The Health Advisory Clinic > News > What You Need to Know About Implanon

What You Need to Know About Implanon

For years, unintended pregnancy has always remained a global issue that not only affects women and their families, but the society as well. Unwanted pregnancy can result from non-use of contraceptive services, contraceptive failure, and, rarely commonly, non-consensual sex. Abortion is arguably the most common consequence of unwanted pregnancy which, unfortunately, in the developing world, can lead to long-term negative effects such as maternal death and infertility. Generally, it can contribute to increased risks of parenting problems and maternal depression.

However, regardless of the cause, unintended pregnancy together with is negative impacts can successfully be prevented through the use of birth control services. If you are in a serious relationship and don’t want children, or you simply want to keep the size of your family modest, you might want to consider using birth control methods to prevent pregnancy. Today, thanks to the advent of technology, there are many birth control methods available. However, the most effective method that you might want to consider is the hormonal implant device.

So, what is a hormonal implant device?

Also referred to ‘the rod’,  it is a hormonal implant device is typically a very tiny, thin plastic rod that contains a progestogen hormone. This unique birth control device is inserted into your arm, protecting you against becoming pregnant for up to three years. This is a fantastic way of stopping unwanted pregnancy. Implanon is approximately the size of a toothpick.

So, how does hormonal implant device work?

This particular device functions in two ways:

  • The progestin hormone contained in the Implanon suppresses the pituitary glands, thereby stopping your ovaries from releasing eggs. In simple terms, when no eggs are released, you won’t get pregnant because there is no egg to fertilize.
  • This device also works by making the mucus found on your cervix relatively thicker, which in turn, prevents sperm from swimming through to the egg. Of course, when sperm can’t come in contact with an egg, there is no chance of pregnancy.

So, when is the best time to use a hormonal implant device?

One of the most encouraging things about Implanon is that it can last for an extended period; up to three years. Of course, it’s not permanent. Anytime you decide you just don’t need it anymore, your doctor can safely remove it. Provided you aren’t currently pregnant, your doctor can insert a hormonal implant device under your arm to prevent unwanted future pregnancies.

Hormonal implant device should be inserted within the first five days of your menses. However, if you are currently using any other type of contraception and would want to make a jump to Implanon, it would be a great idea to consult your healthcare provider regarding the appropriate time to insert this particular device.

So, how is the hormonal implant procedure conducted?

During this procedure, your doctor will first inject you with some medication on your upper arm to help numb the site, where the implant will be inserted. After this, your doctor will use a medical tool to gently push the rod into your skin through a needle. This shouldn’t feel painful. The whole process may take less than a minute!

Can you feel or see the hormonal implant device?

As we earlier explained, Implanon is an extremely tiny device and it won’t be visible under your skin. However, in somewhat thinner women, the implant’s outline may be visible. Also, you may feel the implant under the skin, though it shouldn’t feel painful.

So, why should I consider using a hormonal implant device?

There are several reasons why the hormonal implant device is method of contraception for you, including:

  • Works for an extended period, usually three years.
  • It is extremely convenient and can be removed at any time, if you are considering to get pregnant once again.
  • It is 99% effective, according to the CDC.
  • The insertion process is nearly a pain-free experience. It is a minimally invasive procedure, where your doctor will also use local anesthesia.
  • It relieves the stress that comes with contraception.

Who is not suited for Implanon?

There is a group of people who should not use this particular device, including pregnant women, women with breast cancer, liver disease, or suffering from undisclosed vaginal bleeding.

Can you get pregnant while on a hormonal implant device?

Implanon is highly effective at preventing pregnancies. Research has proven that it boasts a success rate of more than 99%. And for every one thousand women who use the implant, not more than one woman will conceive after three years.

However, there have been cases of women on implant getting pregnant. But, we must also acknowledge that no form of contraception is 100% effective! Research indicates that in the event of Implanon failure, improper insertion is always to blame but not the implant itself.

Will I gain some extra weight after using the hormonal implant device?

Even though weight gain is currently one of the most common Implanon side effects, women using hormonal implant devices don’t always put on as much weight as they do with the other types of hormonal birth control.

So, what will happen after three years of using Implanon?

Of course, after your three-year period with the implant, you will have to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider and hold a discussion on how the device can be removed. Depending on your options, your doctor may implant a new device on the same spot after successfully removing the old one. And as earlier explained, if you are seeking to switch to another form of contraception, again, your doctor will discuss the available options with you.

If you decide it’s time to conceive, you don’t have to worry, either. This is because more than 90% of women usually restore both their ovulation and fertility within the first three weeks after the removal of the hormonal implant device.

Bearing in mind that there are many options to choose when it comes to birth control methods, it is important to make an informed decision taking into account your needs, preferences as well as associated benefits. This is why you may need to seek a piece of expert advice from your healthcare provider.

Will the Implanon device result in vaginal discharge?

Just like any other type of hormonal birth control technique, implants, too, have their fair share of potential side effects which may vary from one woman to another. Regardless, it is essential to take into account the fact that vaginal discharge can be a result of many other causes, including physiological causes. What’s more, you should know that the hormonal implant device doesn’t offer any form of protection against sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. So, if you experience symptoms such as vaginal discharge while on Implanon, you should act very fast and consult your doctor.

How long will it take for the hormonal implant device to start working?

Implanon will start working immediately it is inserted during the first five days of your menses. However, it will be effective after a week, if inserted at any other time during the menstrual cycle.

I am Using Implanon now, will I become infertile when I stop using it?

Hormonal implant device only prevents you from getting pregnant at a specified period. And when removed, you can become pregnant again. Simply put, it does not generally impact a woman’s fertility. You should remember, though, that fertility generally tends to decline as you age.

According to a particular study, it was revealed that women who have had their hormonal implant devices removed were able to conceive as quickly as their counterparts who have stopped using non-hormonal methods.

So, how is the implant removed?

First and foremost, it should be noted that the hormonal implant device should only be removed by your doctor. He or she will first feel your arm to locate the hormonal implant device and then administer a local anesthetic injection in the site where the implant is. After this, he will make a tiny cut close to the implant’s site and gently pull the device out of your body.

Having unintended pregnancy can put lots of emotional stress on your well-being. That is why you want to avoid it as much as you can. Thankfully, with the hormonal implant device, you can avoid this situation. You only need to visit your doctor and discuss with him/her and see if this can be an option for you.


  1. Wu, J., Huang, Y., Chen, L., Hu, J., & Zou, Y. (2018). Treatment of Adenomyosis with Subcutaneous Etonogestrel Implants: A Clinical Observational Study in 17 Patients. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research24, 6085–6092.
  2. Gebre-Egziabher, D., Medhanyie, A. A., Alemayehu, M., & Tesfay, F. H. (2017). Prevalence and predictors of implanon utilization among women of reproductive age group in Tigray Region, Northern Ethiopia. Reproductive health14(1), 62.

Reach Out To Us!