The Contraceptive Implant & Me.

The Contraceptive Implant & Me.

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]omething a little different from me today. Not massively different as I’ve said before that I don’t exactly have a niche, but sufficiently different for me to say ‘hi this is different’. What is this thing, this different thing? Well, I’m gonna chat about the contraceptive implant.

I’ve had the implant firmly embedded into my left arm for just under three years now, and it’s time for it to come out. In fact, I really need to book that appointment for when I’m back in Durham for Ollie’s graduation at the end of June.

So, as everything seems to be coming to and end at the moment (cry), I thought I’d share a little review of the last three years of putting my reproductive life in the hands of a little white stick.

WHAT IS THE CONTRACEPTIVE IMPLANT?

I’m not going to go into details about what it is as I’m neither a qualified health professional, nor pharmacist. What I will say is that it’s basically a little flexible tube, inserted under the skin, that alters the dose of hormones in your body and lasts three years. Don’t take my word for it, here’s what the glorious NHS have to say. They have knowledge and I am nought but a Theology student. I’m not down for pretending I know everything about important things.

I’m also not going to too deep into the whole ‘how it’s fitted’ and that kinda stuff. A nurse does it and it’s really quick and maybe look away if you don’t like needles. Always make sure that you know where to find it in your arm once it’s fitted. If someone says they’ve put something in your body you really should check it out. Anyway…

It does not protect against any infections or diseases that are transmitted through sexual contact so watch out for them. ‘Don’t be silly…’ (you know the rest).

THE FIRST YEAR

I’ll be honest, the first year was pretty hit and miss. While I didn’t get pregnant (not that I did in the other two years, either), I did suffer from all sorts of side effects.

For the first month I did not get a period at all. This kinda freaked me out because I’d only just had it fitted and was a bit ‘oh my god how do I know if this is it working or not working?’ I then had a month long period. It was the worst. It was irregular and light and heavy and everything all at once. It was quite literally the worst.

I went back to the nurse and was put, along side the implant, on the pill.

This was also not ideal. I mean, I’d had the implant put in purely to stop needing to take a pill every day. But, it did regulate my periods. I had to stay on the pill for six months to regulate myself fully. I stuck it out and eventually all the pills ran out and I was pretty content.

THE SECOND & THIRD YEARS

For the last two years I have been a big fan of my implant.

Sure, I get two periods a month (a super light, short one, a few days off, and then a ‘normal for me’ one) but I have never once been worried about any scares or whatever. Everything has been fab.

Shout out to my pharmacist mother at this point who, one car journey, turned to me and said, ‘maybe if you’re having issues with it affecting you, it means it might not be working properly?’ Thanks, mum. I didn’t want to sleep that night, anyway.

Other than my period issue, I have had no other side effects. No hormonal issues, acne, headaches, mood swings or anything like that. Just a few extra periods, and hey, I can cope. Living alone for most of the last year has meant it couldn’t have been less of an issue, to be honest.

NOW

So, as I’ve said, I will have to have the little white guy out pretty damn soon. Fingers crossed it’ll be in the last few days of June. But what next?

Having said I could cope with the extra periods, thinking about a life without them makes me feel so happy.

But I don’t want to take the pill, I don’t want the injections, I’m undecided on any IUD style thing (I have naturally heavy periods and would not be able to deal if they got heavier). I really don’t want to only use condoms. So what do I do?

Contraception is such an important part of life, and getting it wrong for you can be a nightmare.

I love my implant. I love that it has left me ‘the fear’ free for three years. I love that it’s easy and the side effects are manageable. I love that if I’ve had a bit to drink I can make people touch it. I’m a demon.

But do I love it enough to have it replaced with a brand new shiny one? I don’t know.

This is where I’d like your help…

What’s your current favourite method of contraception?
Can you recommend anything to me?

Follow:
Share:

21 Comments

  1. 26th May 2016 / 9:11 am

    I’ve stuck with the pill for the last few years, the implant is just too unpredictable for me, without the pill I have hugely irregular periods which is why I initially started taking it! Just remember if you have the implant again it might be a really different experience this time!
    I hope you find what works best for you!
    Rachel Ellen

    • 26th May 2016 / 5:50 pm

      That’s very true! I don’t think I could handle it changing back to the constant bleeding I had for the first six months. Sounds like you have it all sorted! xx

  2. 26th May 2016 / 9:23 am

    I had the implant for three years and had such a wonderful experience that when it came to getting it out, I had it put straight back in! I have had no problems since getting it put back in, although I am aware that when these three years are up, I will need to have a break. As I don’t need the contraception side of it, I purely use it to control my unbearably heavy periods. I hope you figure out what you want to do next 🙂

    Emily / http://www.positivelystupendous.co.uk

    • 26th May 2016 / 5:51 pm

      I’m so glad it worked so well for you! Shows me that it can be excellent – I’ve read enough scare stories! Really happy you’ve found something that you love! xx

  3. 26th May 2016 / 10:46 am

    That was very interesting. I took the pill for 10/11 years and in February I decided to stop taking it because I didn’t get my period since July. I spoke about this with my gynaecologist in December but she said that’s normal if you don’t get it for three months. But it didn’t feel natural to me and it always makes you wonder if. So I am off it now and I don’t want to take it again. I’m actually a bit “scared” of taking hormones now because I don’t want it to mess with my period again. So I am currently in a very similar situation as you are, where I wonder what to use next. I am currently not in a relationship so it’s not that urgent at the moment. I think I will just do some research and talk to my doctor in July.
    Patti Shifting Tales

    • 26th May 2016 / 5:52 pm

      That’s another issue! A few years ago I came off and on he pill really sporadically and it messed me up a lot so don’t really want to mess around with myself any more than I have to! I hope you find something that suits you! As you say, no rush 🙂 xx

  4. 26th May 2016 / 12:28 pm

    I don´t think I could stand having two periods a month: one is already enough.. But I always wanted to check this out: it looks so practical and so not frustrating as the pill!

    Aria

    https://pandaonavespa.wordpress.com/welcome/

    • 26th May 2016 / 5:53 pm

      hahah I guess I’ve just got used to it to be honest! It is a pain though to be honest. I’d definitely recommend it as it’s so chill – but whatever works for you! xx

  5. 26th May 2016 / 4:28 pm

    I’ve never found a contraceptive that I really connect with, unfortunately. I know a lot of people who like the injection (because it’s less maintenance than the pill) and the IUD, but I see you’ve tried those. The patch has always interested me, though I haven’t tried them. They’re less hassle than the pill, though they do seem a bit high-maintenance. I hope you find something that works with you! 🙂

    Erin
    http://sexycardi.blogspot.ca

    • 26th May 2016 / 5:54 pm

      Me neither 🙁 The pill just annoyed me and even though I always remembered it, it just seemed like such a hassle. The patch has never really come up for me. I don’t like the idea of having something stuck to me. What if it falls off? To be honest, I don’t know a lot about it! xx

  6. 26th May 2016 / 4:37 pm

    For me, I’ve never ventured down the hormonal contraception path bc I’m always a bit scared when it comes to actually altering ~chemical stuff~ in my body??? idk. But I have the copper IUD (no hormones so 10/10 in my book) which works like a breeze for me (as in no maintenance required), granted it hurt like querhqeufh when I got it fitted but everything is pretty good so far… the only side effect I had was minor cramps during the first few months and my GP tells me it’s normal for the first 6 months and it takes time for your body to get used to it? But it lasts for 5 years and I’m on my third year now… I’ve been on the pill for like a week (lol) bc I was transitioning to having the IUD fitted but I haven’t had any side effects from it.

    That said it definitely differs with each person anyway!

    Cherie | sinonym

    • 26th May 2016 / 5:55 pm

      Oooooo interesting! I feel you on the chemical stuff. I’m super interested in the copper IUD- I’m pretty sure I can deal with the cramps so it sounds like what I might go for next. I’m definitely going to talk to my doctor about it! xx

      • 26th May 2016 / 6:36 pm

        Yeah a really good option for me personally – there have been horror stories floating about but again it really depends on the individual. Lmk if you wanna chat about it from a more personal/in depth (ha) perspective, happy to share 🙂 because I didn’t really know anyone who had one, as they were all either on the pill or abstinence LOL

  7. 26th May 2016 / 8:23 pm

    I took the pill for almost 5 years, but I had to change it several time as it made my period worse … I wanted to go for the copper IUD, but my gyn said it could make the period even worse. (So from worse to even more worse, omg) and that it could have the side effect of lacking iron (a lot. Not in a way that you can simply take a supplement) … long story short: I now have an IUD with only a small amount of hormones. I liked the idea that it sits right where it needs to “work” (not like the implant).
    When I got it, it hurt a lot, but only for some hours. And since then, it magically made my period bearable. I only think “oh, my tummy hurts a little. Probably my period” – when before I lay in bed for at least 1 day with cramps so bad I didn’t want to leave the house. Definitely think the switch was worth it – especially no taking pills for 3 years, yay.
    I hope you’ll find a good solution for you 🙂 xx

  8. 26th May 2016 / 8:36 pm

    This was super interesting to read – I currently take the pill, and I mean it seems to work well for me. I have regular periods, I can almost tell exactly what time of day it will come about as well (creepy but cool) but I don’t particularly enjoy having to take it everyday, and missing it is always a huge worry! I’ve got quite bad needle phobia so I don’t know if I’d be able to have the implant fitted, but its definitely something I’d consider in the future, it seems pretty good. Also I don’t know if you’ve heard of the patch? It’s basically like the pill but in patch form, and you swap it every week. Something to look into anyway, great post!

  9. 26th May 2016 / 10:28 pm

    I’m afraid I cannot recommend any contraception for you since I’m not altering my hormones. The latest I read about was measuring temperatures etc. to figure out your fertile time and according to the authors technology is helping pretty well these days, but I don’t know if I could trust this?

  10. 26th May 2016 / 10:45 pm

    Oh the implant, I’ve been on it for almost 6 months now and on the whole it’s been fabulous. I switched up after I suddenly became really bad at remembering to take my pill. I bled for 6 constantly for the first six weeks, then there was nothing other than two days of spotting, until about 3 weeks ago and it’s been ongoing since. Although I love the ease of it, I hate the unpredictability. I don’t know whether I will get it put back in after I’ve finished with it, and really like the idea of the injection (although my friend had a bad experience with it). God damn it why is contraception so complicated and messy if you get it wrong?

    Sophie x | Essential Twenty

  11. 27th May 2016 / 4:37 pm

    I really hope they hurry up with the male pill. None of the options for female contraception are preferable, and honestly, it makes me miserable that we have to put ourselves through all this crap just so we don’t get pregnant. Really interesting to hear your experience with the implant though. I’ve only ever used the pill, as I feel too scared of everything else, but it’s something I can consider x

    Martha Jane | http://www.marthajanemusic.com

  12. 8th June 2016 / 11:07 pm

    I tried the implant, and it just did not work for me. I bled pretty consistently for 3 months, then had 3 months on the implant and the pill together with no period, back on just the implant and then told I may as well get it out because whilst it was working as a contraceptive, it wasn’t working with my body. Ugh. Then I just went on the pill because the injection was the same hormones as the implant and I was worried I’d just bleed a lot again. I took the combined pill for over 3 years and had no problems. This year I’ve come off it (hello single life) and my periods are still a little inconsistent from the change. I’m sorry this isn’t really that helpful… But I do feel like the pill is one of the most ‘safe’ ones when it comes to bleeding problems and fixing that. The problem is remembering to take it every day of course! I don’t know what I’m gonna do when I do get into a relationship again so I’m just gonna read through all these comments haha!

  13. 15th June 2016 / 2:41 am

    I had a similar experience to you with the implant in that I just bled constantly unless I took the pill on top (so nothing like your experience really but close enough) and I now have the patch. It’s not as discreet as the implant as it’s like a plaster – I put mine on my bum but you can pretty much stick it wherever – but you only have to remember to change it once a week so for me it’s better than the pill, and it’s super sticky so you don’t have to worry about it coming off.

    Hope you get it sorted – I’d love to hear what you choose.

    Megan / lazythoughts.co.uk

  14. Courtney
    17th June 2016 / 10:15 pm

    I’ve been on the NuvaRing for four months now and really like it. You do have to insert it yourself, but I haven’t had any problems with it. No pregnancy scares or anything like that. You insert it, wear it for three weeks, then take it out. I have my period 4 days after I take it out, and then am on my period for 4-5 days. You sometimes do have to insert the new one while you’re on your period which can be really gross because you insert it one week after you take it out in order for it to be consistent. I like it a lot better than the pill because I don’t have to remember to take it everyday at the same time or worry about missing a few.
    Courtney
    simplybumblingalong.wordpress.com