My experience with the Implanon Birth Control Implant

Before I get started I want to put two things out there: firstly, this post will involve some straight talk that some may find TMI. If that’s you please feel free to move on. Secondly, I’m sharing my experience with the device woman to woman. I believe that you need to make informed decisions when it comes to birth control. Thirdly, this post is really long and detailed. You may want a cup of tea or coffee. Right, moving on.

I recently I had my implant removed. Not because A and I are trying for another baby, in fact, I think we’re still a long way from that. I had started developing some rather unfortunate side effects from it. I tried waiting it out and my Dr did offer me some other hormones to try balance things out, but I felt I would rather remove it all together.

I got the implant put in in April 2017. It has been absolutely fantastic. It was easy to install, with little to no discomfort, it was effective very quickly and I didn’t have a period at all. Please note, this was my experience, some women do still get periods, but they are much lighter and shorter (I think the technical term is ‘breakthrough bleed’). I was still breastfeeding the entire time so maybe that also contributed.

I did bruise very badly and it took about 2 weeks for the bruise to fade. Once it was gone you couldn’t ell I had an implant unless you ran your fingers over the inside of my bicep, or looked closely enough to see the small scar from the entry. Not having a period was fantastic! I won’t lie and say there weren’t times when I got slightly freaked out about it. But I knew I was safe and didn’t have to dwell on it too much.

I really enjoyed not having to remember to take a pill, not worrying about medications messing with effectiveness, not worrying about when my period was due. It left me so much time to focus on what was important: looking after my baby.

Another side effect that I didn’t know about until my Dr told me while she was removing it: It was preventing me from gaining weight. This along with the extended breastfeeding were working together to keep me losing weight. And, although my Dr says my weight is not unhealthy, she does recommend I put on a few kilos. This may not be a problem for everyone.

Then six months almost to the day that I stopped breastfeeding (18months since the implant was put in) I started to spot. I figured this was the long awaited period and that it would be over in a few days. Fast forward a few weeks and I was still spotting. I turned to Google (as you do) and found that this was a common side effect when you’ve had the Implanon for a long time, especially as it nears the end of its lifespan and loses effectiveness.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was still spotting. I turned to Google (as you do) and found that this was a common side effect when you’ve had the Implanon for a long time, especially as it nears the end of its lifespan and loses effectiveness. The thing was the implant is supposed to last for three years and I wasn’t half way through yet!

The bleeding was not what I’m used to at all. Some days it was heavier and required a pad, other days it was just enough to make a mess and annoy the hell out of me. I was having hormonal breaksouts on my chin (deep, below the skin spots that are painful as hell and made my face swollen!). Add to that general PMS symptoms, which for me means extreme emotions, crabbiness and sugar cravings, and I was an unhappy camper.

I tried waiting it out, but after six (to be honest I think it was nearly eight) weeks of bleeding A and I decided that the time had come to have it removed. Enough was enough. Again this was just my experience and others may react differently. My Dr did mention that the extended spotting was something she saw often.

I’m going to straight up tell you that removing it was not fun. I was given a local anaesthetic and when it had taken effect my DR made a small knick with a scalpel. I didn’t feel anything except the pressure of her working on my arm. She had to keep making knicks in order to get through the capsule my muscle had formed around the implant. Then she had to push and prod to get it in a good position. I’m surprised I didn’t leave all black and blue from bruises.

Once through the theory is that the Dr grabs the implant with a pair of forceps and slips it out. The reality involved a lot of pushing to get the implant in a place where she could grip it. The forceps couldn’t get a good grip on the implant, which is very smooth and slippery. This meant a lot of push and tugging until it finally slipped out. I actually felt sorry for my Dr as I could tell she was being as gentle as she could and was getting very frustrated.

After that, it was just clean up (there was a bit of blood obvs) and some cleaning solution. Then I was patched up with a plaster and sent on my way. All in all the appointment didn’t take long. Including my usual check up I was out of there in 30 minutes.

Once removed it took about three days before my cycle started. I have been told this is again different for everybody. It was the usual five days and I am now waiting to see how long the cycle is and if everything has gone back to how it was pre-implant.

Now that it has been removed I cann’t express the difference I feel! It is truly amazing. I feel as if I have woken up from a long sleep. I don’t feel an overwhelming lethargy and apathy anymore. my sex drive has gotten stronger, I’m not moody or unhappy or overly emotional. It’s like I’m a new person. I need to accompany this statement with a disclaimer: I don’t think it was the case the entire time I had the implant, just the last few weeks while the hormones ran out. It was a change that came over me so slowly that I didn’t notice it until the weight had been lifted. My Dr and I also discussed that I may just be sensitive to artificial hormones (I developed intolerances to the Pill as well) and this could have contributed to the implant running out sooner than expected. I just wanted to mention it so you could discuss it with your Dr.

I need to accompany this statement with a disclaimer: I don’t think it was the case the entire time I had the implant, just the last few weeks while the hormones ran out. It was a change that came over me so slowly that I didn’t notice it until the weight had been lifted. My Dr and I also discussed that I may just be sensitive to artificial hormones (I developed intolerances to the Pill as well) and this could have contributed to the implant running out sooner than expected. I just wanted to mention it so you could discuss it with your Dr.

My Dr and I also discussed that I may just be sensitive to artificial hormones (I developed intolerances to the Pill as well) and this could have contributed to the implant running out sooner than expected. I just wanted to mention it so you could discuss it with your Dr.

So that’s my round up. I have some mixed feelings towards it. I don’t think I will get another one. I did love the convenience of it and while it was effective I remember saying it was the best thing I had ever done. It definitely has a time and a place. but to be fair my sensitivity is making me very leary of most contraceptives right now.

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2 thoughts on “My experience with the Implanon Birth Control Implant

    • kierrynh says:

      I’m less sensitive with the pill. I was one two different types, both for about 4 years. After that time I started getting random and unpredictable breakthrough bleeds in the middle of a package that could last anywhere from a day or two to two weeks. I was also a LOT moodier and emotional (huge understatement I was completely irrational), nauseous, prone to weird fits of rage and just an all round bitch. It felt like I was a completely different person. I also started putting on weight and my libido was non-existent. Very similar to what I experienced with the implant, except for the weight gain. The first time this happened the doctor put me on a different pill. Things got better and I was able to go on for another few years. The second time it happened we decided to go off contraceptive altogether. We wanted to try for a baby anyway. It took about 6 months for my body to regulate. I got really bad hormonal acne – which I had never suffered from before. And I had post contraceptive amenorrhea (not ovulating) that lasted about five months or so. It’s not uncommon for women who were on the pill for so long. I hope that answered your question 🙂

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