Ever wondered what it’s like to have the contraceptive injection (Depot Provera) or the contraceptive implant (Nexplanon)? Here at SexEd we’ve decided to share our personal experiences so that you have all the information you need before making your decision!
One of us at SexEd recently had a new implant fitted after having one in for three years (the maximum time for Nexplanon) so we’re going to share our experience from booking our appointment to actually having it fitted!
So, 3 years ago after entering a long-term relationship I decided that I wanted to get a long-lasting method of contraception. Doing a degree in Sexual Health I am aware that there are a number of long-lasting contraceptives such as Implant, Injection, IUD and IUS. I did extensive research into all the methods (and paid extra attention in my contraceptive module) to make sure I chose the method that was right for me. I can’t remember much about my first experience, therefore I’ll concentrate more on the second time round.
My implant was due out June 2017 however, due to their sometimes being a long wait at sexual health services I rang early May 2017 to ensure I was seen with enough time to keep me covered from unplanned pregnancy. They offered me an appointment 3 weeks after the date I rang which was convenient as there would still be two weeks before its actual expiry date (having the implant changed before it is due to come out ensures that I am protected against unwanted pregnancy because there has not been a period where I haven’t been on a contraceptive).
On the day:
On the day my appointment was booked for 2:30pm, I arrived at around 2:25pm and sat in the waiting room anxiously awaiting my name being called. I had heard many horror stories throughout my time volunteering and working within sexual health so I was extremely nervous. I took my boyfriend along (partly so I could make him see what women have to go through) so that he could keep my mind preoccupied. I was called in to see the doctor at around 2:50/2:55pm which was not long considering the first time I had to wait over an hour (I’d recommend that you make an appointment if you don’t like waiting around). On entering the room I was greeted by a doctor and a healthcare assistant (HCA). The HCA got the bed and the equipment ready whilst the doctor asked me a number of questions including:
- What could he do for me today?
- How had I found the implant?
- When was it due out?
- Have previously been pregnant?
- How tall are you?
- What do you weigh?
- Any history of diabetes in the family?
- Any history of breast cancer in the family?
- Any history of blood clots in the family?
- Have you been suffering with headaches or migraines?
He then went on to explain that I would be covered from unplanned pregnancy because I was having the implant changed before it was due to expire, he said that if I hadn’t then I would have needed to take extra precautions.
He then led me over to the bed where I was asked to lie as close to the wall as possible and put my arm up with my hand under my head. He talked through what he was going to do. Firstly he would inject anesthetic into the area which he explained would be the most painful part of the procedure, once he had injected the anesthetic he would wait a couple of minutes for the anesthetic to work, he would then make a small incision and remove the old implant, once this was done he would insert the new implant into the same hole. ‘One in one out’ as the doctor described it.
Once he had talked me through the procedure he asked me was I OK and told me he would begin. I faced away from the doctor and looked at the wall throughout the procedure (as I did the first time too). He started by inserting the anesthetic, this was the most painful part; it feels like you’re being stung. Once he had done this he waited a couple of minutes, he then went on to prod my arm and ask if I could feel it, which I could so he waited another minute then asked me again. He then began the procedure, he started by making a small incision at the end of where my implant was, he then pulled the old implant out. Once he had done this he used a special machine to insert a new implant. When he had done this he covered the wound in small strips of tape in order to keep the wound closed he then covered the whole thing with a plaster. He then asked me if I was feeling OK and said I could get up when I was ready and make my way over to his desk.
Once we were sat back at his desk he advised me to keep the wound/plaster dry for 2 days, he explained what I mentioned earlier about being protected from pregnancy and went on to ask if I had any further questions. The whole experience took around 20/25 minutes which I wasn’t expecting as a friend told me she was in there 45 minutes! However, I found the whole experience pleasant, the doctor and HCA were nice and happy to ask any questions.
The days after:
Sleeping that night was a challenge as I often sleep with my head rested on my arm near my implant however, I had to find a new position as it was a little tender. The next day I
wondered how on earth I was going to keep my arm dry in the shower but I managed to just catch it with water slightly.
The second day after the procedure I was wary about taking the plaster off incase the wound hadn’t healed yet but the one the doctor put on was coming off so I went to a close friend and gave her the challenge of peeling my plaster off slowly without pulling off the small strips and then replacing it with a new plaster (my boyfriend is far to heavy-handed and inpatient to do it softly) she managed and I could see when the plaster wasn’t on that it was slightly bruised.
The day after I gave up with the plasters completely as the one my friend put on had come off within a few hours. The wound looked to be healing nicely and it wasn’t as big as I thought, only a tiny mark. It had started to bruise more by this point but it wasn’t sore, only if I raised my arms higher than my head it hurt a little.
5 days after the procedure it feels fine, it is still bruised but it isn’t sore and I can lift my arms higher than my head without it hurting. I still have to be careful how I sleep and not to apply to much pressure but it doesn’t cause me any discomfort.
At this point, I am now 1 month into the new implant, I’m finding it fine. I get migraines occasionally but nothing that a rub of 4head doesn’t sort out.
If you would like to ask any questions about our experiences of getting a contraceptive why not email us and send us your queries.
I hope you enjoyed this post and it has put your mind at rest about getting a LARC method.
Sex Ed x