How It Works?

It is a small flexible plastic rod inserted just under the skin (it is not seen) of the inner part of the upper arm. After insertion it can be felt under the skin.It slowly releases the hormone progesterone into the body to stop ovulation. It also thickens the mucus at the neck of the womb making it difficult for sperm to enter.

The contraceptive implant is one of the types of contraception called a LARC. LARC stands for ‘Long Acting Reversible Contraception’. LARC methods don’t rely on you remembering to take them, but they do need a professional (like a doctor or a nurse) to give them to you. They are very effective.

The implant is designed to be used for 3 years and is not a short-term method of contraception. It you are not sure you want contraceptive protection for this long, other methods of contraception may be more suitable for you.There is only one implant available in Ireland at this time it is called Implanon.

How do you use the implant?

An implant is about the size of a match stick. It is placed under the skin, in your upper arm. A doctor or nurse will give you a local anaesthetic injection, to numb this part of your arm. They make a tiny cut in your skin and put the implant in. It should only take a few minutes, and you won’t need any stitches. The area may be tender for a few days, but the doctor or nurse will put a small dressing on, to protect it and help stop any bruising.

If the implant is put in during the first five days of your period, it protects you against pregnancy straight away. If it’s put in on any other day of your menstrual cycle you will not be protected against pregnancy for the first seven days, so you’ll need to use another method of contraception, (like condoms) for the first seven days. If your periods come every 23 days or less, you may not be protected so should seek further advice or use a condom for the first seven days.

What is good about the implant?

  • Does not interrupt sex.
  • Works for up to three years.
  • No evidence that it causes additional weight gain.
  • Fertility returns to normal immediately implant is removed.

What do I have to watch out for with the implant?

  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • May cause or worsen acne.
  • Periods may be irregular or stop altogether.

How effective is the implant?

The implant is more than 99% effective. This means that less than 1 in 100 women who use implants will get pregnant each year.

What makes the implant less effective?

Some prescribed medicines used to treat epilepsy, HIV and TB, enzyme inducing drugs and the complementary medicine St John’s Wort may make an implant lass effective so always inform your doctor if you are using an implant.

Who can use the implant?

The implant is suitable for most women. A doctor or nurse will need to know about a woman’s medical history and any illnesses suffered by immediate members of her family. That’s to find out if there are any medical reasons why it might not be suitable for you