How does a Contraceptive Implant Work

By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
How does a Contraceptive Implant Work

A contraceptive implant is a type of hormonal contraceptive for women who do not want to get pregnant for a long period of time. It is a very thin, small and long plastic cannula that is inserted under the skin. This rod continuously releases a hormonal component into the bloodstream to prevent ovulation. It is implanted under the skin with the help of a local anaesthetic during the first few days of menstruation. The use of this contraceptive is still not too wide around women, mainly because of lack of information. In this OneHowTo article we're going to explain how a contraceptive implant works.

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Steps to follow:

Firstly, it must be noted that insertion of a subdermal implant is not painful. The purpose of this implant is to prevent ovulation, whilst also changing the cervical mucus by making it thicker. In this way, the uterus' ability to store an embryo is altered.

The implant is 99% effective, although it decreases if you gain weight or if you have it fitted for longer than appropriate. It is not less effective if you suffer from vomiting or diarrhoea, as can happen with the contraceptive pill.


The subcutaneous contraceptive implant has certain advantages including:

  • It lasts between 3 and 5 years, but it can be removed earlier.
  • It is very comfortable and invisible, and can even be used during full lactation.
  • After removing it, fertility quickly returns.
  • It can be used by women who cannot tolerate oestrogen because it only contains progestin.
  • It can be used by any woman, at any age, and whether they have been pregnant or not.

The disadvantages of subdermal contraceptive implants include:

  • More irregular periods, as it only contains one hormone.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Slight weight gain, fluid retention and acne.
  • Localised problems in the implant area.
  • Risk of ovarian cysts.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • It is not suitable for women with circulatory or heart problems, or those who may be pregnant, etc.
  • Talk to your doctor if an infection develops in the area or when the implant is removed.
  • It is effective from day seven after implantation, so a barrier method should be used in the intervening period.
  • In some cases, it can cause depression.
  • It is one of the most expensive forms of contraception.
  • Being overweight makes it less effective.
  • Some medicines may have an impact on its effectiveness. Consult your doctor about this issue.
How does a Contraceptive Implant Work - Step 3

Before choosing to wear a contraceptive implant you need to discuss the benefits and disadvantages with your doctor. However, there are some women who would not be suitable for wearing this kind of implants. You won't be able to use a subcutaneous contraceptive implant if:

  • You think you might be pregnant
  • You want to keep regular periods
  • You bleed in between periods or after sex
  • You have thrombosis
  • You have arterial or liver disease
  • You suffer from diabetes, migraines or cirrhosis
  • You have breast cancer
  • You are at risk of osteoporosis

We advise you to visit your gynecologist before deciding whether this type of implants is the best contraceptive method for you.

If you want to read similar articles to How does a Contraceptive Implant Work, we recommend you visit our Sentimental relationships category.

  • Consult your doctor before deciding to use a subcutaneous contraceptive implant.

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