established itself as one of the most reliable and at the same time the most unavailable contraceptive on the western market due to some really severe side effects known today.
This contraceptive is a birth control arm implant – very effective, lasts for maximum of 5 years and could be reversed any time.
Norplant implant is approved for distribution in over 50 countries; however it is not available in the United States or Canada. As a long-acting, low-maintenance method, Norplant is very popular and widely available in Latin America and Asia.
Norplant implant is very similar to Implanon, which consists of one flexible, thin rod filled with levonorgestrel (synthetic progestrogen). However, Norplant contains six similar capsules. Capsules are inserted in the fan like shape under woman’s skin in the upper inner arm. The effectiveness of this implant is 99.5%.
With Norplant, birth control protection is almost equal to sterilization, but it is reversible in case a woman changes her mind. After the insertion, it is recommended to refrain from sexual activity for at least 24 hours. This is how long it takes for the device to start working.
The mechanism of Norplant is complex. In simple words it prevents ovulation, thins uterus lining and thickens cervical mucus, to prevent the sperm to successfully to reach the egg. This birth control implant can be used by women that already reached fertility and want to avoid pregnancy. Heavier women that are over 160 lbs might have slightly higher chances to get pregnant while on the implant. Norplant is mostly suitable for women that cannot use birth control methods containing estrogen, need long term contraception, and do not want to be sterilized. If the potential Norplant user has any thrombotic disorders or blood clots, they should refrain from using this contraception and contact the doctor for possible alternatives.
Norplant frequently causes menstrual irregularities. This is the least liked factor amongst women and the main factor of discontinuing the device. Some women do not like the fact that they cannot insert and remove the device themselves. Trip to the doctor is mandatory as local anesthesia is required.
Five main factors why women discontinue to use Norplant are:
- Spotting ~ 17.4%
- Headache ~ 1.9%
- Weight change ~ 1.7%
- Mood change ~ 1.1%
- Depression ~ 0.9%
The benefit of Norplant is its convenience, effectiveness and reversibility.
Once the woman considered all the options and decided to go with Norplant, the first thing that should be done is schedule the visit to the doctor for a full physical examination and pelvic exam. The check up is important, it will reassure the doctor and yourself that Norplant is safe for you to use, as well as to make sure that you are not pregnant. The procedure is always performed by specially trained health care professionals. Not all clinics perform the insertion. A woman who is interested in getting the device should make sure that the practitioner is licensed.
One of the best way to see the full procedure of inserting Norplant capsules in pictures is available in Google Images. Below, as a « preview only », you can see these excellent images, they also can be found at the source of remarkable www.sciencephoto.com.
The procedure starts with local anesthetic shot in the upper arm area. Then, the practitioner makes a small cut. Implants are inserted under the skin one by one in the shape of a fan. The whole procedure takes about fifteen to twenty minutes. After the procedure, you may encounter some tenderness or bruising, which might last couple of days. In the first few days the Norplant user should be very careful not to bump the area with the implant and it should be kept dry for at least three days. Once the implant is inserted it should be barely visible and it should not move. If it does move, contact the health care provider, as it could be potentially difficult to remove. It is recommended to get your first follow up after three months of the insertion, and then regular yearly check ups would be enough.
When it is time to remove Norplant, be it is end of the 5th year, medical or personal reason, a woman should make another appointment for the removal. The removal procedure is almost the same as the insertion, but might take a bit more time. Once Norplant is removed, the contraceptive action stops after couple of days.
SIDE EFFECTS AND WARNINGS
Norplant as any other medications has side effects. The most common side effect which disturbs approximately 80% of Norplant users is irregular bleeding. A woman may experience longer periods, spotting between periods, or no bleeding at all for several months. Women may also experience headache, dizziness, nervousness, acne, increase in appetite, anxiety, weight change, breast tenderness, hair loss or nausea and vomiting. These side effects should diminish within the first six months to a year. Women with preexisting conditions such as diabetes should be carefully monitored. Other warning signs due to Norplant implant that women might encounter and should report to the health care practitioner right away, include:
- Expulsion of the implant (very rare but happens)
- Blurred vision
- Pus, arm pain or bleeding at the insertion area
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Severe crams
Although there is a very slight chance for pregnancy, but if it does happen, Norplant should be removed immediately. Moreover, women that use Norplant should keep in mind that certain medications such as drugs for epilepsy, drugs for rheumatoid conditions, or antibiotics make the Implant less effective.