If you are interested in reliable contraception and are looking for something different than pills, patches, rings, condoms, or shots, you may want to consider a subdermal Implant (Nexplanon).  Like IUDs (reviewed in the previous blog post), the subdermal implant belongs to the family of contraception called LARC (long acting reversible contraception).  LARC are over 20 times more effective than pills, patches, or the ring and if you want to stop them or desire to get pregnant, you can have them removed at any time.

What is Nexplanon?

  • Nexplanon is the brand name for a small device, about the size of a toothpick, that is placed just under the skin on the inside portion of the upper arm.

  • It can stay in up to 3 years and during that time releases progestin hormone that works as a contraception by preventing ovulation.

What are the effects on your period?

  • Bleeding with the nexplanon is a little more unpredictable than with an IUD.

  • After an initial acclimation window of a few months, periods can be absent, you could have spotting irregularly or regularly, or your periods can become more frequent.

  • I counsel patients that there is a 50/50 chance they will like their bleeding pattern with Nexplanon.  

  • Given that 50% do have improved cycles, this product is FDA approved to treat heavy or painful periods.

What is the insertion process like?

  • First things first, if you are interested in the Nexplanon you should speak with a provider in our office to see if you are a good candidate.  Then we have to order you a Nexplanon as we do not keep too many in stock at the office.

  • When ready, you will be scheduled for insertion with one of our Nexplanon certified providers.  

  • The inner, upper arm is numbed with a small injection and the implant is inserted.  It is VERY well tolerated by women of all ages.

  • A small bandage is placed on the insertion site.

  • It is VERY common to have bruising and soreness at the insertion site.  

  • Infection is extremely rare but if the insertion site is red and swollen and appears to be infected, you should contact the office.

  • Of note, you should abstain for 7 days or use backup contraception for 7 days after placement to allow the Nexplanon to be an effective birth control.

 

What happens when I am ready to get pregnant?

  • The removal process is similar to insertion but can sometimes take a few minutes longer.

  • Some women’s periods will return immediately back to regular, and others may take a couple of months.  So it is possible and safe to conceive right away.