Contraceptive implant

The contraceptive implant is a very safe contraceptive that is placed in the skin of the upper arm. You can have the contraceptive implant for three years before it needs to be replaced.

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What is a contraceptive implant?

A contraceptive implant is a thin, flexible plastic rod that is placed under the skin of the upper arm. It is 4 cm long. The contraceptive implant works primarily by preventing ovulation. It has a core of the hormone progesterone, which is released gradually. A contraceptive implant does not contain oestrogen.

You can have the contraceptive implant for three years before it needs to be replaced or removed. You will feel the contraceptive implant from the outside of the skin. If you no longer feel the contraceptive implant, you must contact your doctor.

You need a prescription to buy a contraceptive implant. There is one contraceptive implant on the market in Norway called Nexplanon and it costs around NOK 1,350.

Inserting and removing the contraceptive implant

A doctor, public health nurse or midwife must insert the contraceptive implant into your upper arm. When the contraceptive implant is inserted, a local anaesthetic is applied to the skin. The contraceptive implant is placed under the skin using a syringe or applicator that is supplied with the contraceptive implant.

When the contraceptive implant is removed, a small incision is made in the skin, at the end of the contraceptive implant, and it is pulled out. You will receive a local anaesthetic when the contraceptive implant is removed.

If the contraceptive implant is inserted within five days of menstruation, contraception is safe from the first day. If the contraceptive implant is inserted outside of this time, you must use a condom for the first seven days after insertion.

Bleeding when using a contraceptive implant

When using a contraceptive implant, it is likely that you will experience changes in the bleeding pattern. It is difficult to say in advance what this is going to be like for you.

Some women get irregular bleeding patterns. The bleeding may then be absent, more infrequent, more frequent or continuous. Some women experience more intense and prolonged bleeding, while others find that the bleeding becomes less intense and does not last as long.

Around 20 per cent of women who use a contraceptive implant do not menstruate.

Side effects

Bleeding disorders are the most common side effect of contraceptive implants. Other common side effects are:

  • tender breasts
  • acne
  • headache
  • vaginal infections