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Hormone Implants

Long-term method of contraception

Hormone implants are a long-term method of contraception, which can prevent you from becoming pregnant for three years.

The implant is a small tube about 4cm in length, inserted by a doctor or trained professional, under the skin of your arm. The implant slowly releases progestogen into the body, thereby stopping the release of eggs from the ovaries.

It also changes the uterine lining and cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to travel from the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus. With correct implantation, hormonal implants are more than 99% effective, with less than 1 in 1,000 becoming pregnant whilst using this method.

Benefits of using the implant over other methods of contraception include:

  • The long-term protection makes it useful for women who know they do not want to get pregnant in the near future
  • It can be taken by women who are sensitive to contraceptives containing oestrogen
  • No daily reminders or need to take a pill at the same time every day
  • It is safe to take during breastfeeding; the effects of the implant can be easily reversed, with natural fertility returning a short time after the implant is removed.

There are some key points to note with regard to hormonal implants: Some tenderness, bruising or swelling may be felt in the first days after having the implant fitted; the change in hormone levels caused by the implant can affect the regularity of your periods, or make them lighter or heavier.

These effects typically stabilise after one year; the implant may stop your periods altogether; the implant is effective at preventing pregnancy, but does not protect against sexually transmitted disease (STI). You may want to use a barrier method in addition if you or your partner have multiple partners, or a known infection.

What to do next

Call us to make an appointment with a specialist who can help you decide whether a hormone implant is right for you.

FAQ

How effective are hormone implants?

If correctly inserted, hormonal implants are more than 99% effective. Less than 1 in 1,000 women will become pregnant with this method.

What are the side effects of hormone implants?

Immediately after implantation, you may notice some tenderness or bruising aroud the site. The main longer-term effect is a change in the regularity and heaviness of your period. Your periods may become lighter or heavier, and may stop altogether. These changes should regulate within a year.

What are the benefits of hormone implants over the oral contraceptive pill?

The implant is progestogen only, which can be helpful for women who are sensitive to pills containing oestrogen. There is also the benefit of convenience – you don’t have to remember to take your pill every day. If you decide you want to get pregnant, your natural fertility will return after the implant is removed.

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