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How Does an Implant Work for Birth Control?

When it comes to finding the right birth control method for you, the good news is that you have many options. One method more and more women are turning to is an effective but reversible form of birth control called Nexplanon®

This device is a small implant placed in your arm that can prevent pregnancy for three years at a time. You simply set up a quick appointment with Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC or a team member at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, and get back to your daily routine in minutes. 

What is a birth control implant?

The birth control implant Nexplanon is a hormonal form of birth control that’s placed under your skin, typically on your upper arm. The device is small and shaped like a thin rod, similar in size to a matchstick. The rod is flexible, so it moves with your body. 

When you get the implant placed, your Alpenglow Gynecology provider numbs the skin so you don’t feel any pain. They then use a special tool that looks like a syringe to slide the implant under the surface of your skin. 

Most women say they don’t feel anything after the numbing shot. When that medication wears off, you might be a little sore or have a bruise or mild swelling. This usually resolves in about a week or so. You can leave Nexplanon in place for up to three years.    

How does Nexplanon prevent pregnancy?

Birth control implants work to prevent pregnancy in three ways: 

First, it releases a steady dose of a synthetic version of the hormone progestin. This hormone stops you from ovulating, meaning your eggs don’t leave your ovaries. Since you’re not ovulating, you can’t get pregnant. 

Second, the hormone also changes the mucus your cervix produces, making it thicker. This makes it more difficult for sperm to reach your uterus and fallopian tubes, giving you extra protection against unwanted pregnancy.  

Third, Nexplanon works to make the lining of your uterus thinner. In a normal cycle, your uterine lining thickens each month to prepare for pregnancy and nourish a fertilized egg. A thin uterine lining is less receptive to a fertilized egg, further lowering your chances of getting pregnant. 

What else should I know about this birth control method?

It’s important to keep in mind that while implants do a good job at preventing pregnancy, they don’t offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you need protection from STDs, be sure to use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse to minimize your risk.

You should also know that Nexplanon comes with some possible side effects. The most common is pain at the insertion site for a few days. This typically resolves quickly. Other potential side effects include:

Most women who experience these side effects report that they improve over time. However, if you experience any of these side effects, or if you change your mind and want to get pregnant, you can always schedule an appointment with Rickie at Alpenglow Gynecology to have the device removed. 

For personalized birth control recommendations or to learn more about the birth control implant, schedule an appointment at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, today. 

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