Implant

The implant is a tiny rod that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It is so small, in fact, most people cannot see it once it is inserted. The implant releases progestin, a hormone that keeps you ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus – which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. It prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years.

Quick facts:

  • Nobody can see it. It is easy, incredibly effective, long lasting, and reversible.
  • Effectiveness: the implant is among the most effective methods.
    • Perfect use: greater than

      99%

    • Typical use: greater than

      99%

  • Side effects: irregular bleeding is the most common side effect of the implant.
  • Effort: low. Quick insertion and you do not have to do anything for 3 years.

Implant

Quick facts:

The implant is a tiny rod that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It is so small, in fact, most people cannot see it once it is inserted. The implant releases progestin, a hormone that keeps you ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus – which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. It prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years.

  • Nobody can see it. It is easy, incredibly effective, long lasting, and reversible.
  • Effectiveness: the implant is among the most effective methods.
    • Perfect use: greater than

      99%

    • Typical use: greater than

      99%

  • Side effects: irregular bleeding is the most common side effect of the implant.
  • Effort: low. Quick insertion and you do not have to do anything for 3 years.

Get it and forget it. If you do not want to worry about remembering birth control, the implant just may be a good option. Once it is in, it lasts for up to 3 years.

Hands free. No packages or prescriptions to pick up at the pharmacy – there is nothing that could get lost or forgotten.

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

The pregnancy question. You should be able to get pregnant any time after the implant is removed. If you get it taken out, but do not want to get pregnant, protect yourself with another method right away.

Once the implant is inserted, there is nothing for you to do. The implant remains under your skin, offering protection against pregnancy for up to 3 years.

Inserting the implant: a provider will gather your medical info and give you a physical exam. They then numb a small area of your upper arm with a painkiller and insert the implant under your skin. That is it.

If you get the implant during the first five days of your period you areprotected from pregnancy right away. If you are outside of those first five days, you will need to use a back-up method for the following week. (Condoms, internal condoms, diaphragm, sponge, or emergency contraception).

When it is time to take the implant out, your provider will numb your arm again, make a tiny cut in your skin, and remove the implant. If you are interested in continuing to use the implant, they can put another one in at the same time.

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

The Positive: there are actually lots of things about birth control that are good for your body as well as your sex life.

  • Does not interrupt the heat of the moment
  • Most women have fewer, lighter periods
  • You do not have to take it every day
  • Your birth control is taken care of for up to 3 years
  • Safe for smokers and those with hypertension and diabetes
  • Can be used while breastfeeding
  • Can be used by women whocannot take estrogen
  • May improve PMS, depression, and symptoms from endometriosis

The Negative: everyone worries about negative side effects, but for many women, they are not a problem. If you do experience side effects, they will probably go away. You are introducing hormones into your body, so it can take a few months to adjust.

The most common complaint:

  • Irregular bleeding, especially for the first 6-12 months (this could mean spotting in between periods or having longer, heavier periods. Some women have irregular bleeding the whole time the implant is in. Some women get no periods at all. You need to be okay with irregular periods if you are thinking about the implant.)

Less common side effects:

  • Acne
  • Change in appetite
  • A change in your sex drive
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Depression
  • Discoloring or scarring on the skin over the implant
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Pain where the implant was inserted
  • Sore breasts

If you have bad side effects that do not improve after six months, talk with your provider about switching to something that works better for you. Just make sure to stay protected by starting a new method immediately.

*For a very small number of women there are risks of serious side effects

We are here to help you. If it still does not feel right, we have ideas for other methods. Just remember: if you change methods, make sure you use another method while you switch.

Do I need to worry about spotting?

  • Spotting, which can happen with a bunch of different methods, does not make you lose that much blood, 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

What if I do not like the spotting?

  • This is a side effect that may be hard to fix, but if you have only had the implant for a few months or less, it could also lessen or go away on its own.
  • Still not working? If the spotting does not improve with time, you might want to check out methods that let you have a predictable period. These include the pill, the patch, or the ring.
  • Try a different method: patch; pill; ring

What if I want to get pregnant?

  • See your provider to get it removed. Once it is removed, the hormones in your body should go back to normal pretty quickly.

What if I feel moody, bloated, or nervous?

  • The hormones in your body will start to regulate after about six months.
  • If you have had the implant for less than 6 months, and the side effects are bearable, wait before asking to have it removed.
  • If you have had the implant for more than 6 months, talk with your provider about a different method.
  • Still not working? If you have given it at least six months and the side effects are still bothering you, consider trying a shorter-acting, lower-dose method, such as the pill, the patch, or the ring. You could also try either IUD.
  • Try a different method: IUD; patch; pill; ring

What if I do not want to have something in my body for a long time?

  • All the birth control devices have been rigorously tested and are approved for long-term use. Because it is designed to be there for a long time, you can forget about the implant for up to 3 years.
  • Still not working? If you are still bothered by the thought of having a device inside of you, there are plenty of other options. What about the shot, the pill, or the patch?
  • Try a different method: patch; pill; shot

How will I know that I am not pregnant if I do not have regular periods?

  • It is normal to stop having your period, and many women look at that as a good thing.
  • Still not working? If it is important to you to have regular periods so that you are sure you are not pregnant, you might want to try a cyclic method like the ring, the patch, or the pill.
  • Try a different method: patch; pill; ring

What if I want to get pregnant?

  • There may be a delay in your ability to get pregnant after getting the implant removed. Many women get pregnant soon after stopping the implant. If you do not want to get pregnant, start a different method immediately after getting your implant removed. Depending on your body, it can take up to 2 months to get back to your regular cycle after having the implant removed.