*All opinions and experiences are my own in this post. Everyones bodies react differently to different contraceptions. What might work for me, might not work for you. This is just what has happened to me personally.*
Back in 2012 I got my ‘first real boyfriend’ and along with that came the serious ‘birds and bees talk’ from my mother. All you girls must know what I’m talking about. The type of talk that makes every bone in your body tense up and shudder at the same time.
“Megan, if you’re planning on having sex, I want you to be protected.” “Oh my god mum shut up!” is pretty much how I remember it going. Nevertheless, she was right. I didn’t really trust the internet when I was deciding what type of contraception I was going to use. I can’t speak for everyone else school experience but this was the time I remember every girl in my year, or at least the ones I knew, began to use some form of contraception. Again, I didn’t really trust the opinions of 14/15 year old girls either, because girls like to talk a lot of shit at that age.
I decided a trip to the doctors was needed. I was handed leaflet after leaflet on the different types of contraception there is and I remember feeling quite overwhelmed as to all the options I could chose from. I went home and decided to have a good read of everything and to make a well thought out decision. At the end of the day I was putting chemicals into my body to indefinitely stop my reproductive system, I wanted to make the smartest choice.
The basic types of contraception you can get at the minute are:
-Contraceptive Implant (lasts for up to 3 years)
-Intrauterine Device or IUD (also known as the coil, lasts for up to 5-10 years)
-Contraceptive Injection (renewed every 8-12 weeks, depending on the type)
-Combined Pill (renewed each week for 3 weeks out of the month, taken daily)
-Progestogen-only Pill (taken everyday)
-Contraceptive Patch (renewed each week for 3 weeks out of the month)
-Vaginal Ring (renewed once a month)
Then there is the obvious things like male and female condoms but I feel like everyone knows what they are. Out of the list I have used 3/7 but because I’ve only really had a really long and consistent relationship with one, its only really liable for me to talk about that one. After much research, I decided I would have the implant fitted.
The actual procedure:
I went into the ‘minor surgery’ room quite blindly because at the time I had such a fear of needles. If you didn’t know, this type of contraception involves a bendy tube approximately the size of a bobby pin being inserted in the upper part of the arm, under the skin. You need to have one needle to completely numb the upper arm then another to numb the actual part where the implant goes. I never seem to have the best of luck when it comes to nurses/doctors and needles but then again I wouldn’t even have the balls to do what they do so I can’t judge. The first needle was the worst part of it all. She kind of slipped while placing it into my arm which caused it to go a little deeper it needed to, which caused me to scream a little. After about 2/3 minutes of rubbing the area, I started to lose feeling, which is when they placed the next needle in, luckily I didn’t feel that part. Then the doctor made a small incision just big enough for the implant to slip into. They then bandage you up and send you on your way. After 24 hours you will be left with a horrific bruise the size of a pear, but that fades. You will be left with a scar but its only visible if you’re actually really close to the skin and you’re looking for it. The doctors also give you a card with the date you got your implant put in, and when you need to have it taken out. Its also good to have this if you enjoy travelling and security decide to stop you, you have proof of what is inside you if it shows up on any scans or X-rays. I don’t have any photos from when I had the 2nd and 3rd implant put in unfortunately. They were the ones that bruised the worst, but I do have the photos from the first one which is still rather grim.
How my 3 years went:
I actually ended up using the implant for the whole time you are allowed to have it for. At the beginning it made my periods last daily. I’m not talking about light bleed either, I’m talking about a normal/heavy flow daily. I went back to the doctors who told me to take the combined pill to ease the periods. It actually ended up stopping them completely. I won’t lie that part totally freaked me out but when my doctor told me it was a lot more common that people think, three years without a period was a gift from god. I could wear white whenever I wanted and never had to worry about planning certain activities like swimming around my period. It came with some downsides too though. Although the physical bleeding stopped, the mood swings were the worst they had ever been. I felt like everything would bug me and everything felt heightened the more I decided to keep it in. Luckily for me everyone around me knew that it was the implant talking and not me, although that doesn’t justify it, it helped.
What happened afterwards:
After the three years was up, I made my appointment to have the implant removed. Its the same procedure as before but they’re just taking it out instead of putting one in, unless you wanted another one put In. I decided to have another one put in as its what my body had grown accustom to and I knew it worked for me. Boy was I wrong. In the three years I had it, they decided to do a few changes to it to “improve it” but it ended up having a bad effect on my body. My right boob (it was the right one because they put it in the arm that you don’t write with, so because I’m a leftie it had to go in my right arm) became so tender to touch I was crying at the thought of having to put a bra on. If anyone accidentally brushed against my boob, I would almost feel like I was going to vomit it hurt that bad. It made me bloat at the thought of food or drink and it would make me just feel very sluggish. Oh and the crying, I WOULD CRY AT EVERYTHING. Granted I’m a very emotion person anyway, this took it to the next level. Turns out the doctor who had put it in, had actually placed it in wrong and it took 25 minutes and two doctures and nurses to try and cut it out from my arm.
This is the scar I have been left with after having three implants put in. Quite small and insignificant. I only really notice it if I’m cold and my skin turns blue/red.
Pros and Cons:
Pro- You don’t have to worry about taking something on time every single day, it’s always there and always working.
Con- It feels weird to touch. I know you aren’t meant to touch it but if you brush your hand over it and forget its there its quite freaky. I don’t know if this is just me but when I’m cold I can feel it tingle a little.
Pro- It can stop your periods indefinitely which makes life a little easier.
Con- You could bleed like you’re opening the bloody flood gates of hell
Pro- Because it lasts three years you don’t have to worry about having too keep picking up prescriptions each week or month.
Con- It can make you fat. It can make you feel fat and literally fat.
Currently I’m back on the implant after taking a little break from all forms of contraception and experimenting with other types. Currently, its going really well just like the first one I had put in, but cause I little bit of soreness in my boob again. Overall if you’re looking for a type of contraception that you don’t have to worry about and is covering you 24/7 then this would be the best way to go. Ive known people who have this implant and swear by it, and others that have had the worst experience with it. I’d love to hear of your personal experiences with this type of contraception, or even any type of contraception good or bad. Hopefully this helps anyone who is still undecided on what to use.
Megan Rose Wing