Nexplanon is a contraceptive implant that is in the form of a rod
Nexplanon is a contraceptive implant that is in the form of a rod, containing progestin (hormone) etonogestrel. It should be placed under the skin at the inner side of your non-dominant upper arm. This means that if you are a right-handed person, the doctor will place it on your left upper arm, and if you are left-handed, it will be implanted on your right upper arm.
What are the advantages of Nexplanon?
Currently, Nexplanon is the most effective form of birth control among all the available options. It has become a popular option among women due to its following advantages:
- It provides effective long-term contraception.
- It does not depend on your daily compliance (because it does not require any daily, weekly, or monthly dosing—that happens with oral pills).
- Its insertion takes less than a minute at the hands of trained doctors.
- It has very low chances of pregnancy—1 out of 100 women will get pregnant if Nexplanon is implanted in their body.
- It can be placed immediately after the delivery (it may be inserted as soon as 10 minutes after placental delivery).
How does Nexplanon work?
The contraceptive implant Nexplanon works by
- Inhibiting ovulation.
- Thinning the endometrium (lining of the uterus).
- Thickening cervical mucus (thick cervical mucus helps to keep the sperm from moving toward the uterus).
What makes you unfit for Nexplanon?
Nexplanon is not for every woman. Your doctor will not implant Nexplanon if you are
- Suffering from liver disease (including severe liver damage or liver tumors).
- Having a history of breast cancer.
- Having undiagnosed abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Allergic to Nexplanon.
The contraceptive implant is generally safe, but the following conditions can make it unsafe for you:
- Cigarette smoking
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hyperlipidemia (high lipid or cholesterol levels)
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the deep veins of your legs)
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the big vein supplying blood to the lungs)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- History of bariatric surgery
- Abortion in the first or second trimester
When can you get Nexplanon inserted?
After confirming that you are not pregnant, the doctor can place Nexplanon at optimal timings, some of which include:
- Between days 1 and 5 of the menstrual cycle
- During the hormone-free week if using oral contraceptive pills
- Within five days after a first- or second-trimester abortion
- At any time after childbirth in a breastfeeding mother (either within 24-48 hours or at the 6th week of delivery)
How many times can you get Nexplanon?
With Nexplanon, you can expect to have three years of pregnancy prevention. It needs to be removed after three years. If you wish to continue contraception, it should be replaced by a new Nexplanon implant at the end of three years.
What are the possible complications of Nexplanon?
The most common complication is pain at the insertion site, which occurs in less than 3 out of 100 women with the implant, as per one study. Pain is usually mild and resolves with time. Over-the-counter painkillers usually help in relieving the pain.
Other uncommon complications at the insertion site are
- Redness (due to bleeding).
- Hematoma (pooling of blood) at the insertion site.
- Bruising (should resolve within a few days).
An analysis of 11 major international clinical trials that included 942 subjects found that some women experienced the following side effects:
- Weight gain
- Breast pain
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular periods
- Amenorrhea (no periods for a few to several months)
- Prolonged periods
Please contact your doctor if you experience any of the above complaints.