When most people think of female birth control, they think of birth control pills, the most popular method of birth control aside from permanent sterilization. When used correctly, birth control pills are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The problem is, sometimes people forget to take their pill. That’s why the actual rate of effectiveness is lower — somewhere around 91%.
Contraceptive implants are also 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, with one big advantage over pills: You can’t forget with an implant, which means your contraceptive is always hard at work. Plus, implants last up to five years, and when those five years are up, swapping your old implant for a new one can be done right in our office.
Despite those benefits, though, implants aren’t as well-known as birth control pills, which leaves a lot of women with unanswered questions. The biggest concern: Are implants safe?
At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, top-ranked obstetrician and gynecologist Paul W. Morrison, M.D., helps women in the Evansville area understand the facts about their birth control options, including implants. If you’re concerned about implant safety, here’s what he wants you to know.
Contraceptive implants are thin, flexible rods that are implanted into your upper arm. Once in place, the implant releases a steady stream of hormones to help prevent pregnancy.
Implants are placed in the arm during a simple, in-office procedure. Dr. Morrison first numbs your arm with a local anesthetic, then he inserts the implant through a very tiny puncture incision in your upper arm.
Once the implant is in place, you won’t be able to see it, but if you press lightly on your arm, you’ll probably be able to feel it. If you decide to get pregnant, implants are easy to remove, and you can become fertile again quickly.
First, it’s important to note that any medication — even something as common as contraceptives — can cause problems. You should discuss your personal and family medical history with Dr. Morrison, so he can help you decide if an implant is right for you. Having said that, contraceptive implants are very safe, and problems associated with implants are rare.
Like other types of birth control that use hormones — including birth control pills — implants may carry an increased risk of breast cancer, especially among women with a personal or family history of breast cancer. They may also increase the risk of developing blood clots. You also shouldn’t use an implant if you have a history of liver problems.
As with other hormonal forms of birth control, some women who use implants experience changes in their periods, including abnormally heavy periods or bleeding between periods. If you have changes in your periods, call the office.
There is a very small risk of infection in the location of your arm where the implant is placed, and you may have a tiny scar in the placement site. Very rarely, the implant may move. If you notice that the implant has moved from its initial insertion site, call the office right away.
Contraceptive implants offer plenty of benefits, but the best birth control method is the one you’re most likely to use. One of the biggest benefits of the implant is that once it’s in place, it does all the work, and there’s no risk of forgetting to use it.
If you’d like to learn more about implants and other birth control methods that can help you take control of your future, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today.