Monday, 16 January 2017

My Contraceptive Implant Experience

Hi everyone and happy 2017!

I know it's been a long time since I last blogged, but I'm back yet again and with something a little different for my first post of 2017...moving aside from beauty/fashion to talk about contraception - because I know from experience, choosing the right type for you can be confusing. So I really hope this is helpful in some way!

I did a post on my contraceptive implant experience over on my other blog, but frankly that post is super long and probably a bit of a slog to read, so I'm going to try and keep it more condensed over here.

Also - like my other post - this may get a little TMI, so sorry about that!

Background info
So in case you didn't know, the implant is a 40mm tube that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It works by stopping ovulation and lasts for three years. It's an extremely effective method of contraception (more than 99%) but doesn't protect you from STIs.

So why did I get the implant? The main reasons are:
  • I'm in a long term relationship with my boyfriend (I will say no more...)
  • I don't want to have a baby just yet 
  • I am forgetful and would probably forget to take the pill and freak out about getting pregnant!
Insertion
I had mine inserted on 30th April 2015, so I've had it a while now! I was *really* nervous about the insertion - I am very squeamish, and not good with needles. However I can honestly say that the insertion really isn't much to worry about. It's over very quickly. I looked away and endured the pain of the needle (this is really the worst part, but no worse than any other injection) which numbed my upper arm. I could still feel a little bit of twinging as they actually inserted the implant but then it was over and they bandaged the wound up.

This is what my bruise and wound looked like four days after insertion.
You need to keep the bandage on a few days to keep the wound clean, and in this time my arm did start to feel a bit sore. I also had some bruising around the insertion area (as seen in the picture above) but it wore off quite quickly and I would say the post-insertion pain/bruising I had was very manageable.

My experience from there
I started getting light bleeding around a month after insertion which lasted two weeks - pretty long for a period but it isn't technically a period as I no longer ovulate. This was pretty annoying, and over the next months I had on and off periods that could be around 10-14 days long. These were neither painful nor heavy but it did get on my nerves so I went to my G.P who prescribed Norethisterone (a drug that can be used to delay your period). I took it every day for three weeks then had a week off where I'd bleed - essentially like having a normal period again. I stopped taking it in September 2015 because I was no longer having a period in the week off, and I didn't get any bleeding again for several months. Norethisterone also tends to make my skin break out (and I already get the occasional hormonal breakout on Nexplanon). I went back on it briefly just before my May 2016 holiday to Rhodes as I wanted to be 100% sure I wouldn't bleed.

Now it's kind of the same story - I can go for months without having a period and then bam, I bleed for two weeks - however it's mostly very light. It is quite inconvenient though, and especially so in December when I bled twice with only a week in between, which hadn't happened before. I was hoping I wouldn't be bleeding during my New Year's Eve plans but thankfully it had stopped by then! Depending on how this carries on, I'm hoping I won't need to go back on Norethisterone to control these infrequent periods.

Basically every woman is unique and reacts differently to the implant - some women will be lucky and have no bleeding at all (jealous) while others may be constantly bleeding on/off. There's no way to predict how your body will react to it and no way for me to know when I might next have a bleed so I must carry pads/tampons with me everywhere! (You just know that the one time I forget, I'll bleed).

Overall thoughts
Aside from the infrequent, annoying periods, I'm really pleased with my experience. The implant is extremely convenient - I won't need to think about contraception until April 2018 when my implant is due for removal and I may or may not get another one there and then. I'm not anxious about becoming pregnant, which is great as I'm anxious about a lot of things, but I know the implant is working and its side effects for me are pretty mild. Like I said, you don't know how your body will react to it, so it's not going to be for everyone, but you never know until you try, and you can easily ask for Norethisterone to control crazy bleeding, or ask for the implant to be removed at any time.

Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful and not too long! For professional advice on the implant, please take a look at the NHS website.

If you have the implant I'd love to read your thoughts, and feel free to ask me any questions below in the comments as well :)

Sabrina xxx 
 

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