Hormonal Contraceptives And Cancer
Breast cancer has been found slightly more often in women using oral combined pills, but it is not known whether this is caused by the treatment. For example, it may be that tumours are found more in women on combined pills, because they are examined by the doctor more often. This slight increase in the numbers of breast cancer diagnoses gradually disappears during the course of the 10 years after stopping use of the Pill.
It is important to regularly check your breasts and you should contact your doctor if you feel any lump in your breasts.
You should also tell your doctor if a close relative has or ever had breast cancer.
In rare cases, benign and even more rarely malignant liver tumours have been reported in women using the Pill.
If you experience severe abdominal pain, you should contact your doctor immediately.
This information has been obtained in studies with women who daily take an oral combined contraceptive Pill. It is not known whether these observations are also applicable to women who use a different hormonal contraceptive, such as implants containing only a progestagen.
Where Can I Get A Contraceptive Implant Fitted Or Removed
You can get the contraceptive implant for free, even if youre under 16, from:
- contraception clinics
- sexual health or genitourinary medicine clinics
- GP surgeries
- some young peoples services
Some GPs or practice nurses are able to fit and remove implants, so youll need to check at your GP surgery.
Alternatively, most sexual health clinics will be able to do this for you.
Birth Control Implants Prevent Pregnancy By Delivering Hormones To The Blood Stream
A birth control implant in its natural habitat, the arm
Gynecologists typically use a birth control implant called Nexplanon, which is manufactured by pharmaceutical company Merck. Some also will use an older version of the implant called Implanon, the main difference between the two is that Nexplanon is manufactured to show up in x-rays. Implanon isn’t.
Both of the implants contain 68 milligrams of etonogestrel that slowly get released during the device’s three-year lifespan. This is actually the same hormone used in other contraceptives like Nuvaring, a contraceptive ring inserted into the vagina.
The etonogesterel hormone makes the uterus a really sad, difficult place for a sperm to even get to or, if a sperm does make it there, for it to fertilize an egg and create an embryo.
“Because of the etonogesterel the cervical mucus gets thick and the lining of the uterus gets thin, which makes a fertilized egg not excited about implanting there,” Rabin says .”Think about if you were a fertilized seed pod and you were looking for a place to settle to grow into a plant.”
Landing in the uterus of an implant user is akin, as Rabin puts it, “to landing on a rock rather than soil.”
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Myth: Getting An Implant Is Painful And Could Cause Infection
Some women who seek family planning believe that the insertion of implants requires surgery or that insertion is painful and causes infection. They may also have misconceptions about the removal of implants.
Fact: No stitches, no noticeable scar, and it can be removed at any time
Health professionals with specific training perform a minor surgical procedure to insert implants. The provider gives the patient an injection of local anesthetic under the skin of her arm to prevent pain while the implants are inserted. This injection may sting. The woman remains fully awake during the procedure. Insertion takes an average of 4 to 5 minutes for Norplant, 2.5 minutes for Jadelle, and 1.5 minutes for Implanon. Insertion can take more or less time, depending on the skill of the provider.
The incision is small and stitches are not required. In most cases, insertion does not leave a noticeable scar. Once inserted, the outline of the implants underneath the skin can be felt and sometimes seen. The woman may have bruising and feel pain or soreness for a few days afterward.
Infection at the insertion site can occur, but is uncommon. When infection occurs, it is usually within the first two months after insertion. In rare cases, implants may start to come out of the skin. When this occurs, it is usually due to improper insertion or infection.
What Are Other Common Side Effects And Should I Be Worried
Weight gain following implant insertion is commonly reported and often a major concern for women thinking of getting the implant. However, there is no scientific evidence suggesting a causal relationship between the two.7 It is different for every person, and unfortunately you cannot predict how your weight will be affected as lots of other factors, such as diet, lifestyle, genetic predisposition, and other medical conditions play a role as well.
Some women complain of worsening of acne following insertion of the implant. This may be due to change of the oestrogen to progestogen balance in the body. Progestogen is known to increase the production of sebum , and this, in excess, may block hair follicles, leading to acne. Contradictory to this theory, however, is that some people report their acne improving after insertion of the implant.8 If acne or weight gain is causing you distress and you believe it is linked to the implant, then visit your doctor to discuss your options.
How Effective Is The Birth Control Implant
Hormonal implants work more than 99% of the time. How do they stack up to other birth control methods?
- Intrauterine devices are also 99% effective.
- Birth control injections are 94% effective.
- The pill is 91% effective.
But none of these methods protect you from sexually transmitted diseases . Only condoms prevent STDs.
Risks & Side Effects Of Nexplanon
Nexplanon can have side effects, and the most common one is a changing menstrual bleeding pattern. One out of ten women may have to stop using Nexplanon because of this change.
A woman can experience spotting between menstrual cycles, different time periods in between the cycles. There can be times when there are no regular gaps, shorter or longer cycles, or no bleeding at the time of the period. Women must tell their healthcare provider if they think they are pregnant or if the bleeding goes on long and heavy.
Other side effects of Nexplanon can be:
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Advantage Of Using Nexplanon
Nexplanon is convenient and effective as it is a one-time use method that needs to be replaced in 3-5 years.
- It is 99% effective and long-term protection against pregnancy. It works as well as IUDs and sterilization. There can be no errors in the use, and there are no repercussions like the pill if you forget to take it.
- The implant is private and convenient. Once its inside, you dont have to think about it and it will work until expiration or removal. This also means that there is no pill to take daily or a ring to put, no trips to the pharmacy for contraception, and you can have sex any time you want. The implant is not visible against the skin, so no one needs to know you are on it, keeping your privacy intact.
- Nexplanon has only one hormone in it, whereas many hormonal birth control devices and methods use two hormones estrogen and progestin. Some women with health issues cannot use estrogen. So, they can freely use Nexplanon as it is estrogen-free.
- These implants can make the menstrual cycle better for women. Nexplanon helps in reducing period cramps and pain. The periods one does get is also quite light, and one-third of the users stop getting the period after one year.
- Fertility is not affected if you remove this implant. Women can get pregnant again after removing the implant. It is a reversible birth control method. It is very much possible that the woman gets pregnant as soon as the implant is out.
How Can I Get My Nexplanon Removed
How to Remove Nexplanon Method 1 of 3: Deciding When to Remove the Implant. Check your user card to determine when the implant should be removed. Method 2 of 3: Having the Procedure Done. Allow your healthcare provider to palpate your arm to locate the implant. Method 3 of 3: Avoiding Complications after Nexplanon Removal. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.
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Are There Side Effects
Most birth control medications have side effects, though theyâre different for each woman.
Both the pill and the rod could cause:
- Changes in your period
- No period
The pill also could cause rare but more serious problems like blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. These are more common in smokers and women over 35.
Nexplanon also seems to cause acne and hair loss in some women. Talk to your doctor if you notice these side effects.
Are There Any Side Effects From Implantable Contraception
Contraceptive implants can sometimes cause such side effects as:
Some of these side effects may go away after a few months.
Sometimes there can be irritation, infection, or scarring where the tube was placed.
Implantable contraception increases the risk of blood clots. Blood clots can lead to serious problems with the lungs, heart, and brain. Smoking cigarettes while using the implant can increase the risk of blood clots. Don’t smoke if you use implantable contraception or another form of hormonal birth control.
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What Are The Side
Most side-effects caused by the contraceptive implant occur when you first start using the implant. They are not usually severe.
The most common side-effects are:
- Changes in your periods .
- Fluid retention and breast tenderness.
- Acne: your skin may temporarily worsen, although it can also improve.
- Itching or bruising after implant insertion.
The contraceptive implant does not cause ‘thinning’ of your bones . It does not usually cause altered sex drive , but some women who have experienced other side-effects also say that their sex drive was reduced.
Other symptoms, including mood swings or low mood, weight gain and breast tenderness, are commonly described. However, the evidence that they are caused by the contraceptive implant is very unclear, as they seem to occur equally commonly in women using non-hormonal methods of contraception.
Is The Birth Control Implant Right For Me
The implant is a great option for women who want long-acting, reversible birth control that they dont need to think about every day, Dr. Brant says. Unlike the IUD, it doesnt require a pelvic exam or vaginal procedure, which is a plus for many women.
The implant can also be used immediately after giving birth and while breastfeeding, making it a good choice for moms who have their hands full.
So while you can certainly keep chanting NOBABYNOBABY, you can also rest assured that with a birth control implant, youre in good hands.
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What Will I Notice
You will be able to feel the implant under your skin.
Your period might change. You might bleed very often or not often at all, or have light but persistent bleeding. Or you could have a normal period or no period at all.
This is all safe for your body. If your bleeding becomes a problem, there are pills you can take that will help.
How Is A Contraceptive Implant Removed
Implants must be removed after three years. They can also be removed earlier if you wish. You need to make an appointment with your doctor to have the implant removed.
To remove the implant, your doctor will first numb your arm. Then theyll make a small incision where the implant is located and take the implant out. At that time, another implant can be inserted. If you choose not to get a new implant, you must use another form of contraception to prevent pregnancy.
One reason the birth control implant is so effective is that its easy to use. Advantages include:
- one of the highest levels of effectiveness of all contraceptives
- no need to worry about birth control for three years
- fertility returns as soon as the implant is removed
- appropriate for women who cant use birth control that contains estrogen
All of these methods are highly effective. You dont need to think about birth control on a daily or even monthly basis with any of these options. However, none of these methods protect against STIs.
The biggest difference between these methods is how long theyre effective. The Depo-Provera shot needs to be given every three months. The contraceptive implant works for three years. Hormonal IUDs are effective for three-to-five years, depending on the brand. Copper IUDs can be effective for up to 10 years.
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Are There Any Risks From Using The Contraceptive Implant
Women who use some forms of hormone-based contraception appear to have a small increase in long-term risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who don’t use hormonal contraception. It is not known if this is also true of the contraceptive implant.
Apart from bruising and soreness, it is possible, although very unusual, to get a localised infection in your arm when the implant is put in. Insertion of the implant can leave a small scar.
It is important to be able to feel the implant under the skin after insertion. There is a small risk of insertion error in which the implant is not actually inserted by the procedure.
When It Starts To Work
You can have the implant put in at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant.
If the implant is fitted during the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, you’ll be immediately protected against becoming pregnant.
If it’s fitted on any other day of your menstrual cycle, you’ll need to use additional contraception for 7 days.
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Because I Have Epilepsy I Need To Be Careful About My Birth Control Methods
I got the Nexplanon implant in August of 2016. Before I got Nexplanon, I tried the Mirena . I had that for about a year or so until I started experiencing cramping every single day. It was just as bad, if not worse, than my menstruation cramps. Nothing was wrong with the IUD, its placement, nor did I have any cysts my body just didn’t like the IUD in it after a year.
Because I have epilepsy, I need to be careful about my birth control methods. I didn’t want to do depo shots since that would require regular visits to a doctor that I wouldn’t be able to afford. I chose Nexplanon for how long it lasted, and how it wouldn’t interact with my antiepileptic medication.
My experience with Nexplanon has been fantastic. Its insertion was relatively painless, especially compared to that of an IUD. It stopped my menstrual cycle , which I cannot be more happy about. During my menstrual cycle, not only is the cramping intense, but my mental illnesses and gender dysphoria get worse. After I had the Nexplanon put in, I experienced a lot less of that. Before I had it inserted, I was worried it would not work out for me just like the IUD, and that it would move. In the two years I’ve had it, I’ve experienced nothing but positive side-effects.
My options for contraception as an epileptic are limited. Out of all the forms of contraception I know of, it appears to be the best for me short of tubal ligation. The only reason I would have it removed is to have a child, or to get a new one put in.
How An Etonogestrel Implant Is Inserted
- Before you are given the implant you will be asked to read the printed information leaflet from the implant package. The manufacturers leaflet will give you important information about the implant and will provide a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from it. If, as a result of reading the leaflet, you have any questions, please discuss them with your doctor/nurse before you have the implant.
- The implant will be inserted for you by a person who has been specially trained. A check will be made to ensure it is inserted correctly. Once this is confirmed, it is effective straightaway.
- The implant is usually first inserted within five days of a period starting, to ensure that you are not pregnant. It will be put in the inner side of your upper arm. You will be given an injection of local anaesthetic to numb your skin, and a special needle will be used to put the implant in place. The area around the implant may be bruised and sore for a few days, but the wound will soon heal just like any other small cut.
- You will be given a User Card which contains some details for you to keep. This will note the date the implant was inserted and will give a suggested date for it to be removed/replaced.
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What Are The Disadvantages
- You might have irregular periods or periods that last longer. This is quite common in the first 6 months but it can last as long as you use the implant. This can be annoying, but its not harmful and the implant will still work. If the bleeding is a problem, you can get pills to help.
- You might have a sore or bruised arm after the implant is put in or taken out. There is a small risk of infection
- Sometimes its not easy for the nurse or doctor to find the implant and you might have to see someone else to take it out.