WHAT IS IMPLANON?
Implanon is a method of contraception used widely for women of childbearing age. The implant is a flexible plastic stick, 4cm in length. The implant slowly releases a hormone, progestogen, into your body. Progestogen is similar to the hormone produced by the ovaries. The implant sold at our DTAP Clinic branches is IMPLANON NXT (68mg implant).
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE IMPLANT?
The implant is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and can last for up to 3 years.
HOW DOES THE IMPLANT WORK?
The implant works by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. It also thickens the fluid around the cervix (opening to the uterus/womb). This helps to prevent the sperm from entering.
HOW DO I USE THE IMPLANT?
The implant is injected under the skin of your inner upper arm by a trained doctor or nurse. A local anesthetic is used before the implant is inserted to numb the area for any pain. After the implant is inserted, patients will be able to feel the implant under the skin and it will not be visible.
WHEN DOES IS START TO BE EFFECTIVE?
When the implant is first inserted into the arm, it can take up to 7 days to start working to prevent pregnancy. This depends on the timing of your menstrual cycle and if other existing contraceptive measures are used.
BENEFITS OF THE IMPLANT
- Very effective method of contraception.
- Protection lasts for 3 years
- Patients can live without worry for 3 years once inserted
- Most patients have no menses at all after insertion or can expect light bleeding occasionally
- Periods will hurt much less
- Helps improve acne
- Patients can insert the Implanon even while breastfeeding.
- The implant can be removed at any time by a trained doctor.
- Once removed, patient’s fertility returns to normal quickly.
- Patients who are unable to tolerate other methods of contraception containing oestrogen such as; Oral contraceptive pills, IUD or vaginal rings can safely get Implanon as an option.
WHAT STOPS THE IMPLANT FROM WORKING?
The implant may not work if:
- Patients are taking other herbal remedies/supplements or medication
- The implant is left in for more than 3 years.
SIDE EFFECTS OF IMPLANON
- Mild bruising and pain after insertion or removal
- Change in menstrual cycle- irregular bleeding (NOT HARMFUL)
- Sore/tender breasts
- Mood changes
- Most of these side effects are most apparent within the first 3 months of insertion which then improves over time.
CONTRAINDICATION OF IMPLANON
- History of breast cancer or ongoing breast cancer disease.
- Severe liver disease
- Certain medication
WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT IMPLANON
- The implant does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases
- Patients are advised to set reminders of date on insertion to be able to know the expiry of the device once inserted.
- The implant can be inserted right after you give birth, even while breastfeeding.
- If you do get pregnant despite using the implant, it is still safe to keep the pregnancy and remove the device or to terminate the pregnancy, based on patient’s preferral
- The are various other contraception methods and each patient must seek a doctor’s consult prior to deciding which suits them best.