Less common but no less relevant, let’s talk about the implant. Whether they’re good for you or not isn't my place to say. What I can tell you though is that the implant as birth control is a very effective method that is definitely worth consideration.
The implant is a small and flexible tube that is placed under the skin in the arm. It’s the other type of LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) other than the IUD. It’s effective for 3 years, but can be taken out at any time.
How is it inserted and removed?
A healthcare professional will use a localized anesthetic to numb the area. Then, a small incision is made and the implant is set in/taken out. Both procedures only take a few minutes. It is not a surgery and you will not need to be put under total anesthesia. Typically healing only takes around 2 days.
How big is it?
About the size of a matchstick.
Can you see or feel it in your arm?
You usually can’t see it, but if you poke it at you can probably feel it. It shouldn’t hurt though.
How does it work?
It works similarly to other hormone-based birth control forms. It releases a hormone that prevents your eggs from being released and causes the cervix to build up mucus (which blocks sperm from reaching an egg).
Can you use it while breastfeeding?
How soon after it’s taken out do the effects wear off?
Almost immediately once removed from the body. It will not cause infertility.
Can anyone get the implant?
Sadly, no. If you’ve had breast cancer, are currently pregnant, or have liver disease, this is not for you. The good news is that if you talk to your doctor, they’ll steer you in the right direction.
Rumor has it your menstrual period might stop if you get the implant. Is that true?
Yes, your period could stop entirely, as well and become lighter. If it becomes heavier, you should talk to your doctor. But irregular periods are definitely a possible side effect.
Why it’s awesome:
- There is nothing inside your vagina, which means it’s very discrete and will not impact intercourse
- Once it’s in, you don’t need to think about it for three years. No more phone alarms, or shots, or calendar reminders.
- They offer a continuous and reliable release of a hormone (which is arguably better for you than a spike of hormone every day like with the pill). It’s more effective than the pill as well.
- Can be used immediately after childbirth, miscarriage, or an abortion
Possible risks and downsides:
- Irregular and unpredictable menstrual bleeding
- Like all birth controls, there is a very small risk of pregnancy if the sole contraceptive method
- Scarring, infection, or irritation at the insertion spot
- They do not prevent the spread of STI’s. Only condoms do that (but the two pair nicely!)
- Some medications can make it less effective (talk to your doctor)
While they’re not as popular as some of the other birth control options, they’re still a great choice. They’re one and done, and wouldn’t it be nice to not have to think about your birth control for three years? As always, if you’re sleeping with different partners, it is still recommended you use a condom to prevent getting an STI.
But here’s the deal: I’m not a doctor so if you’re really interested in getting the implant, go talk to a healthcare professional. And shameless plug, you can get one at Adagio Health.
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