Nexplanon is a small subdermal (inserted under your skin) plastic rod that is about the size of a cardboard matchstick. Nexplanon will prevent you from getting pregnant for three years after it is inserted into the skin of your upper arm. Nexplanon slowly releases etonogestrel into your body over this three year period.
Is Etonogestrel a Hormone?
No, etonogestrel is not a hormone, but it is similar to a natural hormone that your body makes.
The etonogestrel released by Nexplanon prevents ovulation from happening during your menstrual cycles. This way, no eggs are released from your ovaries. Etonogestrel also makes your vaginal fluid (or cervical mucus) thicker. This thickening helps prevent any sperm from reaching your eggs (fertilization) and changes the lining of your uterus to prevent any fertilized eggs from attaching to your uterine wall. Nexplanon does not contain estrogen.
Who Should Not Use Nexplanon?
If you are pregnant or have breast cancer you should not use the Nexplanon implant. Nexplanon does not work as well with women who are overweight or taking certain drugs. Certain types of medicines and supplements can make Nexplanon less effective. These include some (not all) varieties of the following
- Anti-Seizure Medicines
- Herbals Like St. John’s Wort
- HIV Medicines
- Mental Disorder Medicines
- Tuberculosis Medicines
- Yeast Infection Medicines
As long as you are not taking any medications or supplements that are known to interfere, Nexplanon is very effective. Less than 1 out of 100 women a year become pregnant while using Nexplanon.
Does it protect against sexually transmitted disease?
No. Please keep in mind that Nexplanon protects you from pregnancy very effectively for up to three years, but it does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STDs). Use a latex male or female condom to reduce your risks of infection.
Most women can use Nexplanon safely and effectively. But all medications have some risks, and you need to talk to your doctor about your safety concerns. Your health care provider is there to talk to you about your health and whether the implant is safe for you.
- Abdominal Pain
- Back Pain
- Blood Clot Formation
- Breast Tenderness
- Changes in Appetite
- Changes in Menstrual Period
- Ectopic Pregnancy: As with all progestin-only birth control products, Nexplanon carries a risk of an ectopic pregnancy if you do become pregnant. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing lower abdominal pain because this could be indicative of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Injection Site Pain
- Irregular Menstrual Periods
- Liver Disease
- Vaginal Infection
- Vaginal Inflammation
- Serious Depression: If you have a history of depression you should be carefully observed during your use of Nexplanon, as it could make your depression more severe.
Nexplanon can be used during breastfeeding after your fourth post-partum (after you’ve given birth) week.
The circumstances for removing your Nexplanon may vary, but here are the main reasons for removal:
- Depression Increase: If your depression becomes more severe you should consider trying a different birth control method.
- Pregnancy: If by some small chance, you become pregnant while taking Nexplanon, you become pregnant and are interested in maintaining your pregnancy, you should immediately have your doctor remove your Nexplanon implant.
- Other Side Effects: If Nexplanon is causing you pain and discomfort or any of the other side effects previously mentioned you should consider getting it removed and trying a new type of birth control.
How old do I have to be to take Nexplanon?
Nexplanon has not been tested in women under the age of 18. It is not usually recommended for very young women because of all the hormonal changes they are already going through.
How long does it last?
Nexplanon last about three years. After three years it should be removed. If you still want to protect yourself from pregnancy you can have a new one inserted.
After Nexplanon is inserted, it will start working right away. However, this immediacy depends a lot on the timing of the placement with your menstrual cycle. Nexplanon begins working right away if it is placed within five days after the start of your period. If you have your Nexplanon placed at any other time during your menstruation cycle, use condoms with your sexual partner for at least one week.
This method may not be for every woman, but it can help you out if the following things are important to you:
- Breastfeeding: You can use Nexplanon if you are nursing.
- Easy/Long Lasting: Nexplanon is the longest lasting birth control method other than a surgically implanted IUD, which goes in your uterus. Compared to an IUD is it very easy to place.
- Lighter, Fewer Periods: Your periods usually become light and infrequent. About one-third of users stop having a period after one year.
- No Estrogen: If you cannot take estrogen-based birth control, this method may be a good option for you.
- No Interruptions: Because this method is always working for you, there is no interruption of foreplay (caused by birth control methods like NuvaRing and condoms) if you want to have sex.
- No Remembering: If you have trouble remembering to take a pill every day, Nexplanon and other implants like it are a good option.
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