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What is Nexplanon?
Nexplanon is a reversible form of contraception for women aged 18-40 years that lasts up to three years and is over 99% effective*. The Nexplanon implant is inserted into your upper arm, under the skin, where it releases hormones that stop an egg being released by your ovaries (ovulation).
What are the side effects of Nexplanon?
Similarly to other hormonal methods of contraceptive nexplanon has side effects. You may experience a combination of these or you may not have any at all, however side effects include:
- Changes in sex drive
- Breast discomfort
- Injection site reactions
- Nausea and vomiting
- Menstrual irregularities
If you feel that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, you can have nexplanon removed at any time.
Can Nexplanon affect your periods?
Many women who have the nexplanon implant find that their periods are affected.
You may have:
- Longer or shorter periods
- No period at all
- Spotting between your periods
- Irregular periods where the time between them varies
How is Nexplanon inserted and removed?
Having your nexplanon implant fitted/removed involves a short procedure carried out by a trained professional at your local sexual health clinic or GP surgery. You will receive full counselling backed by a patient information leaflet before the procedure. You might find that afterwards your arm feels sore, that it swells or bruises and this is normal. Nexplanon removal is very much the same as having it inserted; your GP or nurse will numb the area on your arm with a local anaesthetic. You won’t feel any pain during the removal, although you may feel some pressure and slight tugging. Again your arm may feel a bit sore and tender afterwards.
The contraceptive action of Nexplanon is reversible, which is apparent from the rapid return of the normal menstrual cycle after removal of the implant. Return of fertility depends on age and pre-implantation fertility levels.
There are some medicines that can make the implant less effective such as enzyme-inducing drugs. Before having the implant fitted, you should inform the healthcare professional of any medication you are taking so they can establish if it will affect the implant’s effectiveness.
For a short course of an enzyme-inducing drug where a change in contraceptive method may be undesirable or inappropriate, the implant may be continued in combination with additional contraceptive precautions (e.g. condom) for the duration of treatment with the drug and for four weeks after stopping.
No, the implant will not stop you from catching a sexually transmitted infection. Using condoms and other barrier methods during sexual intercourse and activity will help to protect you against STIs.
There is no evidence to suggest that the nexplanon implant can make you gain weight.