Everyone’s experience with birth control is different, and every birth control has different outcomes. What might be great for one person might not be the right fit for another. In my personal experience, having the Nexplanon implant was hard at first and got decently okay, but overall was a very difficult experience. The cons for me personally outweighed the good. When deciding on a birth control method, I absolutely recommend talking to a doctor before making any decisions.
The Pros of My Experience with Nexplanon
While the cons of having the Nexplanon implant for me were high, there were still many benefits of having it that I enjoyed. The best thing about the implant was that I didn’t have to keep track of taking a pill every day. I’m very forgetful and I knew that taking a pill every day was something that I couldn’t keep up with. Once the Nexplanon implant was in my arm, it didn’t have to be changed out for three years. Having something that I didn’t have to keep track of was honestly a game changer for me.
It also affected my periods a lot. On Nexplanon, I didn’t get a period unless I was stressed out. And if I did, they only lasted between 2-3 days. My periods were also super light and more like spotting. Before I got my implant, my periods were heavy with intense cramping every time. I also used to get really awful migraines when I had regular periods before Nexplanon, and these migraines would sometimes leave me almost bed ridden. It was nice to have a break from such awful cycles. Another plus of not having a heavy period? Not having to wear underwear. Going commando will forever be something I took for granted when I had the implant. I also noticed that my mood swings during my cycle were nonexistent. I was thankful to not be crying over little things like wanting a popsicle at midnight or spilling french fries in my car.
Another big plus was the slim risk of getting pregnant. I was and still am not ready for children at this point in my life. I consider myself a very sexual person, and having the implant meant I could have sex whenever I wanted with an extremely low risk of accidentally getting pregnant.
The Cons of Having the Nexplanon Implant
The list of cons for me is pretty hefty. For starters, I bled for about four months straight once I had the implant placed in my arm. During this four-month time frame, I also had horrible, deep acne. I had never experienced acne this severe, even when I was first going through puberty. I felt insecure and was struggling to feel comfortable or sexy in my own skin because of all the changes.
In order to stop the incessant bleeding, I was put on a birth control pill (Taytulla), which gave me terrible pelvic pain. It got so bad that during a class I had to take for work, I had to sit down and eventually went home and laid down. It felt like a never ending cramp.
When I brought it up to my then gynecologist, she thought I had gotten Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. What didn’t make sense to me was that I had taken an STD test two weeks prior to this happening, yet my doctor chalked it up to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease then as well. I hadn’t had sex with anyone during that time frame and was upset that she didn’t suspect it was the birth control pill that I had been taking to stop the bleeding. I stopped taking Taytulla after a week because the pain was unbearable, and the pain almost immediately stopped.
Something that I struggled with before I got the implant was unwanted hair growth. Unfortunately, Nexplanon made my hair growth worse. I had gotten to the point where I was plucking my chin and neck hairs at least every two days. Not only was it extremely exhausting to continuously be plucking my hairs all the time, but it would cause ingrown hairs and irritation all along my chin and neck. There were nonstop problems for me from the beginning, and I truly think I should have gotten it removed sooner than when I did.
Life After the Nexplanon Implant
I had Nexplanon for a total of 2 years and 11 months. I got my birth control removed on July 31st and have since noticed a huge difference in my moods and how I feel about myself. From July 31st until Aug 2nd, I was lethargic and unmotivated. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed due to how tired I was and how heavy my body felt. I felt irrational and on edge. It got to the point where when I was looking for a document and I couldn’t find it, I felt like my anxiety was through the roof. I felt out of control. Then came the cravings, and I knew exactly what was going to happen. On August 3rd I started my first period after getting my birth control removed. It since has reminded me why I went down the birth control route in the first place after having such horrible cramps and bleeding through my favorite shorts.
While my implant experience was less than great, it also led me to a new gynecologist that I really like. She not only listened to my concerns and issues, but she reassured me that what I was going through with the implant was common amongst one in six women who have it. It made me feel like getting it removed was the right decision for me.
When she asked me about measures I would be taking to prevent pregnancy going forward, she didn’t push birth control on me. She gave me the options if I wanted them, but didn’t push me in a corner. It was really a refreshing experience and made me feel comfortable to go back and see her again.
That being said, a ton of my friends also have the Nexplanon implant. Every one that I’ve spoken to has had different experiences with it. One of my friends, who has a rare autoimmune disorder, has the implant and it has changed her life for the better. It helps her every day and allows her body to function in the way it needs to without putting her life at risk. If you are curious about whether or not Nexplanon would be right for you and your body, have a conversation with your gynecologist about it.