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Hormonal Method

1 or 2 small hormone releasing silicone rods put
under the skin by a healthcare provider.


3-5 Years

Highly effective
Long-acting reversible
Easy to hide

Details / How to


Contraceptive implants are small flexible rods that are placed just under the skin of your upper arm by a healthcare professional.  Depending on the type of implant, one or two rods are implanted. The rods steadily release the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream, preventing the release of an egg from your ovary (ovulation). This hormone also thickens the mucus in your cervix to stop the sperm from entering your uterus.

The contraceptive implant provides very effective contraception for 3 to 5 years, depending on the type used.


Your trained healthcare provider will inject a local anaesthetic to numb the area on the inside of your upper arm. The implant is then inserted just under the skin. You will not need stitches. The implant then releases a steady flow of progestogen over 3 to 5 years, depending on the type of implant. You can have it removed at any time by your healthcare provider, and your natural fertility will return very quickly.

Pros / Cons


  • A very effective form of contraception, with an effectiveness rate of 99.9%
  • It does not interrupt sex
  • It is suitable for women who want to avoid having to remember to take contraceptive pills or injections, and who want a long-acting, reversible contraceptive method.
  • It is useful for women who cannot use contraception that contains oestrogen.



  • It has to be fitted and removed by a trained healthcare professional
  • You may feel some bruising, tenderness or swelling around the implant when it is first inserted
  • There may be a change in your periods – they may become irregular, lighter, heavier or longer
  • It does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HIV), so you may need to use condoms as well


You may experience:

  • Changes in your monthly bleeding patterns, including:


First several months to a year:

o  Lighter bleeding and fewer days of bleeding

o   Periods that last longer

o   Irregular bleeding

o   Infrequent bleeding

o   No monthly bleeding

After about one year:

o  Lighter bleeding and fewer days of bleeding

o   Irregular bleeding

o   Infrequent bleeding

o   No monthly bleeding


These changes in bleeding are normal and are not harmful. If you find them bothersome, speak to your healthcare professional.

  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Acne (can improve or worsen)
  • Changes in weight
  • Tender breasts
  • Dizziness
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea

Frequently Asked Questions

The implant contains a progestin reservoir which is released in tiny doses during the three years or five years depending on the type to prevent pregnancy. It will need to be replaced after this time as the hormone reservoir will run out.

The implant is about the size of a thin matchstick, and people have it inserted under the skin of the inner side of the upper arm. It can easily be felt, but it is not very visible, except to someone who is looking for it. There will be a tiny mark at the point of insertion, but this isn’t very visible providing the implant has been inserted by a trained healthcare provider.

Many women find that heavy, painful periods are reduced. There can sometimes be irregular bleeding initially, but this should go after the first few months.

After the counseling by your healthcare provider and making sure that you are not pregnant, the implant should be inserted within 7 days after the onset of menstrual bleeding, or immediately or within 7 days after abortion. If the contraceptive implant is inserted at any other time, you will need to use an additional non-hormonal (barrier) method for the following 7 days. In case of questions, please consult with your healthcare provider.

Local anesthesia is used so there should be very little pain, and the procedure takes only a couple of minutes. There might be a bit of bruising or soreness afterwards.

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