What are the pros and cons of the contraceptive implant?

Monday, 11 August 2014

When it comes to contraceptive devices, the pill and IUD are often the first to spring to mind. The contraceptive implant has been becoming more popular and I would like to know your opinion on it? Would you recommend this form of contraception over the more well known ones in terms of cost, effectiveness and possible side effects?


Dr Graham Duncombe from Skin, Body & Health Renewal responds:

“The contraceptive implant is an interesting development. It involves placing a small tube underneath the skin of the upper arm. Some doctors may use some anesthetic to make it more comfortable, but it isn’t a painful procedure really. Patients describe it as having an injection. The device contains a progesterone type contraceptive and lasts up to 3 years before it is depleted. It can result in disappearance of your monthly cycle, but this will return after removal of the implant. The implant carries the following benefits over the oral combined contraceptives: it is more effective and reliable (99%); it is more convenient and doesn’t carry the risk of forgotten pills; it doesn’t interact with antibiotics or gastroenteritis; it doesn’t carry the risk of migraines or deep venous blood clots; it carries less risk of weight gain and pigmentation and it can be used right up until the menopause.

It has the follow benefits over the intra-uterine contraceptives: it is more convenient to place; there is no danger of the implant falling out unnoticed and it has less danger of secondary infection.

It has the following benefits over the injectable contraceptives: it lasts for longer once placed and it wears off sooner once removed.

The only real downside of this form of contraception is the cost, although our National Health is to provide this service free of charge to State patients shortly. It may also be more painful to remove again at the end of its use.”

Best regards
Dr Graham

Do you have a health-related question for Dr Duncombe? Ask him here.

Other articles you may be interested in:
What are the benefits of the IUD birth control method?
The HPV virus – what you need to know
How can I treat my PMS?
Choosing the sanitary protection that’s right for you
Can you tell me more about the HPV vaccine?

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  1. Joey

    This is very interesting, and definitely something to take into consideration. Thanks for this article!

    3 years ago •

  1. Hess

    If it wears off sooner once removed, that is a huge plus point to the other added medical benefits, might be worth the cost.

    4 years ago •

  1. Mpotseng Moloi

    I had mine inserted mine free of charge at a local clinic, besides the nausea I sometimes get there aren’t any other complications.

    4 years ago •

  1. Nickay Heyman

    Thanks for the clarity on this matter, I had a lot of fear based on this.

    4 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    Wow, this sounds really promising. I wouldn’t mind chatting to my GP about it because I don’t enjoy having to take the pill, plus the 3 month injections wreck my body.

    4 years ago •

  1. Mark Parr

    Great idea, far better than the pill with no worries.

    4 years ago •

  1. Kariwo

    Other than state hospitals, where else can one get this implant? Will a private nurse or doctor be able to do it?

    4 years ago •

    1. BeautySouthAfrica

      Hi Kariwo, this you need to confirm with your GP. He/She would be able to provide you with a list of where you can get the implant in your area.

      4 years ago •

  1. anisha

    Sounds interesting! Much more convenient than the pill. Could this be the answer to curb SA’s population explosion? I say YES!

    4 years ago •

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