Risks and side effects of the birth control implant?

Risks and side effects of the birth control implant
Sep 17, 2021

The variety of birth control methods is impressive nowadays, and the diversity of products is growing surprisingly fast. Condoms, pills, T-shaped IUDs, implants – anyone can find the perfect option for themselves. However, before choosing, it is vital to learn more about all possible risks and side effects because it’s almost impossible to avoid them.

In today’s blog post, we would like to discuss birth control implants and what risks are possible during their exploitation. Please, keep in mind that this article was created for informational purposes only and cannot be a replacement for advice, diagnosis, or treatment from the actual medical professional.

Contraceptive implant working principle

A contraceptive implant is a small device that belongs to a hormonal type of birth control. After its insertion (usually in the upper arm), it starts releasing etonogestrel into the body. The device itself is not bigger than a toothpick, so there should be no worries about uncomfortable sensations after the administration.

The released hormone doesn’t allow the egg to leave the ovaries, as well as thickens cervical mucus and stops sperm from getting into it. This device starts working immediately if it was inserted during the first five days of the menstrual cycle; however, if it was placed into the arm later, backup birth control is needed for seven days to prevent pregnancy.

How is it placed inside?

The procedure of placing birth control into the arm can sometimes be uncomfortable, so various methods of reducing unpleasant feelings are used during it. The most popular one is applying a local anesthetic to the arm; it helps to numb the area and guarantees a fast and painless procedure.

The insertion process of a plastic rod takes no longer than a few minutes, and the overall feeling reminds getting an injection. No stitches are needed after the treatment, and all unpleasant sensations should be gone in one to two days after device administration.

The product’s durability is approximately three years, so it has to be replaced by the doctor to avoid unwanted pregnancy. In case a person decided to plan a family and get pregnant, a medical specialist can remove the device at any time. It may take a few days for the effect of the implant to stop entirely, but people can try to become pregnant right after it was moved away.

Side effects of implant birth control method

As with all hormonal birth control devices, side effects are almost inevitable with implants. Of course, we are talking about light symptoms which are not dangerous and are gone in a few days (sometimes, it can take more time for people with different health peculiarities). The most common ones include light spotting, unusual bleeding patterns, irregular menstrual bleeding, heavy and more prolonged periods, or vise versa – much lighter and painless menstruation. We’ll repeat once again – everything depends on the body peculiarities of a patient; that is why consultations with a health care provider are very important here. As we are talking about hormonal birth control, mood swings are pretty common for women as well.

Sometimes, periods can stop at all after the implant insertion; it is a pretty common symptom, so there should be no worries. However, we would recommend contacting a doctor to make sure no severe health problems occurred after the insertion. On rare occasions, ectopic pregnancy and serious allergic reaction are possible as well.

Other side effects include headache, insertion site reactions (painful sensations, irritation, redness, swelling, and bruising), increased breast sensitivity, slight weight gain, nausea, ovarian cysts, etc. Changes in blood pressure and dizziness are also possible (especially during a few first days after), so it is better to be careful when going somewhere far away. Have a bottle of water with you, avoid heavy exercise for a few days, and listen to your inner sensations.

We would like to remind you that implants do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases, so, in case there is no permanent sexual partner, condoms should always be used. Unwanted pregnancy is not the only thing that is possible after intimacy, different health conditions that can be dangerous for a person may occur as well.

Main advantages and disadvantages of implants


Speaking about the main features of the product and why it is so popular among patients, there are a few pretty serious reasons. First of all, an implant is the best alternative for women who cannot use oestrogen-based contraception (it includes pills, patches, vaginal rings, etc.). This product is perfect for those who plan to become pregnant because the fertility comes back right after removing it from the arm; it is also completely safe for women during the lactation period.

Of course, do not forget about its durability (3 years) and the fact that sex shouldn’t be interrupted when an implant is inserted. Sometimes, it is prescribed for women with irregular, extremaly painful, or heavy periods because the product can reduce these unfortunate symptoms.


When choosing implants, common side effects can take a few months to disappear in some patients (e.g., mood changes, migraines, breast tenderness, etc.). You should also keep in mind that periods can become more irregular or completely stop after the insertion, and a doctor should be informed about it to give proper consultation and avoid health complications.

You may also notice a negative effect on your skin; acne can get worse for a few months after starting using this device. And, of course, those who are afraid of even the slightest operations can be a little scared of the minimally invasive procedure in the clinic. However, a local anesthetic is always used to avoid unpleasant sensations, so there should be no worries about this aspect.

Final word

Implants for preventing unwanted pregnancy are a fantastic alternative for women who are tired from taking pills or using vaginal IUDs. It is inserted quickly, almost painless, and keeps its effect for a long time.

These products are a great help for people who are responsible and prefer planned partnerhood over unfortunate accidents. To make sure it is right for you, proper consultation with a medical professional is a must. Take care of your health and stay safe!

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