My Experience With The Contraceptive Implant

The Contraceptive Implant


If you've clicked on this post of mine then you probably already know what a contraceptive implant is and how it works and all that technical stuff, so I won't be going into that. However, if you don't know then you can do research online as there are many sites which explains this contraception and how it works and may answer any questions you have.

To put it simply though, it is a thin plastic implant that is inserted into your forearm and it stops you from becoming pregnant. Well, 99% of the time anyway but maybe we'd get into that later.

This post is just going to be me sharing my personal experience with you so what applies to me may not be the same to you. All our bodies are different and they react differently to things so please keep this in mind when reading.

I have contemplated whether or not I really wanted to make this post as I thought maybe it was a bit of a private subject but then I thought, "you know what? I'm turning 20 in July and I am a full grown, consenting, and of legal adult so I don't care who knows that I'm sexually active or not." Besides, making this post could maybe help some people out there who are thinking of going on the implant.


Experience

Currently I:
  • am 19 years old
  • have had this implant in for 1 year and 5 months

Why I decided to get the implant

I had a friend at the time who had recently gotten the implant so the thought was always on my mind after that. When my current boyfriend and I started to become sexually active we decided that condoms just weren't for us and on top of it all; they were so expensive. 

I knew I didn't want to be on the pill as I hate the commitment it requires and I doubt I can follow it through. Also, I am forever grateful that it was free (I think it's free if you are 25 but I can't remember the specifics) because in places like the states it costs like $1,000+, so whilst you have the chance to get it for free and you do not want kids for a few more years then I'd recommend getting yourself on birth control (some can last for up to 7 years).


Finding a clinic

I did some basic research online (whilst I was on my break when I was in sixth form),  made a couple of phone calls. That same day I went to the clinic with my two friends, we had to take a number because I hadn't booked an appointment (you can't book for a consultation). 

When I finally got to speak to one of them I just had to answer basic questions like how long I've been sexually active, when was the last time I had sex, the last time I was on my period etc... I filled out forms stating if I had things like heart issues or if I've ever been pregnant yada yada I can't remember it that well.

Anyway, when they asked me about when my last period was they made a prediction of when my next one will be and booked me in for then (if you've done your research on the implant then you would understand this part).

For anyone who lives near me (Leeds), this is where I got mine done. I found it by just typing in 'contraceptive implant leeds' and TADA!


The procedure

I turned up to my appointment, the lady who saw me went through the form I filled out last time just to double check everything with me.

Asked me the same questions again and offered to give me a free chlamydia test but when I told her me and my boyfriend were each other's first sexual partner and we have only ever used condoms she said it was fine. 

She had to make sure that I wasn't pregnant so she gave me this glass tube with a label on to pee in. It was a tube. It was so thin like how could I possibly aim into that?! the answer is: I couldn't. It leaked onto the label lol. Gross, so sorry. Anyway, so she took my pee and took a pregnancy test and I wasn't pregnant so I was able to continue with it.

I remember having to have my weight and height tested, I don't remember why exactly. Anyway, after all that was done I was asked to lay down on this chair and she asked me to place my arm like in the photo above. She made conversations with me to keep me occupied which was nice.


The pain

I think a lot of people are afraid of this since something is being inserted into one of the most sensitive parts of our skin.

The worse part of it all was the injection for the anaesthetic. It lasted for a lot longer than I thought and I felt it went in pretty deep. The pain was really sharp and I actually let out a few noises aha.

She then proceeded to get the actual implant, I can't remember what it looks like, maybe I didn't even look at all. When she inserted it, I couldn't feel the pain but it was just the pressure. After it was done, I actually let out a laugh! Maybe it was the relieve, I don't know. She made me feel where the implant was and let me have a further poke around, then she bandaged me up and I just put back on my coat and made my way home.

When the anaesthetic wore off, my whole arm was ached quite a bit. It left some bruising after but it was nothing major.


My period before the implant: I had normal periods, it can be pretty heavy on the 2nd and 3rd day and it never lasted more than a week. I had some issues with my skin and they were pretty much always problematic.

My period after the implant: I was warned before getting the implant that my period could become irregular, heavy, or stop altogether. I think everyone kind of hope that their period will stop, I mean it's such a blessing, right? To not be pregnant and to also not be bleeding at all?! Yes, please!

I've been told that even if I get really bad periods or react badly to the implant to it whatsoever (acne, weight gain etc...) they can't remove the implant until after I have had it for six months because it's supposed to wear down after then. If your period is still irregular or heavier than usual you can call up the clinic and they can give you the pill which is supposed to help control it.

From the moment since I've been on the implant until now I have had some pretty irregular periods. I'm constantly spotting. I can't remember the last time where I actually had to use more than one pad in one day because my period has not been heavy at all (or even considered a normal flow). Sometimes I spot for a whole month and sometimes even longer.  It stops for maybe a day or two in-between but then it all starts up again and lasts for ages. Then, I will have about a month or more of completely not being on my period at all, the amount of time sometimes seems a bit longer than the time I'm not on my period (close to two months). Conclusively, instead of just being on my period for 3-5 days and then being free the rest of the times, I seem to be on my period for close to a month and then not for the next month or so.

It can be very frustrating and I can actually feel it affecting my moods. My boyfriend and I do not live in the same city so we don't get to see each other all the time. When we do though, it seemed like I was always on my period. One time when we were about to make love (I thought that my period had stopped a few days ago) but we found out I was still bleeding [spotting].  I was so frustrated with always being on my period that I started crying aha.

With my period being so light all the time I don't actually spend any money on pads anymore. This
may be a bit of a TMI but I now just fold up tissues and place it on my underwear. I flush it down the toilet every time I use the bathroom because it's just tissues. I just feel like it's more hygienic and cost effective. Sometimes, I spot so lightly I feel that maybe a panty liner could do the job. 

You may be asking why I didn't bother calling back the clinic and getting them to sort it out for me but, long answer short: I was lazy. Still am. Plus, I've always held out to the hope that eventually my cycle will go back to normal. Maybe when I get this one taken out in December 2016 and get a new one inserted, if the cycle isn't normal then I will get it sorted.


Other side effects

My skin actually started clearing up around the time I got the implant in. If you've read my blog post about my acne (you can find it here), maybe you'd remember me saying my skin started to get better when I was 18. I got the implant put in on December 2013 and I was 18 at the time.

Around the first few months I had some mood swings but it was hard to say whether those were just normal hormonal stuff or the implant. I did not lose or gain any weight but I've heard people gaining some weight after getting the implant.

Some time after, I did experience a bit of a case of the itch which seemed pretty common. This happens from time to time but it doesn't worry me.

Pregnancy scares

The implant not only prolonged my cycles and made it very light but it did also mess it all up in general.

You can't physically feel the implant working its magic so when you're having sex you don't really know for sure if you're being protected or not. That's the thing, getting on the implant did not make me feel any different. But isn't that a good thing? It didn't alter my abilities in any way but it still prevented pregnancy.

After my boyfriend and I started having sex without condoms, I did started to have pregnancy scares  but there's never been anything real happening.  If any of you ever have any scares then you can contact the clinic you got your implant from because they should provide free pregnancy testing (as buying one yourself is actually kind of expensive).

So far, I have never gotten pregnant and nor am I currently though!


Sex life

Nothing too detailed or personal here but I thought this would be an important topic to cover.

I have said that I do bleed/spot for a longer period amount of times so when I meet up with my boyfriend, I am sometimes in the middle of my cycle. This hasn't stopped us from getting intimate though. I'm really happy with the fact that he is mature enough to acknowledge periods as a normal thing instead of treating me like I'm some dirty vermin that shouldn't be touched when I am bleeding aha.

We have not used condoms ever since I've gotten the implant in. He does use the pull out method most of the times we make love but sometimes he doesn't and I'm still not pregnant.

The implant [obviously] does not protect you from any other sexually transmitted disease so if you're having casual sex then use a condom. Or, if it's a new partner then make sure to get tested together before having unprotected sex.

I think that's everything I wanted to cover! Hope this helped anyone who's wanting to go on the implant.

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