FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Sometimes people are too embarrassed, too busy, or just don’t know the right questions. The questions on this page should cover a lot of aspects of what you need to know though.

THE CONTRACEPTIVE IMPLANT

Why does the contraceptive implant have to be replaced after three or five years?

The implant contains a progestin reservoir which is released in tiny doses during the three years or five years depending on the type to prevent pregnancy. It will need to be replaced after this time as the hormone reservoir will run out.

Can you feel the contraceptive implant or see it from the outside?

The implant is about the size of a thin matchstick, and people have it inserted under the skin of the inner side of the upper arm. It can easily be felt, but it is not very visible, except to someone who is looking for it. There will be a tiny mark at the point of insertion, but this isn’t very visible providing the implant has been inserted by a trained healthcare provider.

Is it ok to have if you play a lot of sport or could exercise cause the contraceptive implant to move out of position?

Migration of the implant is very rare, even with vigorous exercise, and is not known to be serious, however have been some reports of pain or discomfort. If you cannot feel the implant where it was originally positioned, then speak to your doctor or healthcare provider to ensure it is located properly or removed if necessary.

Will the hormones affect my periods?

Many women find that heavy, painful periods are reduced. There can sometimes be irregular bleeding initially, but this should go after the first few months.

When should the implant be inserted?

After the counseling by your healthcare provider and making sure that you are not pregnant, the implant should be inserted within 7 days after the onset of menstrual bleeding, or immediately or within 7 days after abortion. If the contraceptive implant is inserted at any other time, you will need to use an additional non-hormonal (barrier) method for the following 7 days. In case of questions, please consult with your healthcare provider.

Is the implantation procedure painful?

Local anesthesia is used so there should be very little pain, and the procedure takes only a couple of minutes. There might be a bit of bruising or soreness afterwards.

What if I don’t want it anymore, can a contraceptive implant be easily removed?

Yes, the implant can be removed at any time. But must be removed by a well-trained healthcare provider at the end of three or five years depending on the type or, they can be removed at any time before that, for either personal or medical reasons.

How soon after removal can I get pregnant?

Once the implants are removed, the contraceptive effect wears off quickly and you can become pregnant as rapidly as women who have used no contraceptive at all.

Can implants be left permanently in a woman's arm?

Leaving the implants in place beyond their effective lifespan is generally not recommended if the woman continues to be at risk of pregnancy. The implants themselves are not dangerous, but as the hormone levels in the implants drop, they become less and less effective.

Can I use the implant when breastfeeding?

Studies have shown no significant harmful effects on the growth or health of infants whose mothers began to use contraceptive implants six weeks after childbirth. There is no data to support the use of the implants earlier than six weeks after childbirth.

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