and you may not be able to access the procedure for free. Women can experience some pain and bruising following the insertion, which is another thing to consider. Women on Implanon experience a change in their bleeding pattern, which can make bleeding unpredictable. Implanon also doesn’t protect against STIs.

Can Women Who Breastfeed Use Implanon?

Yes. If you are breastfeeding your newborn Implanon can be safely used, but it is worth checking with your doctor about your individual situation. Some studies have suggested that hormones from the Implanon can pass to the baby through breastmilk, so always talk to your health provider first.

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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