Friday, July 25, 2014

Implanon: Q&A

This is the first part of my installment posts about Implanon.

What is Implanon?
Implanon is a hormone implant used for birth control. A hormone-carrying plastic rod, the size of a matchstick, is inserted under the skin of your arm.

How Implanon works:
Your doctor (or nurse) inserts the rod into your skin through the use of a needle. The needle is inserted into your arm at a slight angle, and when the needle is fully in your arm, the applicator with the rod is parallel to your skin. The applicator releases the Implanon rod into your arm and the needle is removed. The rod remains in your arm for up to 3 years, but can be removed at any time.
The Implanon rod releases a steady dose of progestin into your body. Progestin is a synthetic (artificial) hormone that prevents ovulation (the ovary from releasing the egg) and thickens the mucus of the woman’s cervix. The thickened mucus prevents the sperm and egg from joining and fertilizing in case the egg is released.

Does it protect against STIs? No

Does it protect against pregnancy? Yes, Implanon is over 99% effective.

Advantages of using Implanon:
Once the rod is inserted, you do not have to worry about getting pregnant and do not have to remember to take daily preventative measures (like with the pill)
The Implanon rods are reversible – once the rod is removed you can usually quickly become pregnant again
The rod is extremely subtle – usually no one can see the rod once it has been inserted (or feel it unlike IUDs which can sometimes be felt during sexual activity)

Disadvantages of using Implanon:
Implanon can cause irregular bleeding and spotting
Pain and scarring can be associated with the insertion and removal of Implanon
May not work for overweight or obese women
Increased health risks, such as:
- Blood clots (especially if you are a smoker)
- Ovarian cysts
- Headaches
- Weight gain
- Depression
- Acne
- Breast pain
- Viral infections

More information about Implanon can be found at

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