Getting the implant

As far as contraceptive goes the Implant is pretty new in South Africa still – in fact, I don’t know anyone who has it.

But I had read a lot about it so when the conversation about contraception came up with my doctor this was the route we decided to go.

For the following reasons:

  • I am still breastfeeding and this is progesterone based so it won’t interfere with milk production
  • I don’t do well on oral contraception at all – it messes me up and makes me sick so that was definitely not an option
  • The implant lasts for three years before it becomes ineffective. As Hubby and I are not planning another baby for a while this was the best option for us.

So after discussing side effects and costs with the doctor I went ahead and make the appointment. In terms of side effects one of the biggest concerns for women is extreme moodiness. The device cost around R1000 to purchase and then there was the cost of the doctor installing it (which will differ depending on the doctor). When we did the math the device worked out cheaper than buying a monthly package of the pill for the time period. I discussed it with Hubby and we decided to go ahead with it.

The process:

In South Africa you are given a prescription which you take to the pharmacy to buy your device (this is also the same process for getting an inter-uterine device). It comes in a box with the device to install it which you take to your appointment with the doctor.

The procedure:

At the doctor’s rooms you are given a local anaesthetic to numb up the area and then the implant is installed. The whole procedure takes five to 10 minutes.

I had a quick consultation first and then my doctor installed it. We had a conversation during the whole thing and honestly the most painful part was the local anaesthetic, which really stung. My family also doesn’t react well to anaesthetic of any kind so it made me feel a bit ill, but it passed quickly.

Anything to be aware of:

The device is installed in your bicep and is naturally encapsulated by the body – similar to a microchip implanted in household pets.

Because it is implanted in muscle you will bruise. The bruise is very big and ugly – you will look like you’ve been manhandled. It may take a long time to fade. My faded completely in about a month. After that you have no idea it is there.

My bicep was a bit sensitive for a couple of days, but the bruise never hurt. It felt like being stiff from gym.

I can feel the device under the skin when I run my fingers over the area but in day to day living I forget it’s there.

It is effective one week after installation (according to my doctor, but double check with yours).

You will have a ‘period’ which is actually a break through bleed similar to what you have when on the pill.

My experience:

I found the installation quite simple and easy and relatively painless. I have not experienced major moodiness and absolutely no sickness.

I recommend this as an option is you are looking into different contraceptives. I will let you know how removing it goes when it comes time to it, but my doctor assures me that it is just as easy and it can be removed at any time.

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2 thoughts on “Getting the implant

  1. elenimichelle says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I am currently on oral contraceptives and really don’t like them. I have been considering getting the implant and now I think I’ll go through with it 😀

  2. taryntibble says:

    I got mine about a month ago, and my bruise has FINALLY vanished, but the hole that massive ass needle left is still there. I don’t react well to local so I felt most it, only the actual piercing of my skin was numb, the actual “slidey” bit I felt. I had mine done at a government clinic (ours are excellent here), whole process was 2 hours (so not unlike the 30 min you wait to see a doctor, 20 consult, 30 min in the queue at Clicks, and repeat), and the sister was lovely.
    I do think that it’s reacting against my Roaccutane though, but seeing as they put you on the pill when going on Roaccutane anyway it’s not the end of the world. I don’t react well to estrogen, it turns me into a raging, psychotic demon, so it felt like Progesterone was the way to go. I was definitely too scared to go back on the injection because when I went off it in 2012/2013 I gained about 30kg.
    So far I’ve been a bit snappy, had no period whatsoever, but no noticeable weight gain (in fact I’ve lost weight) and only mild anxiety (which could EASILY be the Roaccutane as well).
    The only time it hurts is when one of the dogs steps on it.

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