Implanon (implant)

What is it?

Implanon is a soft rod-shaped implant (4cm x 2mm) that's made from a hormone called progestogen.

A doctor inserts it under the skin on the inner side of the upper arm.

You can feel the rod, but usually can't see it.

How does it work?

It will stop your body from releasing an egg (ovum) each month.

It will make the fluid at the opening to your womb (uterus) thicker, stopping sperm from getting through.

It will stop an egg from sticking to the inside of your womb.

How well does it work?

Implanon is more than 99.9% effective.

What are the pros?

Once Implanon has been put in, it lasts for 3 years.

In most cases, it's easily taken out by a doctor.

You will have about a 25% chance of having no periods at all. If you do have periods, they will usually be less painful.

Once Implanon has been taken out, your chance of getting pregnant will quickly go back to normal.

Diarrhoea and vomiting won't stop it from working.

It might be a good option for you if you can't take the pill.

What are the cons?

You might have your period more often or at odd times, bleed between periods or have no periods at all.

You might put on weight or have sore breasts, headaches, bloating, mood swings or changes to your skin.

Implanon won't protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

Other facts you should know

A doctor uses local anaesthetic to put Implanon in and take it out.

You will need to make sure you're not pregnant before starting Implanon.

Some medications, like the ones used to treat epilepsy, and the natural remedy St John's Wort, might stop it from working.

More information

  • Click here to access our fact sheets on the contraceptive implant and other long acting methods of reversible contraception