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What Is a Birth Control Implant?

The birth control implant is a commonly used method of contraception for women. The implant is a matchstick-sized plastic rod that is implanted under the skin of a woman’s non-dominant arm. The procedure is done under local anesthesia and takes between 15 and 30 minutes. There is no long recovery time, and most women can resume their daily activities on the same day.

How It Works

The birth control implant’s function is similar to that of the mini-pill. It works by slowly releasing a steady dose of the hormone progestin. This hormone prevents pregnancy by thinning the lining of the uterus and suppressing ovulation.

Benefits of the Birth Control Implant

The key benefits of the birth control implant include the following:

  • The implant has a 99% efficacy rate.
  • The implant does not contain any estrogen, thus limiting the risk of adverse effects.
  • The implant can be removed under local anesthesia at any time.
  • Once the implant is removed, fertility is quickly restored.
  • Women do not have to remember to take the pill every day or use any other form of contraception when they use the birth control implant.

Who Should Not Get It?

The birth control implant is not recommended in the following cases:

  • If you have any allergy to the implant.
  • If you have a prior history of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack.
  • If you have a history of a mass in the liver.
  • If you have a history of breast cancer or have a lesion in the breast.
  • If you have vaginal bleeding but the cause remains unknown.

After Insertion

Depending on when during your menstrual cycle the implant is placed, you may need to use another form of contraception for the first seven days after the insertion. After this time, the birth control implant will work constantly for at least 36 months. While the birth control implant is not contraindicated in overweight women, there is evidence that it may not be as effective as in women who are not overweight.

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