Arm Yourself!!! 3 Years of Match Stick Size Protection!

Hi Shawna,

I am not really into the idea of having something inside my uterus (IUD). I heard about something called the Implanon. What’s that all about?


Yay! Another good question!!!

The Implanon/Nexplanon is one of New Generation Health Center’s (NGHC) favorite methods of birth control because it is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC).  What does that mean?  It means that it is a very effective birth control method that lasts a long time and is not permanent (meaning once the method is removed or stopped, a woman can get pregnant again).

I refer to it as the Implanon/Nexplanon because soon the Implanon will be replaced by the Nexplanon.  It’s really not that different other than the company made some changes to the actual inserter so that it is easier for a clinician to insert.  Oh, and the Nexplanon is able to be seen with x-ray (cool huh?).

What is the Implanon/Nexplanon?

The Implanon/Nexplanon is a small (about the size of a match stick) piece of plastic that is inserted on the inside of the upper arm (private and protected).  It sits above the muscle but underneath the skin and once placed,  can be felt if touched,  but not seen.

How does it work?

It works by releasing a hormone that prevents ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary).  No egg means no pregnancy!  In fact, it is more than 99% effective!!!

How long does it last?

The Implanon/Nexplanon works for up to 3 years!!!  However,  if you wanted it removed earlier for whatever reason that can totally be done.  But seriously, how cool is it not to worry about getting pregnant for 3 years at a time?!?!

How is it inserted? Removed?

The Implanon/Nexplanon can only be inserted and removed by a clinician.  A small cut is made to both insert and remove the device.  Don’t worry though,  the cut is super small (about the size of a larger freckle) and your arm is numbed first (after the numbing,  you don’t feel any pain with the insertion or removal).  The whole process only takes a few minutes.

The Implanon/Nexplanon sounds awesome. What are the not so great things about it?

Many women who use the Implanon/Nexplanon LOVE it but the most common issue is with irregular bleeding, especially the first 6 – 12 months of use.  You may experience longer or shorter bleeding during your periods or have no bleeding at all.  The time between periods may vary,  and in between periods you may also have spotting.  This is not unusual or dangerous and it won’t keep you from getting pregnant in the future.

For some women,  irregular bleeding is no big deal,  especially if they have irregular bleeding to begin with.  Many women use panty liners or make sure to always carry pads or tampons with them.  For other women,  not knowing when they will be bleeding can be super annoying.

There are some other possible side effects but they are rare.  It is best to discuss those with your clinician.

It’s also important to note that as cool as the Implanon/Nexplanon is,  it does NOT protect against STD’s or HIV.  If that is a concern,  condoms should also be used (can’t go wrong with double protection!).

Where can I get one?

From us here at New Generation Health Center!!!!  We insert them all the time.  Our clinicians are very experienced and will make sure the insertion goes as easily as possible.

If you are not from the Bay Area,  ask your doctor or visit your local Planned Parenthood!

To sum things up:

The Awesomeness:

  • Total convenience – 3 years of not having to hassle with remembering to use your method or deal with the pharmacy.
  • Lasts for a long time – 3 years!!! You can have the old one removed and a new one put in if you want.
  • Once placed, no one can see it or has to know you are using it.
  • Super effective (means it works really well).
  • Easy to insert and to remove.

The Not so Awesome:

  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV.
  • Bleeding can be unpredictable and irregular.
  • It can only be inserted and removed by a clinician.

The Implanon/Nexplanon is so awesome that even boyfriends like it! Check out AJ’s story!  He and his girlfriend are stoked about it!

In health & happiness,


Reviewed by Andrea Raider, NP

2 thoughts on “Arm Yourself!!! 3 Years of Match Stick Size Protection!

  1. Pingback: LARC? What the heck is that?? | Ask Shawna

  2. Pingback: Period pain? Birth control can help! | Ask Shawna

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