Image of a birth control implant

The pros and cons of the Implant

An implant is a tiny rod containing a hormone, which is injected just under the skin on your arm.
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An implant is a birth control method with a very low failure rate when correctly inserted by a professional health care provider. 

It can stay in place for three to five years. The implant gives off a steady supply of the hormone progestin, which prevents you from getting pregnant by thickening the cervical mucus and inhibiting ovulation.

What are the pros of Implant?

  • Highly effective when inserted correctly
  • No need to worry about birth control for three to five years
  • Fertility returns as soon as the implant is removed
  • Appropriate for women who can’t use birth control that contains estrogen
  • It may reduce heavy and painful periods 

What are the cons of Implant?

The side effects include:

  • Spotting - quite common
  • Headaches
  • Breast pain
  • Acne
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Period may become  irregular, lighter, heavier or longer, or may stop
  • In rare cases, the implant can also grow into your muscle or move, making it more difficult to remove it.

An implant doesn’t protect against STDs.

Implants are great for women after giving birth, smokers over the ages of 35, and women with high blood pressure.

Do I need to visit a doctor?

Yes, you do.

You must see your doctor or healthcare provider get an implant. They will ask you some questions and do a history screening before inserting the implant under the skin of your upper arm. It can stay in place for up to three years.

Inserting an Implant takes just a few minutes. It is painless since the procedure is done with local anesthesia. 

A healthcare provider will take your implant out of your arm whenever you want to stop using it. He/she will tell you how to wash and take care of your skin for a couple of days after removal. 

In case you can't feel the implant, implant feels like it's changed shape, notice any changes to the skin or feel any pain at the site of the implant, visit your doctor for further analysis. 

For your birth control services, visit your nearest Marie Stopes Clinic. Click here to find a clinic near you. You can also visit a government hospital near you. 

Riddle ID

Did you learn something new?

Hi Frank, Some of the side effects include the following nausea, stomach cramping/bloating/pain, dizziness, headache, mood changes, breast tenderness or pain, weight gain, back pain, menstrual cramps, changes in menstrual periods, vaginal itching, and vaginal irritation or discharge. No all the side effects will occur at the same time. Talk to your health provider about other serious side effects that may require medical attention.
Hey Vicky, usually the IUD is removed when it reaches its expiration date. This is between 3 and 10 years and upto 12 years for Copper IUDs. Did your doctor tell you when the IUD will expire? It maybe important for you to visit a medical centre for advice from a health worker and the removal. Check out the following article;-

Hi Ivy, the most common side effect of the Implant is irregular bleeding (or spotting), especially in the first 6-12 months. Sometimes the implant causes long-term spotting, or periods get longer and heavier. But for most people, the implant makes their periods way lighter. Most people with the implant stop getting their periods at all after a year. It’s also totally safe to not get a period. 

Hey Jane, you have the option of having it done under local anaesthetia and it only takes the time required for an injection. Discuss your options with your health care provider.

Hi Joy, this method will cause some side effects including irregular periods, mood changes, weight gain, abdominal pain, nausea, back pain, headaches, dizziness among others. Also, there are women who shouldn't use implants including, sensitivity to any part of the implant, unexplained vaginal bleeding among other issues. It is important to discuss to discuss this with your medical provider before the implant is inserted. 

Hi Sewwy, there are a number of reasons that can cause one to not see their period including, pregnancy, breastfeeding, use of some birth control methods, menopause among others. It is important to determine what could be have caused this to be able to find a solution. Talk to you health provider for further advice especially if this has happened for several months. Check out the following article;-

Hi Jaquelinsince both methods are hormonal methods, you should only start the new method (Implant) after the time for the injection has elapsed. I suggest you further discuss the change in method you wish to make. 

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 12:57 am
I have used this method for about 2 years after my first child. I removed it and got pregnant of my second child. Can I get another implant?

Hi there, as described above, implant can make your periods more irregular. It may also cause side-effects that include headaches, acne, and ovarian cysts. Spotting is quite common as well. In rare cases, the implant can also grow into the muscle or move, making it more difficult to remove it. Do discuss with your midwife or doctor for additional information. 

Hello Reley, thank you for reaching out to us. We are so sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time. The arm inplant has hormones that are slowly released over time to prevent pregnancy. Even after the implant is removed, it takes the body between three months and a year to clear the hormones out of her system. It would be best to keep trying. Also getting pregnant may be straight forward but it may take several tries to get a positive. Best thing to do is keep trying. This article has some great pointers on how best to procede.

Hi Angella, 

It's immediately effective if inserted during the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, which starts with the first day of bleeding. The implant is effective after 7 days if it is inserted at any other time in the menstrual cycle.

my inplant is expiring on 20/7/20210 but ever since i put it i av never got my periods,so will i have 2 wait 2 see my periods before inserting another one?

Hi Cathy, 

Some women stop having their periods after getting a hormonal implant. This is not a reason to worry. It just means that your ovaries are resting and not releasing an egg each month. In terms of getting a new implant, you can get another one after expiry or earlier if it is no longer needed. Talk to your doctor about your concerns before getting the implant inserted. 

Hi Hadija, 

No, the implant cannot get lost in the body since it cannot get absorbed. When an implant has been inserted properly, it should be easily felt in the arm. In some cases, it can move a short distance from where it was initially inserted. In some cases, it can enter the bloodstream and travel to the lungs. A migrated implant causes pain so this rarely goes unnoticed. When it cannot be located it is important to visit the doctor. 

To avoid these problems, providers should check on the status of an implant each time you visit the hospital. 

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