Implanon is a type of contraceptive implant – it is a small, flexible plastic rod (it’s 4cm long) that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm by a medical professional. It is a long-term birth control option for women – it lasts up to 3 years. You can read what women think about it here

Here are some common questions about Implanon:

Does Implanon protect me against sexually transmitted diseases?

In short, no. The only way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is by using condoms. Here are some other helpful tips on how to avoid STDs.

How does Implanon work?

The small plastic rod that is inserted just under your skin releases a small amount of etonogestrel, which is a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone.  This prevents ovulation (so no egg is released from the ovaries). The other change this creates is to thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the womb.

Will it affect my periods?

Yes, most likely it will. Some women report heavier periods when using Implanon, while for others, their periods stop altogether. Some women experience spotting (light bleeds between periods). For example, 50% of the women who have shared their experience of Implanon on our website mentioned that their periods were heavier while on Implanon, while others reported lighter periods or that their periods stopped completely.

I’ve heard Implanon called a subdermal contraceptive. What does that mean?

Subdermal means that it sits under your skin. The implant is inserted by a medical professional, usually in your upper arm (and usually of your non-dominant arm).

Can you see or feel the implant?

You can feel the implant if you run your finger over where it sits. Others usually won’t be able to see it.

Does it hurt to have the Implanon inserted/removed?

The doctor or nurse will use a local anaesthetic to insert the implant and while you may experience some discomfort during insertion, it is usually not painful, and it does not take long to make the insertion. After insertion, your arm may ache a little as the implant settles.

For removal, again, the medical professional uses local anaesthetic to minimise the discomfort, but you are likely to feel a little stretching or pulling as the implant is pulled from the tissue in your arm. However, it should not be painful and it does not last long. Again, you’re likely to feel some slight discomfort after removal but that passes after a day or two.

How long do I keep the Implanon in for?

Generally 3 years. You should consult your doctor if you are overweight as this may affect how long the implant is effective for. You can have the implant removed at any time before the 3 years.

Who makes Implanon?

Implanon is made by Merck. You can read their information about Implanon here.

What other side effects might I have with Implanon?

In addition to the changes to their menstrual cycles, women who have reviewed Implanon on our website have mentioned the following effects:

  • Lower sex drive
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness
  • Migraines or Headaches (83% of the women who’ve shared their experience of Implanon so far our website mentioned they experienced either migraines or headaches while on Implanon)

Are you using Implanon? Or have you used it in the past? If yes, we’d love to hear from you!

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If you’d like to share your own experience and tell us what side effects you felt, and whether you recommend Implanon to others, head over to Share your Experience