Sometimes, talking about contraception and periods can be a daunting subject for some – but it’s something all girls go through and should therefore be spoken about.
I recently had the implant fitted (Nexplanon), after trying various different contraceptive methods, this was my last resort. After trying both the mini pill’s (Millinette and Rigevidon) which didn’t agree with me and both gave me horrible side effects: headaches, mood swings, making my anxiety much worse, cramps and making my period extremely heavy when I had the week off the pill. I had previously been on the depo injection for 6 years (15-21) and was advised by my doctor to have a break, let my body breathe and have a couple of periods to let my body release all the nasty toxins.
After having a break whilst trying the mini pills, I decided to go back on the depo as it seemed to be the best option for me (although it can cause weight gain, in the 6 years, my weight only ever fluctuated slightly either way), but low and behold after going back on it, I started to gain weight QUICKLY. So after many talks with the doctors and a lot of research, I decided I would go on the implant. The coil was the other option but I was completely against that for personal reasons.
Nexplanon – it is a small 40mm flexible tube which is inserted into your arm, a etonogestrel implant (68mg Radiopaque) which is designed to protect you from pregnancy for 3 years without having to worry. Side note – Nexplanon does NOT protect you from STI’s.
The procedure was pretty straight forward, you are given local anaesthetic in the area underneath your arm and then the doctor will finish the procedure once completely numb. Ultimately, the injection hurts more than the whole procedure altogether. As the area is numb, it really does not hurt (despite my apprehension beforehand). Once the tube has been inserted, the doctor will get you to touch it so you know where it is. This. Is. Gross. After the anaesthetic has worn off, be prepared for it to hurt A LOT. This was something I wasn’t prepared for, although told it could hurt a bit, I wasn’t prepared for just how much. For two days, it was extremely uncomfortable and aching. As with everything, there are side effects. The main one of the Nexplanon is that your periods can become irregular and you may have longer/heavier periods than before. The chances are 25% your periods will be heavier, but are advised to give your body at least 3/6 months for your body to get used to the new contraception.
My experience – the weirdest thing is that you CAN feel the tube in your arm which is really gross, every movement also excentuates the pain but after a few days you will get used to it being there. One other thing – people will ask to touch it, gross/weird I know, but its funny what curiosity does.
Pro’s of the Nexplanon
- The implant is effective, over 99% prevention of pregnancy
- You don’t have to remember to do anything for 3 years (take the pill, remember to book appointment every 3 months)
- It won’t interfere with sex
- Its a good option for those who can’t take oestrogen
Con’s of the Nexplanon
- It can interfere with your periods – can become irregular, heavier or can stop completely
- Side effects – headaches, dizziness, sore boobs
- Infection (if aftercare is not followed correctly)
- Does not prevent against STI’s
As I have only had the implant fitted for four days, I am yet to notice anything worth mentioning, therefore I have decided to do a follow up in a couple of months to update you all on what its like having the implant! If you are thinking of getting the implant, 1) speak to your doctor, as they really will give you the best advice and tell you whether it will benefit you and 2) do not read horror stories online, this will only make you more nervous or worried about getting the implant. If you have the implant, please share your stories below as I would love to hear how you got on with it too!