Birth control is a means of controlling pregnancy, and today there are many different forms of it available in the market. Options include vasectomy, tubal litigation, birth control pills, IUDs, shots, patches, and condoms. Based on the requirement of a woman, the doctor can prescribe a particular contraceptive.
Birth control is mostly preventive, and usual options allow for that. When on any birth control method, there is the ease of use, which can impact the effectiveness of use. For example, birth control pills need to be consumed every day without any slack. But others such as IUD, once implanted, will do its work, and the woman doesn’t have to do anything else. Women looking for long term contraceptive that is also effective can use IUDs or implants.
One type of implant is NEXPLANON®. This is a reversible and effective birth control method that can help in preventing pregnancy for three years at one go. It can be used for three years as long as it is inside the body. If a woman wants to have children, she just needs to have it removed, and she can conceive. This contraceptive can be removed before the three-year period ends as well.
NEXPLANON® is a small device that is placed right under the skin by a healthcare provider through a small surgical procedure. It is a hormone implant that releases hormones in the female body to prevent ovulation and then pregnancy.
Working of Nexplanon
NEXPLANON® is long-term hormonal birth control. It uses hormones to make the body infertile to prevent pregnancy. Nexplanon is a small rod-like structure, the size of a matchstick, and made of plastic. It is inserted just under the skin on the upper arm. The insertion requires a small surgery that leaves a small bump on the arm. It releases the hormone progestin over the course of time, inside the female body. The device is radiopaque and shows up on x-rays and scans.
Made from a flexible plastic polymer, this device releases a regulated quantity of progestin in the body, once it is implanted. The device is made of such material that will not dissolve in the body. It contains 68 milligrams of etonogestrel. This substance is a synthetic hormone similar to progesterone.
The implant can release the hormone for up to 3-4 years when it needs to be removed. The device is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. This hormone can change the menstrual cycle, prevent ovulation, and thicken the cervical mucus to stop the sperm from traveling into the womb, to fertilize the eggs. Ovulation is when the ovaries release the eggs, and the hormone signals the pituitary gland to stop doing that.
The menstrual cycle or periods may change with little or excessive bleeding or no bleeding at all. There may be spotting, and the time between each cycle may change.
What Should You Know Before Using Nexplanon?
Before using Nexplanon, you should know the following:
- Hormonal contraceptive like NEXPLANON® only prevents pregnancy. They do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or an HIV infection.
- Nexplanon is not advisable under certain conditions. They are mentioned below. If you suffer from them, please tell your doctor before the insertion of NEXPLANON® takes place.
- You are allergic to synthetic hormones such as etonogestrel or other ingredients used in the implant
- In case you have had or have a chance of having cancer of any genital organ or breast cancer
- You suffer from thrombosis, which is the presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel in the lungs or legs
- If you have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- You have had a liver tumor, liver disease or jaundice
If you have or have had any of the above-mentioned issues, then the doctor may advise a non-hormonal birth control method.
- Also, if you have used NEXPLANON® in the presence of the following conditions, then you need to be observed, and the doctor will tell you what you need to do.
- Liver disease
- Breast cancer
- High blood pressure
How to use
Using Nexplanon is very simple as it doesn’t require a woman to do something every day. Once inserted, it is effective for a good number of years. The ease of use is good for this option. NEXPLANON® should be inserted or removed by a certified healthcare professional who is familiar with the whole procedure.
The healthcare professional will consult with the patient and determine the best time for insertion, which depends on the patient’s current situation – like the birth control method that is currently in use. The insertion is generally done on days 1 to 5 of the menstrual bleeding so that pregnancy can be ruled out. There is an exception to this if the woman is switching from a different hormonal contraceptive to NEXPLANON®. In case the implant is inserted after the 5th day of the period, then any additional contraceptive like a condom must be used alongside for at least seven days post-insertion.
A local anesthetic is used on insertion or removal. It is inserted on the upper part of the non-dominant arm, which is that arm with which you do not write. The procedure takes a few minutes and isn’t too painful. Similarly, removal is done once the woman wants children or if the usage period is over.
How is it inserted?
The insertion procedure is quick and relatively painless and must be done by a medical professional who is familiar with the surgical procedure.
- The patient lies down on her back with her arms bent and the palm under the head.
- The implant goes inside on the inner side of the upper arm of the non-dominant hand.
- The site of insertion is marked and then disinfected
- Anesthesia is administered in the region marked.
- The skin is stretched, and the needle is inserted under the skin. Once the tip has gone in, the whole needle is inserted, in a movement that is parallel to the skin.
- Then the slider is unlocked, and the needle retracted while the implant remains.
- When the process takes place, the patient may feel a slight sting or pinch but no pain.
- After the insertion, the region must be palpitated or felt around to verify if the implant is inside.
- An implant that has been inserted precisely can be felt between the finger and thumb by the healthcare professional and the patient. However, this technique isn’t 100% suitable to verify if the implant has gone incorrectly or not.
When the implant’s presence is doubtful, or it cannot be palpitated to check then other methods must be used to verify its presence.
- If the implant was not palapa be, the healthcare professional worker would look for it. Once found, it is removed.
- The presence of an implant is verified to ensure that the contraceptive works. Because the implant hasn’t gone incorrectly, the patient might still get pregnant. Hence until verified, a secondary contraceptive such as a condom must be used.
- Once the process is complete, a small adhesive bandage is put on, and a pressure bandage is used to reduce the bruising. The pressure bandage can be removed in 24 hours, and the adhesive bandage can be removed within 3 to 5 days.
- After the implant, the woman will receive a Patient Alert Card. This card has important information such as the insertion date, insertion site, and the date by which the implant has to be replaced or removed. This card must be stored safely for the removal process down the line.
- Post insertion, the patient must avoid heavy lifting so that the implant site can heal well.
- Doctors also advise on washing the area of insertion and keeping it clean.
- In the case of infection or other complications, the doctor must be informed as soon as possible.
The removal process is also quick and painless. The doctor will make an incision at the insertion site and pull the small rod out of the skin. The skin around the implant site may be sore once the removal has taken place. Follow the doctors advice on washing and caring for the area.
Our specialists at Embryo Women’s Health shares some of the frequently asked questions on Nexplanon:
Advantages of Using Nexplanon
- Highly effective – This birth control method is super effective – 99%. It provides a long-term protection option from pregnancy, and it works as well as sterilization or an IUD in use. There is hardly any way one can mess up the use, unlike birth control pills. You can use it incorrectly or forget to use it.
- Better periods – NEXPLANON® is said to reduce period cramps. It makes a period lighter too, and one-third women stop getting their period within a year of implantation.
- Private and convenient – Once the NEXPLANON® implant is added, the woman doesn’t have to think about anything else. It will continue doing its work unless it is removed or gets expired. There is no ring or pill to put in, no trips to the pharmacy, and no preparation before sex to stop pregnancy.
- Restoration of fertility post-removal – One of the best things about an implant is the fertility is restored soon after removal. Hence it is reversible, unlike procedure such as sterilization. If a woman wants to get pregnant, she can get it removed at any time. The implant doesn’t impact fertility in the future.
- One hormone – Some hormone birth control options have two hormones – estrogen and progestin. Women with certain health issues cannot take contraceptives with estrogen. Nexplanon is highly effective and doesn’t have estrogen in it, so more women can use it.
- Long-lasting – NEXPLANON® is long-lasing and needs to be removed at its expiry after 3-4 years of use.
- Cost-effective – The implant is quite inexpensive to buy and use.
NEXPLANON® is a super effective and easily available contraceptive. A success rate of 99% is as good as other permanent procedures such as sterilization. It is inexpensive as well and is easily useable, making it convenient and accessible.
Take a quick look at a brief guide on NEXPLANON® and its causes, side effects.:
Barbara Lockwood WHNP will make a full assessment to determine if you are a good candidate for Nexplanon.