What are long-acting reversible contraception methods?

The intrauterine device (IUD) and the birth control implant are long-acting reversible contraception methods. Both are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. They last for several years and are easy to use. Both methods are reversible—if you want to get pregnant or if you want to stop using them, you can have them removed at any time.

How effective are long-acting reversible contraception methods?

The IUD and the implant are the most effective forms of reversible birth control available. During the first year of use, fewer than 1 in 100 women using an IUD or implant will get pregnant. Over time, LARC methods are 20 times more effective than birth control pills, the patch, or the ring.

Do long-acting reversible contraception methods protect against sexually transmitted infections?

The IUD and the implant do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A male or female condom also should be used to provide STI protection if you are at risk of getting an STI. You are at risk of getting an STI if you

  • Have more than one sexual partner
  • Have a partner who has or has had more than one sexual partner
  • Have sex with someone who has an STI
  • Have a history of STIs
  • se intravenous drugs (injected into a vein) or have a partner who uses intravenous drugs

What is the birth control implant?

The birth control implant is a flexible, plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted just under the skin in the upper arm. It releases progestin into the body. The implant is approved for up to 3 years of use. The implant inserted in office is the Nexplanon implant.

How does the birth control implant work?

The progestin in the implant prevents pregnancy mainly by stopping ovulation. The progestin in the implant also thickens the mucus of the cervix, which makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus and reach the egg. Progestin also thins the lining of the uterus.

What are the benefits of the birth control implant?

The implant has the following benefits:

  • It is easy to use. Once it is in place, you do not have to do anything else to prevent pregnancy.
  • No one can tell that you are using birth control. The implant cannot be seen under the skin (but it can be felt).
  • It can be inserted immediately after an abortion, a miscarriage, or childbirth and while breastfeeding.
  • It does not interfere with sex or daily activities.
  • Almost all women are able to use the implant. There are few medical conditions that prevent its use.
  • It reduces pain during your menstrual period.
  • If you wish to get pregnant or if you want to stop using it, you can simply have the implant removed.

How is the birth control implant inserted?

An Obstetrician–Gynecologist (Ob-Gyn) or other health care professional will insert the implant into your arm. He or she will numb a small area on the inside of your upper arm with a local pain medicine. The implant is placed under the skin with a special inserter. The procedure takes only a few minutes.

How is the birth control implant removed?

When you are ready to stop using the implant, an ob-gyn or other health care professional must remove it. A small area on your upper arm is numbed with a local anesthetic. One small incision is made. The implant is removed through the small incision. The procedure usually takes only a few minutes.

What are possible side effects of using the birth control implant?

Like IUDs, the implant can cause changes in menstrual bleeding. The most common change is unpredictable bleeding. Menstrual periods may be less frequent and may stop completely. But in some women, periods are more frequent and last longer. Other side effects may include digestive difficulties, headaches, breast pain, weight gain, and acne.

What are possible risks of using the birth control implant?

Possible risks with use of the implant include the following:

  • Problems with insertion or removal of the implant. These problems are rare.
  • Although rare, if a woman gets pregnant while the implant is inserted, there is a slightly increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. The implant should be removed if pregnancy occurs.

Glossary

  • Birth Control Implant: A small, single rod that is inserted under the skin in the upper arm by a health care professional. It releases a hormone and protects against pregnancy.
  • Cervix: The lower, narrow end of uterus at the top of the vagina.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy: A pregnancy in which the fertilized egg begins to grow in a place other than inside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.
  • Egg: The female reproductive cell produced in and released from the ovaries; also called the ovum.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): A virus that attacks certain cells of the body’s immune system and causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD): A small device that is inserted and left inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy.
  • Miscarriage: Loss of a pregnancy.
  • Obstetrician–Gynecologist (Ob-Gyn): A physician with special skills, training, and education in women’s health.
  • Ovulation: The release of an egg from one of the ovaries.
  • Progestin: A synthetic form of progesterone that is similar to the hormone produced naturally by the body.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Infections that are spread by sexual contact, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]).
  • Sperm: A cell produced in the male testes that can fertilize a female egg.
  • Uterus: A muscular organ located in the female pelvis that contains and nourishes the developing fetus during pregnancy.
Source: acog.org