Birth control is any method used to avoid pregnancy. It has been used since ancient times and has evolved throughout the years. There are different types of birth control, but not all are suitable for you. Some women prefer natural types of contraception that need a lot of discipline and commitment with one’s partner.

Others like hormonal birth control pills takes a little less discipline since you have to take them every day.

The birth control implant is a little, tiny device of about 40 mm long, inserted under the skin of the upper arm of a woman. Its size is just about the same as a match stick and it is inserted through a needle with topical anesthesia. Most women don’t feel pain, but mostly a sensation of a little tug.

How does it work?

The implant is made to release progesterone into your body preventing you to get pregnant in many ways. First, makes the mucus in your cervix thicker so that the sperm becomes slower and doesn’t get into a woman’s eggs. Second, it avoids ovulation which is when the eggs you produce will not leave the ovaries and third it makes the lining of the womb more thin so that a fertilized egg can’t be supported.

According to the CDC, which is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention typically the failure rate is around 0.05 percent, making it one of the most effective type of birth control throughout the world if it is implanted correctly.

There are two known types of birth control implants, Nexplanon and Implanon. They both work the same way and last for abut 3 years so you won’t have a risk to get pregnant for that amount of time without worrying of taking medication daily. It is a type of long acting birth control and must be replaced after the 3 years and can be used throughout your fertile life up to menopause.

What are the benefits?

Being a long term reversible contraceptive, not worrying for 3 years if you might get pregnant is always a plus. Being one of the most trusted and effective birth controls, many women rely on it.  Since it is reversible, once you get the implant removed you can plan pregnancy whenever you want and it is recommended in cases where women can’t use birth controls that contain estrogen. It is even used while breastfeeding so that it won’t have any side effects passed on to the baby when lactating.

What are the disadvantages?

Your menstrual cycle may become irregular throughout the first year. Some women even experience amenohrrea, which is the absence of a menstrual period in a woman in her fertile stage. There might be fewer and lighter periods or heavier and longer periods. There might be a change in your libido, scarring or change in color in the place where the implant was inserted. Headaches, nausea and weight gain have been recorded. It is important to know that breast cancer patients can’t use birth control implants because of the liberation of hormones into the body. Serious side effects are very rare but be sure to contact a health professional if you experience prolonged or heavy bleeding, lumps in your breast or signs of infection in the implant site.

Some medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the implant so be sure to tell your doctor if you are using medication against HIV/AIDS, epilepsy,  and certain antibiotics. Since it doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases, it is recommended that you use barrier contraceptives along with this if you have different sexual partners.

References:

  • https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-implant-implanon
  • https://www.birthcontrol.com/options/birth-control-implant/
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control-implant#Disadvantages
  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/contraceptive-implant/?
  • picture source: https://pixabay.com/
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