The Birth Control Implant: Long Acting, Reversible Birth Control

The women's health specialists at Gainesville's All About Women discuss this low maintenance birth control option

When it comes to birth control, there's no one size fits all method. There are also many more options out there than your average birth control pill; options that can be a lot easier to manage. One of those options is the birth control implant, brand name Nexplanon.

What is the Implant and How Does it Work?

The implant is a matchstick-sized rod that a skilled provider inserts directly under the skin of a woman's upper arm. The rod contains the hormone progestin, which prevents pregnancy. The rod continually releases a small amount of progestin into the woman's blood stream. This progestin prevents eggs from leaving the ovaries. It also makes a woman's cervical mucus thicker, which prevents sperm from entering the uterus.

Once inserted, an implant can stay in place and prevent pregnancy for up to three years. If a woman decides that she wants to become pregnant, the implant can be easily removed at any time and fertility returns quickly after removal.

How Effective is the Implant?

The implant is considered to be a highly effective form of birth control. It is over 99% effective —as effective as sterilization. Furthermore, there is no issue of user error—no missed pills, forgotten shots, or ill applied condoms. The medical community considers the implant, along with all types of IUDS, to be a long-acting, reversible (LARC) form of birth control.

What are the Advantages of the Implant?

The biggest advantage of the implant is that it is low-maintenance and highly effective. And because the implant contains the hormone progestin, it carries many of the same benefits associated with the birth control pill, such as the potential to reduce PMS symptoms, depression, and symptoms of endometriosis.

There are also other unique advantages to the implant:

  • It's discreet; no one else will know you have it;
  • It's safe to use while breastfeeding;
  • It can be an option for women who can't use estrogen forms of birth control;
  • You don't have to think about your birth control for three years, but it can be removed at any time and fertility can return quickly.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend LARC methods of birth control like the implant for teens and young women who do not want to become pregnant in the near future.

What Are the Side Effects of Implant?

There are some side effects associated with the implant. The most common is irregular bleeding, such as spotting between periods, and longer, heavier periods for the first six to twelve months of use. Following that time, many women have lighter periods less often. Some women cease having periods altogether.

Other less common side effects include:

  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Mood Changes
  • Depression
  • Sex Drive Changes

The implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. You should use additional barrier form of contraception like a condom with an untested partner.

Choose a Provider Experienced With the Implant

For your implant to be safely and effectively inserted, it is important for you to choose a women's health provider who is experienced at implant insertion. At the Gainesville and Lake City offices of All About Women, our team of providers offers experience and professionalism in a comfortable and compassionate setting.

If you aren't sure what birth control option is best for you, continue reading about other options, including permanent birth control. To determine the best options for your individual situation, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.