Hormonal Implants

1.          What is a hormonal implant?
It is a form of hormonal contraception in which a small flexible rod (implant) is inserted under your skin in your upper arm. The implant slowly releases a progestogen hormone is similar to the natural progesterone produced by your ovaries. This form of contraception could last up to 3 years.
2.         How does the hormonal implant prevent pregnancy?
  • Prevents ovulation
  • Reduces and thickens the cervical mucus making it more difficult for the sperm to enter the womb.
  • Reduces the chance of implantation by making the lining of the womb thin.
3.         What is the efficacy of the hormonal implant in preventing pregnancy?
It is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
4.         Who should not use this hormonal implant?
  • If you do not want your menstrual cycle to change
  • If you think you are already pregnant
  • History of heart attack, stroke or blood clots
  • Breast cancer or history of breast cancer in the last 5 years.
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding.
5.         What are the advantages of using the hormonal implant?
  • It lasts up to 3 years.
  • Does not require to be taken on a daily / weekly or monthly basis.
  • Your fertility returns almost immediately after removable of the implant.
  • Could be used while breast feeding and does not affect the breast milk quantity.
  • Does not affect sex.
  • Reduce heavy and painful menses.
6.         What are the disadvantages of using the hormonal implant?
  • It causes changes in your menses: Irregular, spotting, heavy and prolonged or in some women no menses at all.
  • Tender breasts, acne, changes in mood and sex drive.
  • Costly.
  • Requires a small procedure to have it inserted and removed.
7.          Is there anything that would make the hormonal implant less effective?
  • Some medicines such as those used to treat tuberculosis, epilepsy and HIV may affect the efficacy of the hormonal implant
  • The common antibiotics, diarrhea or vomiting does not affect the implant’s efficacy.
  • Inform you doctor that you have a hormonal implant if he needs to prescribe you with some medications.
8.          What should I do if I am interested in using the hormonal implant as contraception?
You should contact your doctor who then inserts the hormonal implant under the skin of your upper arm after giving you some local anaesthetic. This simple procedure takes only several minutes to perform. You may noticed some bruising and swelling at the site of insertion which will settle after a few days. You do not need any stitches.
9.          I have just delivered my baby, when should I insert the hormonal implant?
You could have the implant put it about 3 weeks after delivery. If you have it inserted before or at 3 weeks, you will be protected immediately for getting pregnant. However, if it is inserted after 3 weeks you need to use other contraception e.g condom for at least 7 days.
10.       If I wanted to get pregnant what should I do?
You should see your doctor and get the implant removed under local anaesthetic to numb the area. A small incision will be made to take out the implant. The procedure usually takes only a few minutes. Rarely, the implant is difficult to find and may need to be removed under ultrasound guidance. Your fertility returns almost immediately after the implant is removed.

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