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Contraceptive Implant Side Effects (advantages and disadvantages)

Contraceptive Implant Side Effects (advantages and disadvantages)
Contraceptive Implant Side Effects (advantages and disadvantages)

Using the Implant as a contraceptive may have some favorable and unfavorable side effects. For example, individuals with acne may observe the clearing or worsening of their acne. There are also advantages and disadvantages tied to changes in bleeding patterns and may be favorable to someone who is fine with not having regular menstrual bleeding. If you prefer having regular periods, the contraceptive implant may not be a good option for you.

Contraceptive implant side effects

The most common side effects of the Contraceptive Implant are related to changes in vaginal bleeding.
Contraceptive implant users have reported experiencing irregular bleeding, especially for the first 6-12 months (this could mean spotting in between periods or having longer, heavier periods; irregular bleeding the whole time the implant is in; or having 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 rather than irregular bleeding [8].

Other side effects include

  • acne (may worsen or improve);
  • a change in appetite;
  • Stomach cramping and/or bloating;
  • a change in one’s sex drive;
  • ovarian cysts;
  • depression;
  • discoloring or scarring of the skin over the implant (some women develop a small or thickened scar);
  • dizziness;
  • hair loss;
  • headaches;
  • nausea;
  • nervousness;
  • breasts tenderness; and
  • pain or bruising where the implant was inserted, but this may only last for one or two weeks. [9]

If, after six months, you feel the side effects are more than you can accept, you can have it removed and switch to another method of contraception.

Remember that the contraceptive implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Contraceptive Implant Complications

Uncommon

Infection at the site of insertion – most infections will usually occur within the first two months following the insertion.

Difficult removal. This is mostly rare if the implant is properly inserted and the healthcare provider is properly skilled in implant removal.

Rare

Expulsion of the Implant, which if it happens will mostly occur within the first four months after insertion. In the rare case, the implant comes out by itself, you should immediately start using a backup contraceptive and visit your healthcare provider for a solution.[10]

Extremely Rare

Migration of the implant. There have been a few reports of implants being found in other parts of the body, mainly due to improper insertion. In this paper written by Zhang and colleagues, it is argued that the migration of a contraceptive implant is a very rare occurrence and when it happens, the implant does not go very far from the arms. In very extremely rare cases, the implant may migrate to the lungs, through the bloodstream.

What if I do not like Contraceptive Implant spotting?

Irregular spotting or bleeding is a common but unharmful side effect of using a Contraceptive Implant. With most women, the bleeding will become lighter or completely disappear after the first year of having an implant. If you are not comfortable with the side effects associated with the contraceptive implant, including irregular bleeding or spotting, you should speak to your healthcare provider about switching to a different method.

If I have a Contraceptive Implant and no periods, how do I know that I’m not pregnant?

It is common for menstrual periods to disappear after the first year of using a contraceptive implant. This is not a sign of pregnancy. Within the 1st year of usage, less than 1% of women using a contraceptive implant will become pregnant, and if it happens, there is a chance that it will be ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually on the fallopian tube. If you suspect that you are experiencing the first signs of pregnancy, take a pregnancy test to confirm if you are indeed pregnant.

Early symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are similar to that of a regular pregnancy. As the pregnancy advances in weeks, you might start experiencing other signs like abnormal vaginal bleeding, sudden severe pains on the lower part of one side of the abdomen, shoulder pain, and lower back pains. If your test is positive, you should immediately visit a healthcare provider for a proper evaluation. Since the nutrients available in the uterus cannot reach the fallopian tube, the fetus in an ectopic pregnancy cannot survive. An ectopic pregnancy is usually treated using medication that stops the growth of the fetus. In some cases where the fallopian tubes have ruptured, the pregnancy is removed surgically.

Contraception Quiz

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External Condom

Compare with similar Contraceptive Methods

Are you wondering if condoms are better than daily pills? Or if you should opt for a birth control implant? We're here to assist you in making this decision. You can select up to 5 contraceptive methods and compare them side by side to weigh the pros and cons of each.

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