So, the implant. A small thin device that gets implanted into your arm to stop you getting pregnant. Sounds great, right? Well, for some. There are so many ways for women to use birth control, and not all of them will work for you.
The main way women use contraceptives is through the pill, a small pill you take at the same time every day to stop you getting pregnant. There are some that involve a week of ‘placebo’ or fake pills to regulate your period, some where you skip a week completely and some where you just take one every day. There is also an injection of hormones that do the same thing that you get into your leg every three months. You can also (and ideally should use these as well as other methods) get condoms - many places offer these for free such as sexual health clinics. And then, there’s the implant. The implant is another method of hormonal contraception that actually lasts for 3 years. However, this personally has been the most controversial, with every woman I’ve asked about this having had different experiences. All of these methods (apart from condoms) are free on the NHS,and I am unsure about other places in the world.
Personally, I’ve had the implant in my arm for around a year and a half now. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over 2 years, and not to be crude but we are quite sexually active. I am terribly forgetful and already knew that taking the pill for birth control just wasn’t right for me. I am also deathly afraid of needles, so the 3-monthly injection also was not for me. So I looked at getting the implant as I could just forget about it for 3 long years, have it taken out and another one put back in. Sounds like a dream!
The side effects. Oh, the side effects. Your periods can become heavier or lighter, more irregular, they could carry on for longer or they could just stop completely! However when I went to my nearest sexual health clinic, I was assured by the nurse that these side effects are rare.
This felt like a lie. Within a year, I had massively irregular periods, sometimes twice or three times in one month, my mood swings got worse and worse, as well as some stubborn cystic acne that would not go away no matter how many products I slapped on my face. A friend who had it for a few months, had her period for 7 weeks STRAIGHT. Many women also experience acne either appearing or worsening, as well as weight gain or loss. Problem is, having no periods, nausea and weight gain are all symptoms of PREGNANCY. So the thing that is designed to stop me from getting pregnant (the NHS claims it is over 99% effective), gives me the same symptoms of being pregnant. The past year and a half have been full of panic over whether it has failed or not.
It’s not a good idea for me to recommend any type of contraception to anyone as there are pros and cons for each one that will be different for every woman. While I, and a lot of women, have had bad experiences with the implant, there are many that have had good experiences! For some that have had bad experiences, the pros still outweigh the cons.
I am happy to answer any questions and chat about contraception and sex if anyone has any worries, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are considering contraception, definitely speak to your doctor too, they will know more than I will!