Everything You Need To Know About Birth Control Implants

Birth control implants are small, flexible devices that are inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. These implants are about the size of a matchstick and are highly effective at offering long-term protection against pregnancy. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about birth control implants, including how they work, their effectiveness, side effects, and more.

How Do Birth Control Implants Work?

Birth control implants work by releasing a form of the hormone progesterone called etonogestrel, which prevents pregnancy in three ways:

  • It thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to reach the egg
  • It prevents ovulation, so there is no egg for the sperm to fertilize
  • It thins the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant

How Effective Are Birth Control Implants?

Birth control implants are 99% effective, with a failure rate of less than 1%. This means that less than 1 woman out of 100 will get pregnant within the first year of use, making implants one of the most effective forms of birth control. The effectiveness of the implant is partially because it does not depend on user compliance, which is a common issue with other forms of birth control, like remembering to take a birth control pill or properly using a condom.

How Long Do Birth Control Implants Last?

The most commonly used birth control implant is called Nexplanon, which lasts for up to three years. Implants are a long-term form of birth control, making them a good option for those who want to avoid pregnancy for an extended period.

How Are Birth Control Implants Inserted?

Birth control implants are inserted in the upper arm by a healthcare provider using a small device called an applicator. The procedure takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless. After insertion, a small bandage is placed over the insertion site. It is also recommended to avoid strenuous activity for a few days.

Are There Any Side Effects of Birth Control Implants?

As with any form of birth control, there are potential side effects associated with birth control implants. The most common side effect involves changes in menstrual bleeding patterns. Some women experience lighter periods or no periods at all, while others experience heavier or more frequent periods. There are also other possible side effects, including: 

  • Pain or irritation at the implant site
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Increase in acne
  • Depression (rare)
  • Vaginitis
  • Increased hair on body/face
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Infection at the implant site (rare)

Are Birth Control Implants Reversible?

Yes, birth control implants are reversible. A healthcare provider can remove the implant at any time, and fertility usually returns quickly—typically within about a month. In some cases, women may experience irregular periods or temporary infertility after removal, but this typically resolves within a few months.

What Are the Advantages of Birth Control Implants?

The advantages of birth control implants include their high effectiveness, long-term use, and convenience. Unlike other forms of birth control—such as the pill or condoms—the implant does not require daily or regular use, making it an ideal option for those who may forget to take a pill or who do not want to interrupt their sexual activity. Additionally, the implant is discrete and can be worn for up to three years without needing to be replaced.

What Are the Disadvantages of Birth Control Implants?

One of the main disadvantages of birth control implants is the potential for side effects, including changes in menstrual bleeding patterns and the other side effects listed above. Additionally, the implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so it should be used in conjunction with other forms of protection, such as condoms. The cost of the implant can also be a barrier for some women, although many insurance plans cover the cost.

At MyAlly Health, we understand the important role that access to contraception and other services plays in reproductive health. We offer many services to help you stay healthy and live the life you want to, including regular contraception options (implants, birth control pills, and other options), emergency contraception (Plan B), and pregnancy testing. At our clinic, birth control implants cost $1,000 for the device, plus the cost of insertion. However, this method may be free or low-cost for you, so ask about our sliding-fee-scale!

Additionally, we offer annual examinations, like physicals, wellness examinations, and mental health screenings to promote your overall health. You can also receive examinations like Pap smears to test for cervical cancer, and Gardasil vaccinations to protect you from HPV infections.

MyAlly Health offers confidential reproductive health services to women and men in the Grand Forks, North Dakota area, regardless of income or age. This includes preventive care, like getting tested for STIs, breast examinations, and pelvic examinations; determining the best birth control for you; and even getting vaccinated against the flu. The clinical services we provide are all performed by Nurse Practitioners and Resident Physicians. 

In order to empower and engage individuals in their well-being and reproductive health, MyAlly Health offers education, counseling, advocacy, and healthcare services. Find out more about what we do, help make a difference by donating to our cause, or schedule an appointment with us today!