August 18, 2022

What is Nexplanon? Everything you Need to Know

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nexplanon birth control rod

How does the birth control implant work?

Implants are method of birth control. An implant can prevent pregnancy for up to three years. Nexplanon is a type of hormonal contraceptive implant used as a long-term birth control device (Mayo Clinic). The matchstick-sized plastic rod is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. The implant releases low, steady doses of progestin to prevent pregnancy. The hormone progestin induces thickening of the cervical mucus and thinning of the lining of the uterus. This prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation and egg fertilization. 

A healthcare provider will insert the device into the patient’s non-dominant arm. Because insertion is painful, the provider injects a local anesthetic at the insertion site (ACOG). Nexplanon can be left in the arm and prevent pregnancy for up to 4 years.

Risks and side effects

Nexplanon is not recommended for people with allergies to the device, certain cardiovascular issues (blood clots, heart attack, stroke), liver tumor/diseases, history of breast cancer, and genital bleeding (Mayo Clinic). After insertion, some patients report experiencing light bleeding or brown discharge for the first 6-12 months (Planned Parenthood).

Other common side effects (Nexplanon)

  • Acne
  • Back pain
  • Breast Pain
  • Changes in menstrual bleeding patterns
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Mood Swings (depressed mood, nervousness)
  • Painful Periods
  • Stomach pain
  • Vaginitis
  • Weight gain

It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. We provide access to archived health related content, note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content shared, regardless of date should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. 

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