The Implant, General Contraception Information

What is it?

  • A soft, plastic, matchstick sized rod placed under the skin which releases the hormone progestogen.
  • A trained health care provider inserts it under your upper arm using local anaesthetic.

How does it work?

  • The hormone stops ovulation (eggs being released from the ovaries), thickens the mucus at the entrance to the womb preventing sperm getting through and thins the lining of your womb preventing implantation of a fertilised egg.

What’s great about it?

  • Extremely effective (>99%). 5 in10,000 women will become pregnant using this method.
  • Contraception lasts for 3 years unless you want it removed earlier.
  • It can reduce heavy/painful periods and may make them less frequent or stop altogether.
  • Fertility rapidly returns as soon as it is removed.
  • There will be no need to take pills, interrupt sex or attend clinic regularly after insertion.

What’s not so great about it?

  • No protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - condoms advised.
  • You need to see a trained health care provider to remove it.
  • May cause side effects such as acne, moodiness, breast tenderness which often improve after a few months.
  • Periods may stop, be irregular, heavier or prolonged.
  • Some medicines may stop the implant from working.

Where can I get it?

  • Sexual Health services.
  • Family planning clinics
  • Some GP practices

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