This might be kind of technical and a little TMI, and it definitely deviates from my typical tone on this blog, but this topic is important to me. Especially because I previously relied on health insurance from a Catholic institution, which meant getting access to and good information about the right birth control for me was very difficult. So bear with me or don’t. I just hope this post can help inform more people about the options out there, and serve as a reminder that it’s okay to keep trying things until you find what’s right for you.
So here it goes.
Today I got the birth control implant Nexplanon. It’s a matchstick-size piece of plastic that contains a hormone and is inserted just under the skin in the upper arm. I was admittedly nervous about the insertion process, but I shouldn’t have worried. The doctor numbed the area, and the incision is tiny, so I didn’t really feel anything, except a prick when the needle with the anesthetic went in – the same feeling as when they take blood samples. Aside from siting in the waiting room, the whole process took 10 minutes in my regular doctor’s office. It is a little weird being able to feel the implant through my skin when I touch it, and right now the area is a little bruised, but that should go away after a few days.
The reason I got the implant is because I get migraines with vision changes (also kown as “aura”), which increases my risk for stroke and blood clots, if I take birth control pills containing estrogen, which I have been for the last 8 years. Because the implant is a progestin-only form of birth control, the risk of stroke and blood clots will decrease. Another advantage of the implant is that my migraines might go away completely. No one really knows what causes migraines, but for some women, they seem to be linked to changes in estrogen levels, especially during ovulation. The implant should stop me from ovulating, and thus might also eliminate my migraines. We’ll have to see, but anyone who suffers from migraines knows it’s usually worth trying anything that might prevent them.
A final factor in my decision to get the implant was that I don’t want to have kids for a while. The implant will work for up to 3 years. I don’t have to set a timer to take a pill every day or put a reminder in my calendar to put in a Nuvaring or get a Depo-Provera shot. My period might even stop completely. I might experience irregular bleeding, but that is the worst common side effect, and to me that’s not a big deal. The other less common side effects of the implant are pretty much the same as any other type of birth control.
So that’s it! I’ll post again in a few weeks and/or months to let you know how it’s going. And like my mom always says, “No news is good news!” so if you don’t hear from me about this topic for a while, you can assume everything is going well!