Nexplanon is a long-term birth control option for women who are tired of taking daily pills or using other methods. It is an implant option, but it is not an IUD. This thin, small, and flexible contraceptive is implanted in the skin of your upper inner harm by an authorized healthcare provider. It offers discreet protection while providing a similar level of protection when compared to the pill.
The hormones in the implant stop an egg from being released by the ovary. It also prevents sperm from reaching the egg to fertilize it. A steady, low dose of the hormone is introduced to your bloodstream once it is correctly placed to prevent pregnancy.
Some women should not use Nexplanon. If you have a history of blood clots, have liver disease, or there is a known liver tumor, then do not have this implant placed in your arm. You should also speak to your doctor if you have cancer or had a cancer that is sensitive to progestin, such as breast cancer. You should not take it if you are allergic to any of the ingredients it contains either.
Here are the Nexplanon pros and cons to consider if you feel like an implant is the right form of birth control to meet your needs.
List of the Pros of Nexplanon
1. The entire process for the implant takes less than 30 minutes.
For most women, the implantation of Nexplanon is fast and painless. Your arm will be sterilized first, then a local anesthetic will be applied. You’ll be asked to wait a few minutes as the area begins to numb up. Then your doctor will take a device which looks like a stapler to insert the implant. Assuming everything goes right, you’re in and out with a process which takes less than 30 minutes and only hurts as far as the anesthetic injection.
2. Removing the implant is equally fast.
When you’re ready to remove the implant, or it has been 3 years, and another is needed, then the process follows the same step. Your arm will be sterilized, then you will receive a local anesthetic injection. Then a small incision is made to access the implant, which is removed with a small forceps device.
3. If you want to get pregnant, it can happen quickly after Nexplanon.
For women who take the birth control pill, it may take 6-18 months before a pregnancy is possible. With this implant option, you could become pregnant within a week of its removal. That type of flexibility makes it easier for women to control their reproductive health, make informed decisions, and spend less time dealing with surprising circumstances.
4. Most insurance options will cover Nexplanon.
If you are covered by healthcare insurance, there is a good chance that Nexplanon is part of your benefits. Many women are able to receive their birth control for free thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Even when you have employer-based coverage, the cost of this procedure and the office visit don’t usually fall into the deductible category. The only exception to this rule would be employers who have been granted a faith-based exemption with their offered plans, though women could seek out their own coverage to counter that issue.
5. Your monthly periods may disappear completely.
Women who decide to receive the Nexplanon birth control implant often notice that their regular monthly cycle becomes much lighter almost right away. In a month or two, your regular cycle may completely disappear. This is a benefit which can last for up to 2 years before bleeding occurs again. For women who struggle with painful periods or heavy flows, the health benefits of skipping these issues can help improve their quality of life.
6. It is an effective form of birth control.
Fewer than 1 in 100 women will become pregnant each year when they are using an implant form of birth control. Because it is easier to use than other options, such as rings, patches, pills, or condoms, your level of protect never waivers because it is always present in your arm. There is never a worry about whether it is being used correctly or not. Your doctor will tell you when it is time to have it replaced.
7. Nexplanon is a small implant.
The size of the implant that goes into your upper arm is just 4 centimeters, or 1.6 inches, in length.
8. Implants only have one hormone.
When you an implant, then you are using a birth control option which contains only one hormone. With Nexplanon, you’re receiving a product which contains progestin. It does not contain any estrogen, which makes it well-suited for women who are sensitive to the hormone. You can also have the implant taken out at any time during the 3-year period. That means more women are able to use this product because you don’t have to worry about the health issues related to estrogen.
9. It is a private form of birth control.
Once the insertion site has healed, no one ever needs to know that you’re taking a birth control product. There are no pills to haul around. You don’t need to worry about insertion issues like you do with an IUD. You won’t be going to the pharmacy, putting rings into place, or performing any other act of preparation before having sex with a reduced risk of pregnancy.
List of the Cons of Nexplanon
1. If you don’t have insurance, you must factor in the cost.
When the cost of the implant is combined with the injection, Nexplanon comes with a bill that tops $1,300 for most women. You must also factor in the $300 removal cost. Some offices may classify this procedure as an outpatient surgery, which could push the cost upwards of $2,000. Always check to see how your visit will be classified, as some surgeries may require you to clear your healthcare insurance deductible before the maximum benefit is provided.
2. The procedure will leave a bruise on your arm.
Because you are having Nexplanon injected directly under the skin of your upper arm, there is going to be a bruise which forms in the days after the procedure. For many women, the bruise becomes a deep shade of purple which can be sore to the touch. If you experience this issue after receiving the procedure, try to apply some ice to the area whenever possible for relief. That will help to reduce some of the swelling that happens over time.
3. Nexplanon will eventually wear off.
Most women who have Nexplanon implanted will experience a return of their monthly cycle at some point during the third year of its use. Irregular bleeding is the first stage, which is then followed by months of heavy bleeding as the hormone levels in your bloodstream become lower. It will still work to prevent a pregnancy during the final year, but it can be bad enough for some women that they opt to take birth control pills until their implant can be replaced.
4. There are serious side effects which must be thought about.
The most common side effects which are associated with Nexplanon are pain at the implantation site, bruising and swelling around the implant, redness, and scarring. Some women may experience infection development after the procedure has been completed.
Because Nexplanon affects hormone levels, mood changes are possible. Some women may experience an increased risk of depression after implantation. Abdominal pain, weight gain, back pain, and headaches have all been reported. Dizziness, vaginitis, and nausea are also possibilities.
5. Most women only experience a lack of periods on the first 3-year period.
Once you’ve had your first implant with Nexplanon, every follow-up implant reacts a little differently. That occurs because your body gets used to the higher hormone levels. Your periods will stay irregular and infrequent with the next implant. With 3+ implant cycles, some women may experience regular cycles, though they are still protected from a pregnancy.
6. It may not be as effective for some women.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, have high cholesterol, or have a seizure disorder, then Nexplanon may be recommended by your doctor with caution. You should talk with your doctor about using this implant if you have a history of depression. For women who are overweight, it is unclear if the protection provided by the implant is as effective as it is for women who have a normal BMI. Some medications may also make the implant less effective, so make sure you discuss all these issues with your doctor.
7. There is a risk of suffering an ectopic pregnancy.
If you should become pregnant while using Nexplanon, there is a slightly higher risk of experiencing a pregnancy which occurs outside the womb when compared to women not taking a birth control product. This issue may cause serious internal bleeding and infertility. For some women, the side effects of this rare circumstance may be life threatening. If you experience severe abdominal pain that is unexplained, or you think that you may be pregnant, then speak with your doctor right away.
8. Cysts may form on your ovaries with Nexplanon.
When using this implant, there is a small chance that cysts may develop on your ovaries, with risks being slightly higher than for women in the general population. These usually go away without treatment, but there could be times when a surgery is required to have them removed.
9. As with most forms of birth control, Nexplanon does not protect against STIs or STDs.
Nexplanon is a birth control product only. You must practice safe sex techniques to reduce your risk of experiencing a sexually transmitted infection or disease while having intercourse. Frequent testing is highly recommended to maintain your overall sexual and reproductive health.
10. Nexplanon can sometimes be inserted incorrectly.
There are times when an authorized provider may not place the implant in your arm correctly. Removing it at the office may be difficult, if not impossible, should Nexplanon not be where it is supposed to be. Some women may need to undergo special procedures, including surgery at their local hospital, to remove the implant in this circumstance. If it still cannot be removed, then the effects of the implant will continue for a longer time.
11. It can sometimes fall out on its own.
Some women have experienced the implant coming out by itself. The human body can push out foreign objects at times, and Nexplanon is no exception. If you experience calluses around the implant site, or you notice that the implant seems to be moving, then speak to your doctor right away. If your implant does come out, you will want to use a backup method of birth control until the positioning of Nexplanon can be restored.
These Nexplanon pros and cons are a reflection of the personal nature of this choice. Women are able to take advantage of the fact that a daily pill is no longer required to maintain an effective birth control level. As with any birth control option, there are also some side effects that may occur which may be unpleasant. Speak with your doctor about these advantages and disadvantages to determine if this implant is the right option for you.