A contraceptive implant is a small rod - about the size of a matchstick. The implant contains a progestogen hormone which provides contraception without you having to take a daily pill. The rod is put under the skin on your arm.
How is the contraceptive implant put in?
The contraceptive implant is about the size of a matchstick and is placed under the skin of the inner side of your upper arm.
- An injection of local anaesthetic is used to numb the skin.
- A special device is used to place the implant under the skin. The wound is dressed and will soon heal just like any other small cut.
- The area around the implant may be bruised and tender for a few days.
- Once it has healed, knocking the implant will not do it, or you, any harm.
- You do not need to have an internal vaginal examination or a genital examination to have an implant.
Is there anyone who should not have a contraceptive implant?
Most women can have an implant fitted but there are a few exceptions. You should not have a contraceptive implant put in if you think you might be pregnant, or if you don't want to use a contraceptive method that might affect your periods.
You also should not use the contraceptive implant if:
- You are taking medicines which might interfere with the implant.
- You have heart or liver disease.
- You have had breast cancer in the previous five years.
- You are currently experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding.
- You have a hereditary blood disorder called porphyria.
There are some conditions which, if you have them, mean that you could use the contraceptive implant, but a different method might be more suitable for you. These include:
- You are going to have major surgery with prolonged immobilisation.
- You have an increased risk of blood clots in the veins due to antiphospholipid syndrome, antithrombin deficiency or factor V Leiden.
- You have previously had a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
- You have migraines.
- You have systemic lupus erythematosus.
- You have gene mutations associated with breast cancer - for example, BRCA1.
- You have cervical cancer.
- You have experienced a stroke, angina or heart attack.
- You have several risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes.
- You have had jaundice or itching caused by previous use of a hormonal contraceptive.
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