Now, the days of tediously taking oral contraceptive pills every day are finally over. Thanks to modern science, the concept of a birth control implant has been perfected and is now a reality. But how does it work?
Birth control implants come in many different names, but they all look the same – a thin, flexible, plastic rod, 40mm in length and 2mm in diameter, roughly the size of a toothpick or a cardboard matchstick. It requires a prescription before you can buy it, and you’ll need a trained doctor to have it inserted under the skin of the arm. Contraceptive implants provide continuous protection from pregnancy for 3 years. Compared to its predecessor, Norplant, which consisted of six rods, the new birth control implant, Implanon only requires one, making insertion and removal easier.
Birth control implants work like the progestin-only pill or the minipill, it thickens the cervical mucus lining to prevent sperm from getting to the egg, changes the lining of the uterus so that implantation of a fertilized ovum would be difficult, and stops the ovaries from releasing an egg cell monthly. The implant continually releases a low dose of etonogestrel, a kind of progestin, over a period of three years.
Here are some of the advantages offered by birth control implants:
It offers a 99% effectivity rate.
It is a good alternative for women who cannot use estrogen-based oral contraceptives.
It provides continuous and long-lasting protection from accidental pregnancy.
It is barely noticeable, making it a private and discreet contraceptive method to use.
It can be used even when a woman is breastfeeding.
It allows for a more enjoyable sex life because nothing needs to be inserted or put on before having sexual intercourse.
It can be removed any time within the three-year period.
A woman’s fertility returns almost immediately after removal of the implant.
Here are some of the disadvantages you might encounter if you use the contraceptive implant:
There are complications on the site of implantation. Complications like: pain, bruising, redness, and swelling.
There may be problems removing the implant because the implant cannot be felt or it could have broken.
There is a slight chance of getting a scar from the insertion and removal of the implant.
And just like any hormonal contraceptive method ever created, the birth control implant still have its set of side effects, these are:
Depression or anxiety
Painful menstrual periods
Viral infection (cold, sore throats, sinus infections, or flu-like symptoms).
Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should not use contraceptive implants as it may cause complications to the growing fetus inside their bodies. Birth control implants are also not for women who have or have had breast cancer, unexplainable vaginal bleeding, liver diseases, a history of mental illnesses, or blood clotting diseases.
Consult your doctor for a thorough discussion of the risks and benefits of using the birth control implant. They’ll be able to tell you if any of your present and past medical conditions would decrease the efficiency of the contraceptive implant.