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I got the Nexplanon birth control implant inserted in my arm in February of 2017 when there was very little information or Nexplanon birth control review on the internet. I’ve been on and off birth control pills for several years before that and wasn’t always the best at taking my birth control pills at (or around) the same time every day.
I didn’t want to risk getting pregnant at the time since I wasn’t in the best place in my life. So the contraceptive rod implant seemed like the best option for someone like me. Overall, the Nexplanon birth control implant and I had a rocky relationship for 2 full years.
In this blog post, I’ll let you know everything you need to know about the contraceptive rod implant and my honest Nexplanon birth control review.
What is the Nexplanon birth control implant?
You’ve probably heard about the birth control implant that goes under the skin in your arm. That is the Nexplanon birth control. The older model is called Implanon. And a lot of people know the Nexplanon birth control as the rod implant or rod contraceptive.
It’s a thin, plastic rod that slowly releases the hormone, progestin (etonogestrel, not the same as estrogen). And it’s also important to note that the Nexplanon is a progestin-only contraceptive. So it doesn’t contain estrogen.
How does the rod implant work?
It works by releasing the hormone progestin that does a few key things like:
- Preventing the release of an egg (a process called ovulation)
- Prevents sperm from reaching an egg by thickening the cervical mucus
- Thins the lining of the uterus to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg
How long does the birth control implant last?
The Nexplanon implant lasts for 3 years. And you have to get it replaced by the end of the third year if you want to continue this form of birth control.
What if I want to get pregnant within the 3 years?
You can get it taken out anytime you want or need. And your fertility should return quickly.
I got my Nexplanon birth control implant taken out in February of 2019, got on the low estrogen birth control pills for two months to regulate my cycle, and got pregnant in July of 2019. But everyone’s experiences aren’t always identical.
How effective is the Nexplanon?
According to Planned Parenthood, the implant is one of the best birth control methods out there and it’s more than 99% effective.
There’s no room to make a mistake with the Nexplanon birth control because there’s no daily hassle of having to take a pill or any monthly dosing like the Depo shot.
Am I a good candidate for the Nexplanon?
A birth control implant may not be the most appropriate form of contraceptive if you have:
- an allergic reaction to implants
- liver problems (tumors, liver disease)
- breast cancer or a history of breast cancer
- history of blood clots
And according to MayoClinic, you should notify your provider if you have the following:
- allergies to anesthetics or antiseptics
- gallbladder disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol or triglycerides
- seizures or epilepsy
What are the side effects?
There are common side effects of Nexplanon birth control. Some of them are bloating, nausea, cramping, heavier, lighter, or no periods, spotting, headache, acne, decreased sex drive, and weight gain.
What should I expect during the Nexplanon insertion?
The Nexplanon insertion itself should take a minute but the preparation will take a bit longer. You’ll get a local anesthetic injection near the upper (under) arm of the arm you don’t write with. Then, they’ll use an applicator to inject the birth control implant right underneath your skin.
You’ll be bandaged up and ready to go after the placement of the Nexplanon has been confirmed. And expect to see some bruising, pain, and bleeding around the site.
If you decide to get it removed later on, the removal is also pretty similar. They’ll inject a local anesthetic, make a small incision, and push the implant forward out of the incision. My experience was a little painful because the lidocaine (local anesthetic they used) didn’t numb the area, so my provider had to numb me twice and cut me twice to remove the contraceptive implant.
Important Notes to Consider
The Nexplanon birth control does not prevent you from getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). And it’s best to use an alternative form of contraceptive the first 7 days after you get the implant to really prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Honest Nexplanon Birth Control Review
I decided that the Nexplanon birth control implant was going to be the best option for me because I had a difficult time taking my birth control pills at the same time every day. Another reason why I chose the Nexplanon implant was because of how effective it was in preventing pregnancies.
So in February of 2017, I decided to get the little rod implanted in my arm. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous.
The procedure was uncomfortable and slightly painful. But it was quick. The insertion area was sore and it was bruised for a few days. I wasn’t able to do any sort of upper body exercises or lift anything in general for a couple of weeks.
Side Effects of the Birth Control Implant I Experienced
The first 6 months of having the Nexplanon birth control implant, I didn’t bleed at all. And then after that, I’d bleed for weeks at a time, spotted on and off, and was experiencing side effects. Mind you, I had a very, regular period prior to getting the implant.
I was moody, had no sex drive (probably didn’t help that I was spotting constantly), had headaches more than usual, and just didn’t feel like my happy, peppy self.
I did enjoy not having to worry about remembering to take my birth control pill. But the times I wasn’t on my period, I was still self-conscious that I had been that 1% who fell pregnant on Nexplanon.
So the Nexplanon birth control made my periods super irregular, changed my mood (I was basically crazy), and didn’t help my mental health with worrying if I was pregnant or not during the months I didn’t have my period. And as you know, spotting can be a sign of pregnancy.
Nexplanon Implant Removal Experience
My husband and I went back and forth about getting my Nexplanon birth control implant taken out and the possibility of getting pregnant. During the first semester of my accelerated 15-month nursing program, I set up an appointment to get the implant removed in February 2019.
The removal process was worse than I was expecting. The nurse practitioner that performed the incision had to inject the local anesthetic twice because when she made the incision the first time, I felt it. She cut me the second time and there was so much scar tissue that had grown over the Nexplanon rod that she had to pull and tug.
I was sore, bruised, and unable to use that arm for a couple of weeks (same as the insertion). And I have a little scar that looks like a cross from the double incision.
Fertility After Birth Control Implant Removal
I read a lot of forums prior to making the decision that many women didn’t get pregnant until almost a year after regulating their cycle. So I thought I was fine for the majority of my nursing school program (since I was on the pills to regulate my menstrual cycle).
Well, I was half right and half wrong. After the removal of my rod implant, I got on the pill for a couple of months to regular my cycle. And after I stopped the pill (to start my fertility journey), I fell pregnant rather quickly.
Quick Timeline of Nexplanon to Pregnancy
I got the Nexplanon birth control implant inserted.
I got the implant removed out of my left, upper arm.
February 2019-March 2019
I was prescribed the low-estrogen birth control pill.
March 2019-July 2019
I was off the pill after my menstrual cycle was regulated.
I woke up without my period (my periods are very regular, basically right on the dot). And I had a positive pregnancy test reading that morning.
Was the birth control implant worth it?
For me, the Nexplanon birth control was not worth it. I hated not having a regular cycle. I really didn’t like how moody I got. And who likes spotting all the time? It gave me so much anxiety. But it is a very effective birth control option since you don’t have to remember to take a pill so it might be the best option for you if you don’t mind potential side effects.
I hope my Nexplanon birth control review didn’t scare you. Your experience might and could be a whole lot different from mine because it affects every woman differently.