A contraceptive implant is an effective method of contraception that can protect you from falling pregnant for up to three years. There is one type of contraceptive implant available in Australia, called Implanon NXT or the implanon rod.
What it is
Implanon is a contraceptive implant that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It is a tiny, flexible rod that looks similar to a matchstick. It works by continuously releasing small amounts of progestogen, a hormone that prevents you from getting pregnant.
The implanon rod is a type of long-lasting reversible contraceptive (LARC), providing contraception for up to three years. It has 99.95% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.
You need a prescription for this form of contraception, and it needs to be inserted and removed by a trained doctor or nurse. However, once it is inserted, you can forget about it till you want to have a baby or it is time to be replaced. For those who struggle to remember to take the contraceptive pill everyday, the implanon can be a great alternative.
Advantages of a Contraceptive Implant
- Highly effective
- Reversible – fertility returns immediately once it is removed
- Long-lasting (up to 3 years)
- Safe for most women
- Does not disrupt sex
- Helps reduce heavy periods, menstrual cramps, acne, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in some women
Disadvantages of a Contraceptive Implant
- Might cause heavier, frequent, longer or irregular periods, especially in the first 3 months of use
- Side effects such as pain and bruising at the incision site, headaches, tender breast, mood changes, etc.
- Requires the skills of your healthcare provider for insertion and removal
- Risk of moving from its original position
- Does not protect against STIs – will need to use condoms to prevent these
- May leave a small scar
- Cannot be used by all women (e.g. those with severe liver disease, blood clotting history, taking certain medications, or those unable to take the hormone progestogen)
When thinking about whether Implanon is right for you, weigh up the pros and cons to see if it will be a good fit for your body and lifestyle. Your GP or gynaecologist will be able to provide further information about Implanon and other contraceptive options.
You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.