I enjoy all the glory and struggle of being a mother. But enduring a daily battle with 2 spirited toddlers plus the household chores and a home-based job, my husband and I decided to take the necessary birth plan to be sure not to conceive just yet.
Lucky for us moms in this generation, there are many contraceptive choices available! You just need to figure out with your doctor which type is the best one for you. I repeat, discuss this matter with your doctor, not the pharmacist in the drugstore.
If you’re just like me who always, always forget to take the Pill every day at the same time, maybe it’s about time to consider a Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) such as Implanon! It’s extremely suitable for women wanting highly effective contraception that they don’t have to think about! This makes life a little bit easier for us, right?
So, what is Implanon?
Implanon is a small plastic rod (matchstick-sized) containing a progestogen hormone. It is inserted under the skin on the inside of the upper arm by a doctor or nurse, and slowly releases the hormone into the bloodstream. It is also sometimes called ‘the implant’ or ‘the rod’.
The progestin-implant has been coined the “family planning implant” by the Department of Health (DOH). ICYDK, progestin is a synthetic version of progesterone, a naturally-occurring hormone in charge of the body’s menstrual cycle. The implant will continually release a steady dose of hormones over a few years, after which it should be removed (and replaced as needed). But you may also have it removed before then. Here in the Philippines, we use the brands called Implanon NXT which have an effectivity length of three years.
How does Implanon work?
- it stops the body from releasing an ovum (egg) every month (ovulation)
- it makes the mucus in the cervix (the entrance of the uterus) thicker, so sperm cannot get through
- it changes the lining of the uterus (womb).
What are the possible side effects?
Contraceptive side effects are different for everyone and can depend on both the individual and the type of contraception used. With Implanon, changes to the menstrual cycle can vary, but it has the tendency to be lighter or will stop altogether. Spotting, breakout, weight gain, and moodiness are also some of the side effects my doctor mentioned.
So far, I still have my period regularly but the flow has noticeably lightened. I have experienced spotting, but thank heavens, not breakout, weight gain or moodiness! Yay! I am one of the lucky ones.
Is it really effective?
When inserted correctly, Implanon is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy for three years! That was seriously one of my deciding factors. (and that it’s actually safe for breastfeeding moms!) My doctor even joked of money-back guarantee when my husband asked because there hasn’t been any incident of women conceiving while under the new generation Implanon.
Will it hurt?
As for the pain, it actually depends on your tolerance but it was generally a painless procedure that required no incisions. The insertion only takes a couple of minutes. The local anesthetic felt a bit stingy! (it actually hurt more than the actual insertion) But you need it to numb the skin before inserting the implant using a special applicator but with no stitches required!
A pressure bandage is then placed on the arm to reduce the chance of bruising or bleeding. My arm was in a bandage and can’t get it wet yet for 24 hours. My doctor asked me to wear the bandage for a week.
You may watch my vlog of the actual Implanon insertion!
When the anesthesia wears off, I experienced tenderness and bruising for a few days but no ouchy feeling at all. It’s more like I feel different being consciously aware that I have something inside my arm. 😀
How much does it cost?
The cost of having Implanon inserted depends on where you have the procedure done. It’s always a good idea to do research and of course, to talk to a health professional beforehand.
At NeoMedica Clinic in Congressional Ave., Quezon City, it’s Php7, 500. Considering that it will last for three years, that’s a pretty good value for money! That’s what I keep telling my husband before the implant. Hahaha!
Will other people know I’ve had Implanon in my arm?
Not unless you tell them! You can easily feel it with a light touch on the surface of your skin because there’s also a small layer of tissue forms around the implant that keeps it in place, but it isn’t noticeable to anyone looking at your arm. The spot where the implant went in leaves a tiny mark/scar, which most people don’t even notice.
The implant is ideally inserted between the first day to the fifth day of the menstrual cycle for Implanon to be effective immediately. It may be inserted at other times, but you’ll need to talk to a health professional and use back-up contraception (eg condoms).
If in any way you find that Implanon does not suit you, it can be easily removed by a doctor or nurse, and fertility returns straight away. You better discuss any future contraception needs before having your Implanon removed.
Now that I have Implanon, I feel secure and confident that all my time and effort will be spent primarily with my 2 adorable girls, that’s the plan. Our children grow up so fast and I don’t wanna miss any part of their growing years!
if you are a busy mom like me who’s not ready for a new baby yet, I recommend you ask your doctor about Implanon. It will certainly have an impact on your life, long term. Do this for your family, do this for yourself.