The Birth Control Implant. Nexplanon Implant is a hormonal subdermal contraceptive Implant that's put into the arm. Check how it works, benefits, and more.


The implants are small plastic rods or capsules that are inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. They are so small; in fact, most people cannot see it once it is inserted. The implant releases progestin, a hormone that keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus – which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. It prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years, depending on the type you choose. There are different types, including Nexplanon, Jadelle and Levoplant.

Quick Facts

  • Nobody can see the rods or capsules. It is easy, incredibly effective, long lasting, and reversible.
  • Effectiveness: the implant is among the most effective methods. 99 of every 100 women using it will manage to prevent pregnancy.
  • Side effects: irregular bleeding is the most common side effect of the implant
  • Effort: low. Quick insertion and you do not have to do anything for 3-5 years
  • Doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


Get it and forget it. If you do not want to worry about remembering your contraceptive method, the implant just may be a good option. Once it is in, it lasts for 3-5 years, depending on which implant is used.

Hands-free. No packages or prescriptions to pick up at the pharmacy – there is nothing that could get lost or forgotten.

Total privacy. No one can tell when you have the implant. There is no packaging, and nothing you need to do just before you have sex.

The pregnancy question. You should be able to get pregnant any time after the implant is removed. If you get it taken out, but do not want to get pregnant, protect yourself with another method right away.

Availability. Would you like to use this method?  This method is widely available. However, not all types are available in some countries.

How To Use

Once the implant is inserted, there is nothing for you to do. The implant remains under your skin, offering protection against pregnancy for up to 3-5 years, depending on the implant used [4].

Inserting the implant: a provider will gather your medical info and give you a physical exam. They then numb a small area of your upper arm with a painkiller and insert the rods or capsules under your skin. That is it [7].

If you get the implant during the first five days of your period you are protected from pregnancy right away. If you are outside of those first five days, you will need to use a back-up method for the following week. external condoms (male)internal condoms (female )diaphragmsponge, or emergency contraception )[10].

When it is time to take the implant out, your provider will numb your arm again, make a tiny cut in your skin, and remove the implant. If you are interested in continuing to use the implant, they can put another one in at the same time [5].

Side Effects

Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.

The Positive: there are lots of things about the implant that are good for your body as well as your sex life. [8]

  • Does not interrupt the heat of the moment
  • Many women will eventually have fewer, lighter periods
  • You do not have to take it every day
  • Your birth control is taken care of for 3-5 years
  • Safe for smokers and those with hypertension and diabetes
  • Can be used while breastfeeding
  • Can be used by women who cannot take estrogen
  • May improve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, depression, and symptoms of endometriosis

The Negative: everyone worries about negative side effects, but for many women, they are not a problem. If you do experience side effects, they will probably go away. You are introducing hormones into your body, so it can take a few months to adjust.

The most common complaint [7]:

  • Irregular bleeding, especially for the first 6-12 months (this could mean spotting in between periods or having longer, heavier periods. Some women have irregular bleeding the whole time the implant is in. Some women get no periods at all. You need to be okay with irregular periods if you are thinking about the implant.) Implant users are more likely to have infrequent or no monthly bleeding than irregular bleeding.

Less common side effects [8]:

  • Acne
  • Change in appetite
  • A change in your sex drive
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Depression
  • Discoloring or scarring on the skin over the implant
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Pain where the implant was inserted
  • Breasts tenderness

If after six months you still feel the side effects are more than you can accept, switch methods and stay protected. Remember, there is a method for everyone, everywhere! Just make sure to stay protected by starting a new method immediately.

*For a very small number of women, there are risks of serious side effects


[1] Allen, et al. (2016). Hormonal Contraception. In Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. Retrieved from

[2] Dr Marie Marie Stopes International. (2017). Contraception. Retrieved from

[3] FSRH The Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare. (Amended 2019). UK MEDICAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA. RCOG, London. Retrieved from

[4] FPA the sexual health charity. (2017). Your guide to the contraceptive implant. Retrieved from

[5] Family Planning NSW. (2013). The contraceptive implant. Retrieved from

[6] Kukstas, C. (2016). The contraceptive implant. Retrieved from

[7] Pathfinder International. (2016). Contraceptive Implants: Clinical Training. Retrieved from

[8] Rowlands, S., & Searle, S. (2014). Contraceptive implants: current perspectives. Open Access Journal of Contraception. Retrieved from

[9] Reproductive Health Access Project. (2018). PROGESTIN IMPLANT. Retrieved from

[10] SHINE SA. (2018). Contraceptive implant . Retrieved from

[11]World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (2018) Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. Baltimore and Geneva. Retrieved from

[12] World Health Organization. (2016). Selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use. Geneva. Retrieved from