Imagine a matchstick-sized rod being inserted in your arm and then you're protected from pregnancies for up to 5 years. Sounds like magic, right? Nope, the birth control implant which does exactly that is a scientific reality!

And the fact that you can take it out if you decide to try to conceive makes it all the more amazing!

That's because when the implant is put inside the flesh of your arm by a trained healthcare professional, it starts releasing hormones in your body that prevent pregnancies.

Presently, this long-term reversible contraceptive option is widely used worldwide and is FDA-approved.

Lay down the mechanics for me!

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The birth control implant is a fairly simple process that should take no more than 30 minutes from start to finish.

  1. First, the healthcare professional might ask you which one is your non-dominant or "less preferred" hand for doing tasks. This is the arm they'll choose to place the implant in.

  2. Once the implant is cleaned with an iodine solution, you'll be injected with local anesthesia or a freezing cold spray so that you don't feel pain when it's inserted under the skin.

  3. Once inserted, it will start releasing a progestational hormone to prevent sperm from reaching the egg and it will suppress ovulation too.

  4. Once you come back and the anesthesia wears off, you may feel soreness in your arm but this too will go away in a few days.

Is it really reversible?

Absolutely! You can have it removed any time you like with the support and care of a health care professional. Removal is simple and takes as long as the insertion process.

So who is the birth control implant best suited for?

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While it's safe for teens to get the implant, you might still need parental permission to get it depending on the rules of your city, state, or country. Make sure you have a conversation with a friend or family member who can provide you with support during the insertion or removal process.

If you're already pregnant, you shouldn't get a birth control implant until you've given birth. It also matters what kind of medication you take, as it may alter how the implant works.

It's also not suitable for anyone who's had breast cancer, heart disease, arterial disease, liver disease, or a stroke.

Quiz

True of false: you'll need surgery or stitches to get the birth control implant.

It can't be all good, right?

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Well, like with other birth control methods, it has its fair share of side effects. One of the biggest is that it doesn't protect you from STIs, so you must still practice safe sex by asking your partner to wear a condom. The others include:

  • Back pain

  • Lower sex drive

  • Mood swings

  • Depression

  • Breast soreness

  • Confusion or dizziness

  • Menstrual changes

  • Insulin resistance

  • Headaches

  • Scarring if the procedure is done incorrectly

Quiz

True of false: with a birth control implant, you'll be protected against HIV infection.

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This Byte has been authored by

SK

Saba Khalid

Founder & CEO at Aurat Raaj