The first type is the insertion of the small rod like device into your upper arm, such as Implanon or Jadelle. The very first contraceptive implant was Norplant. It used 6 rods, and had to be implanted really deep into the skin. Due to the complications and severe side effects, it was withdrawn from the market in the U.S. Jadelle, or Norplant II is also no longer approved by the States. In the year 2006, Implanon was introduced to the market. As opposed to Norplant, Implanon uses only one rod, which is implanted not too deep. The whole procedure is done under the local anesthesia and takes about 20 minutes. Once the device is set in, it starts releasing small doses of the hormone progestin into the bloodstream. Progestin prevents the ovary from releasing eggs and the cervical mucus is turned into hard substance, where the sperm cannot swim. This type of birth control method is good for the maximum period of three years.
The second type is when the device is inserted into the uterus, so called the intrauterine device – IUD. IUDs could also be divided into two subcategories: the device that contains progestrogen (Mirena) and the device that contains copper (Paragard or Copper T). All types of IUDs should be implanted by specifically trained health professionals. The intrauterine device is a small ‘T-shaped’ tube, with two thin rods attached to the base. The contraceptive action starts once the IUD is inserted and stops as soon as it is removed. This birth control method does not increase the risk of infertility. However, it does increase the chance of the ectopic pregnancy or miscarriages.
Progestin releasing IUD, such as Mirena, can stay in the uterus for the period of maximum of five years. Levonorgestrel (the synthetic progestrogen) weakens the sperm, thus prevents unwanted conception. This type of contraception not only prevents pregnancy, but it was also approved as a treatment for women with heavy menstrual cycles. The disadvantage of particular IUDs is irregular bleeding and spotting during the first six months.
Copper releasing IUD, such as Paragard, has longer expiry date for the maximum of 10 years. Instead of releasing progestrogen, this device releases copper ions. Copper ions are toxic to the sperm, thus it never reaches the egg. This type of IUD can cause cramps, spotting; periods could be heavier and longer for the first few months.
The drawback for all IUDs is the expulsion. The device could be accidentally expelled from the uterus without you realizing it, thus causing pregnancy. The expulsion usually happens during menstrual cycles or when the device is inserted right after childbirth. Therefore, strings should always be checked within the first three months.
Most common contraceptive implants in general are very safe. They are the least expensive contraceptive methods over the long term. The device is 99% effective in preventing pregnancies. However, be aware, that none of these implants will prevent you from sexually transmitted diseases – STD.