My Experience with Nexplanon (The Arm Implant Birth Control)

What is Nexplanon?

From the Nexplanon website: “It is the small, thin and flexible arm implant that provides up to 3 years of continuous birth control. That’s why NEXPLANON is considered a long-acting birth control option. It’s placed discreetly under the skin of your inner, upper arm by your health care provider. It’s also reversible and can be removed by your health care provider at any time during the 3 year period”.

How is it inserted?

Nexplanon is placed in your arm. During the process, your skin is numbed in that area. The applicator guides Nexplanon under the skin of your arm. It is considered a minor surgical procedure.

Why did I get it?

I have always had horrible periods from the moment I started getting them in middle school. They were irregular and came every few months, and never when I expected. The cramps kept me home from school, and I often fainted or puked from the pain. Finally, I was tired of it. I made an appointment at my local family health center, filled out the paperwork, and within a month I was on the pill. The first period I got after being on it felt like it was from heaven itself. Very small cramps, and it came right on the day the pills said it would. Over the next 3 years, my period become 100% regular and cramps all but disappeared. The only problem- I kept forgetting to take the pill. I set alarms, put it in my purse, and had friends remind me, but I still missed it.

So, I decided to try a new method. I considered all my options and finally decided on Nexplanon. What convinced me what the longevity of it, and that after being inserted, I didn’t have to think about it for 3 years. I also had several friends who recommended it.

How did I get it?

I am fortunate to get my birth control for free through a local health clinic, so all I had to do was make an appointment, fill out some paper work, and show up.

I feel like the scariest thing to people about this method is the idea of something getting inserted into your arm- and as someone who faints when she gets blood drawn, I agree. But the process wasn’t bad at all. You are given a numbing shot (which is painful but very necessary) and then the actual implant is put in. Because of the numbing shot, I felt no pain, and the whole insertion took 30 seconds. I was then bandaged up, and sent on my way. That easy!

What happens after its inserted?

The next day, I had some intense bruising on my upper arm and I was sore, but nothing too bad. I also got my period- which is a normal side affect. This period lasted about 2 weeks- again, normal. The bruises lasted for about a month, but it was only sore for about a week.

I’ve had it now for about 3 months, and am really happy with it! Not having to think about taking a pill every day is so nice. I do have spotting off and on and my doctor said that’s common for the first six months. So that is annoying, but nothing serious.

Can you feel it?

Perhaps the most common question I get asked when people find out I have it, is if I can feel it in my arm. And yes, if you press down on your upper arm where it is inserted, you can feel the tiny little rod. Which makes me slightly queasy, so I don’t do it. But unless you are trying to feel it, you totally forget it's there.

Final thoughts

Overall, I highly recommend. Of course, everyone is different, so make sure to talk to your doctor about all your concerns before hand. There are also a ton of great resources and reviews online to consider!