I've struggled ridiculously from the age of 13 with everything period related: migraines, vomiting, contraception, pains, sanitary products, etc. You name it I've had issues with it. Shortly after starting my period I developed migraines, related to my menstrual cycle. The migraines were that bad I developed pins and needles in my arms, black floaters in my eyes to the point I couldn't see straight and I used to vomit every time I moved.
After several unsatisfactory trips to see my GP, he reluctantly suggested I begin contraception. Unfortunately, due to my migraines, I was unable to take the most common type of pill, so I opted for the injection. The migraines stopped and the so did the majority of my periods. This was manageable with sanitary pads until I went to University and it was difficult to get home to arrange three monthly appointments. This was when I had my first implant fitted and it wasn't until my 5th year of having the implant that my periods picked up again - only this time lasting three weeks at a time.
I then decided that three week periods weren't for me and moved over to the Zeletta pill, a relatively new pill with limited reviews. Let me put it this way, three months using this pill was enough to send me slightly mental and to incur a weight gain of 9lbs.
Although the pill stopped my periods completely, which is always a bonus, I would of probably lost my partner and friends from being a lil' crazy. So I've ditched the contraception and will probably have to deal with paying up to £3 for tampons for the foreseeable future.
I used contraception non-stop for 11 years and the past 3 months (contraception free) has been the best yet. I'm a write-off on the first day of my period, however, they now only last about five days - which is great for me. I'm always a little nervous with condoms and they aren't the sexiest thing in the heat of the moment but, for my own sanity I had to come off the Zeletta pill.
I had the Implanon inserted in Sept 2010 after I'd had a miscarriage while on the Evra patch. Due to unusual side effects on the Depo injection, the doctor advised me that the most suitable option would be the Implanon or the coil. So I chose Implanon (no work to do, sex a la carte, not visible, sounded perfect). At first it was fine, couldn't fault it, had no periods, no pains, heaven really. Then in Jan 2011 I started to have symptoms of pregnancy (sore breasts, extreme fatigue, back ache etc) and my mood swings went through the roof. I put it down to extra hours at work. As the weeks went on I felt worse, and was even convinced there was movement in my stomach (I have a child already and recognised the 'butterflies). I couldn't sleep, appetite went, couldn't focus at work, and all the while my implant became visible through my skin. At this point I began to wonder if i'd been one of the unlucky ones that got caught whilst using Implanon, and after scouring many forums online I realised this was quite common with women on the contraceptive, and with my mind in great panic at this point I decided to have it removed. Unfortunately, I discovered that many people are trained to insert the Implanon yet hardly any are trained to remove it (this is in the Wigan and Leigh areas of Greater Manchester). It took three days, sixteen phone enquiries and two failed appointments to finally get to a clinic that could remove it. The removal went well but within two hours I felt sick, couldn't eat, and had to go to bed. I have taken three tests since the removal and thankfully all were negative. But in a way this is very worrying, as the physical and physcological effects I went through (that pointed to pregnancy) were very stressful. Upon discussing the issue with my colleagues, I heard many stories of negative results whilst on Implanon. I understand that women will have very different experiences with the Implanon, but from my experience I could not recommend it.
About this Review
I am predominantly aiming this review at those who are thinking about Mirena and want to read someone's personal experience, but I also aim to give enough information to those who have never heard of it to enable them to decide whether to ask the doctor about it.
I'm therefore deliberately not going to go into a lot of detail here about what Mirena is and how it works, because to be perfectly honest you really need to be checking with a doctor whether it's suitable for you, and reading carefully through the information leaflet.
A layman's description (i.e. I am definitely NOT a health professional!) is that Mirena is a intrauterine contraceptive implant which works by very slow hormone release. It can remain in place for up to five years (with an initial checkup after a few weeks then annual checks thereafter) after which time it must be replaced. It is very effective as a contraceptive, but I, like many others, was recommended Mirena as a solution to very heavy, painful periods.
I had suffered from heavier than average periods for years, and always painful, but this had been getting noticeably worse - I'm talking 6-7 day periods on an average 22 day cycle, heavy-duty protection leaking within half an hour, and waking up at night every few hours as the painkillers wore off (always assuming I'd managed to get to sleep in the first place). So, I finally decided to go and see if the doctor could suggest anything. He recommended giving Mirena a try, as an extremely common 'side-effect' is a significant reduction in blood loss. I was given an information leaflet so I could go away and consider it properly.
Having it fitted
I believe it can be inserted by a practice nurse, but in my case because my symptoms had been getting worse my doctor wanted to rule out any other cause, so I had a hysteroscopy at the same time, all under general anaesthetic. All done and dusted in a few hours - although I was told to take the rest of the day off work - good advice as I definitely felt a bit sore and battered, although I have no way of knowing whether this would have been the case with the Mirena insertion alone.
I felt a bit sore still for a few days, but just like very minor period cramps - nothing much really. The hospital had prescribed some painkillers and these did the trick. I experienced some irregular spotting for a few weeks while it all settled down - but again, nothing to write home about.
Some lucky people find their periods stop completely - I was not one of them unfortunately, but I have certainly experienced major change.
The severe pain of the past has been replaced by minor discomfort.
The ridiculously heavy flow has been replaced by flow so light I rarely even need to use protection.
My cycle has got a bit more erratic to say the least, and my period can, strangely, last longer - but it's so light this is really not a problem. An 8-9 day 'barely there' period every 6 or 7 weeks is infinitely preferable to the 6-7 days every 3 or so weeks.
The other thing to say is that apart from the good effects, I wouldn't know it is there. I've never felt it and have never had any bad side-effects.
I really wish I'd known about Mirena earlier - it's made a huge difference. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, but it's obviously something you need to check with your doctor to make sure it is suitable. If you really suffer with painful, heavy periods, this is something well worth investigating.
I am writing this review to give people an idea of what the contraceptive device 'Implanon' can be like.....
The implanon is a small stick basically which is inserted into your arm, stays there for 3 years and then can be removed and replaced if desired. It is meant to be 99% effective, stating that less than 1 in 100 women would get pregnant with this over a 3 year period. This makes it seemingly one of the most effective methods of contraception, plus once it is in you can just forget about it for 3 years.
Having it inserted didn't bother me but it probably would bother anyone who is a little sqeamish or doesn't like needles. It was done just at my local family planning clinic but was done by a doctor.
I was warned that although some people report no periods whilst on this, or have very light ones, that they can also become irregular on other women. Therefore my clinic advised I take a pill (Cerazette) which is similar for 6 months prior to having the implant inserted, to check if it would suit me. 6 months later and I was fine, I was having no periods (excellent!) so I had it put in.
For just over 12 months it was great, no periods at all, no pill to remember, no weight gain etc. However, from this point on I have had endless troubles, my periods then started to come once every few weeks and only for a couple of days but gradually this became for 5 or 6 days at a time. This was still no major problem until the time I had a period which lasted 18 days non-stop. They have become heavier, they are erratic and I often only have one week period-free in between them. For example, I'll have 10 days on, 5 days off, 5 days on, 10 days off, 2 days on, 3 days off, 14 days on etc etc etc........as you can see, I have no idea where I am!
The effect this has had (other than being extremely inconvenient and annoying!) is that I have all the annoying side effects of a period most of the time, aka bloating / water retention, mood swings, sleepless nights, period pains etc.
So, I have decided to have it removed early and switch back to the pill. My clinic however have now givene me the pill to take as well as still having the implant as this apparently is suitable for some people and can help with the irregular periods problem but without having to worry about if you forget your pill one day - as you still have the contraceptive effetcs of the implanon. If this is ok in 3 months time I'll stick at it, if not then they'll remove it for me.
Whilst this may be good for a lot of people I would just warn that even if you seem ok with it first off all, or if you try the pill version and are ok with that, you may still have problems later down the line. If irregular periods like mine don't sound like something you would want to put up with then stay clear!
I have no idea what to rate these sort of reviews. Do I rate my awful contraception experiences a five? Anyway this is a five but the experience is definitely not.
I first started contraception when I was 17, October 2007 if I am not mistaken, I first tried the pill (as you do) and it was micrgynone. Within about three months of taking this I had boob pain (which I only ever got one day before my period started), a bit of spotting (normal for newcomers to the pill or contraception in general) but I started to feel so unhappy. So unbelievably unhappy. I was not a happy person in general, maybe pessimistic and negative but not crying at every verse end depressed. Once I was in the bath and just burst into tears, I had two more episodes like this over the following day and it was no normal crying; it was uncontrollable bawling my eyes out for absolutely NO reason what so ever. So then they put me on Dianette, same sort of idea, three weeks of pill then a break for period then start taking again but this time it was going to aid my skin as well. I did not have the best skin. No problems with Dianette as such but I did get depressed whilst on it, but with reason, I will not get into it here but it was most definitely not the pill. I came off Dianette because it was not helping my skin anymore plus whenever I went to a family planning clinic, they never had any. They had every other pill but Dianette because it is mainly given out to females to help their skin, the contraceptive thing was just a bonus so to speak. I was put on Depo-provera for the twelve weeks it is active in the body for, I went back for my second injection and mentioned that I was feeling unhappy again, the nurse said she would not feel comfortable giving me another injection then put me on the pill Yasmin. I came off that pill two weeks ago and had to take the morning after pill two days ago. The nurse asked me what happened, I explained and then she asked me what I was doing for contraception now? I said "condoms" and she nearly passed out. I remember being 14 and condoms being a huge issue for kids that age to even contemplate, if you used a condom then you were big, hard and clever because you were adult enough to buy and suggest using one in the heat of the moment. Now? Condoms only at my age is laughable apparently!
She said I would be crying at every verse end if I had an unplanned pregnancy. No I would not, my partner and I love children and want them as soon as but we are in no financial position to have one that is the only reason I nipped the very likely pregnancy in the bud. If I was to become pregnant now without knowing until later on then an abortion would be completely OFF the cards, my partner and I would make the best of what we have and raise a much wanted child.
She also said that if I think I am depressed right now then maybe the coil or implant is the best option now once I have seen my GP about it. I do NOT like the idea of a huge, hollow needle inserting some plastic thing into my arm that I can feel the entire time it is in there! Plus the coil is an absolute no no, it causes irregular bleeding and it is...a 'thing' up there, it requires a doctor to get it out and faff to get it in. *Shudders*, it looks like some sort of death contraption. I have been told that it may take a while for long term fertility to return as well so I am very reluctant.
I am considering going back on the Depo again as it was the only form of contraception I felt the best on and the unhappy was probably because of my situation then, it was not that good. The nurse jumped the gun a bit. The problem I had with the Yasmin was that it was causing me lower abdominal pain, massive mood swings and depressive moods (the same as the mirogynone) and other symptoms.
When it comes to pills I am very good, in two years of being on the pill I only ever forgot to take it twice. The first time I forgot the pill once, then the second time I missed two pills, I was on antibiotics and my boyfriend and I had a sex fest that weekend so you can imagine the panic!
Different women react differently to every type of contraception, I do not want to freak anyone out but these are my experiences. You may think a little bit of crying can be handled but when you realise you do not have enough change for a cheese and tomato sandwich and have to go for just cheese instead and are bawling your eyes out as if someone just ran over your dog then something is very wrong. Or when you consider walking under a bus, coupled with the fact I have severe OCD (see other review) and massive stress issues, these become a little more than just tears.
The coil - isn't it a little old fashioned?
This review is of a personal and sensitive nature so please bear this in mind. Anyone of a squeamish disposition please leave now, you have been warned and no complaints will be accepted if you decide to read on.
As a teenager I suffered from very long and painful periods, so much so that I fainted regularly when the pain got just too much. My first gynaecologist prescribed marvellous 'Marvelon' for years, more to help with the pain and stop me from fainting.
I am not the maternal type and never wanted children at all - ever. Consequently I tried a number of contraceptive devices over my lifetime. After years of trying barrier contraception such as condoms and pill popping I was ready for something new and more permanent.
=== I say potato, you say ... ===
IUD - Intra Uterine Device
IUS - Intra Uterine System (mainly in the UK)
There is a big difference between the two although they may look identical on the surface.
After all, both devices are T-shape and the approximate size of a matchstick. Both are inserted into the womb where they sit for a number of years before they have to be replaced and both are there to stop the sperm and egg 'meeting and settling'.
If only it was this easy.
The traditional IUD (traditional coil) contains copper and can be left inside the womb for up to 10 years. It prevents the egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus and the copper has a spermicidal effect. It can also make your periods heavier and longer.
On the other hand Mirena, the IUS, is slightly larger than the traditional coil, is made from plastic without copper but it contains a small dose of progesterone (you will also find it as the active ingredient in the POP - Progesterone Only Pill) that will be released into the womb. It will make the lining of the cervix thinner, preventing the egg from being able to attach itself and produce mucus towards the entrance of the womb to stop sperm entering.
While there might be some irregular or spot bleeding for weeks or months until it settles, a lot of women experience light to no periods at so. In some cases Mirena is used to help with painful and heavy periods instead of prescribing the pill that can do the same. It can stay in your body for up to 5 years when it has to be replaced.
So if you suffer from heavy painful periods, having the Mirena might just be the answer to your prayers.
The success rate of a coil is usually better than that of the pill or other contraceptive devices and in particular the Mirena is likened to female sterilisation as the failure rate is about 1 in 1000 per year compared to 1 in 100 for the pill.
=== How clean is your womb? ===
It is essential that you and your womb are healthy so even if you had the all clear from your latest smear test, your doctor may ask you to see the practice nurse to take some vaginal swabs to determine if there is an infection in your womb.
I had to make an appointment with the practice nurse to get this test done. It is best to have it done between periods as it takes a week or so for the results to come back.
=== Judgement Day ===
It's best to fit it towards the end of your period simply because it is an additional insurance you are not pregnant, the opening to the cervix will be slightly enlarged (making the fitting easier and less uncomfortable) and it will also make sure that the device will start working straight away. The coil can be fitted at any time but it might be an idea to continue with barrier contraception for a few days if you wait to have it fitted until later in the cycle. As the procedure takes a little longer than a normal doctor's appointment (in my surgery a so called 'double appointment' I had decided to take the morning off work).
=== Ohhh, the pain, the pain ... ===
I had heard and read that fitting the coil can be uncomfortable and very painful, some people likened it to giving birth. Information websites tell you to take pain relief in particular if you had not given birth before just to take the edge off.
I must say that I took these reports with a pinch of salt. I have a very high pain threshold and don't use pain relief until absolutely necessary so decided to stick it out.
My whole take on pain is the 'mind over matter' approach. If you expect something to be painful, it will be painful. If you relax and not think of pain, it will be easier and the actual pain you are experiencing will be so much lighter. It's not comfortable to have procedures done in a sensitive, private area of your body but it's not as nasty as some people make it out to be.
The more experienced the person fitting the device, the less painful it is.
=== Stick it to me ===
My doctor is one of two in the surgery who is able/allowed/trained to fit coils. Before the fitting, we went again went through which one I wanted. After all, each has its advantages and disadvantages. I had chosen Mirena as I felt it was the best one for me, promising lighter and less painful periods.
With a nurse present to oversee the fitting (male doctor must have female nurse present) I disrobed, made myself as comfortable as possible, the nurse placed a pillow under my pelvis to elevate it - my insides are a little off kilter.
All the way through the procedure my doctor explained what he was doing:
* Insert a speculum to widen the vagina
* Find the entrance to the cervix and insert a small device to open it (this might hurt a little, a little pulling pain)
* The womb is measured so that the device is not pushed too far and perforate the lining (between 6 - 9cm is average)
* You are shown the straw like contraption which has the coil located to the top which is then inserted through your vagina and the cervix into the womb and snapped into place. (you will feel the device being released into place and the sides snap into place). The strings at the end of the device (used to remove it will be trimmed so that they will still be visible outside the womb but not felt during intercourse.
* The straw like device and speculum are removed
* Lie back and relax until you feel comfortable enough to get up.
=== A sharp intake of breath ===
Again, the pain issue....
Having a coil fitted is not comfortable at all but I had expected worse. My doctor told me when to expect discomfort and while I was warned, it did surprise me a little when it happened. It was not so bad that I could have screamed but it felt very much like heavy period pain, the kind where you feel like someone's kicked you in the abdomen and then it subsides.
First time you feel discomfort or pain is when the entrance to the cervix is widened to get the device in (that's why it is important to have the fitting while you are having a period, the cervix entrance is already a little wider than it would normally be). The pain I felt was not too bad, I had been warned but it still surprised me a little and I did do the sharp intake of breath bit. The next time I felt pain was then the device went in and had the top t-shape flicked out to make it stay in place. The crampy pain stayed for a couple of minutes and then subsided quite nicely. If this is what labour pain is like, I've had worse period pain.
The nurse told me to lie back and relax as I looked a little pale and getting up to quick would probably make me see little birds or stars - to which I replied that I wasn't wearing glasses so wouldn't be able to see anything anyway. I was told that I could experience cramps for a couple of days so and taking pain killers was.
After just a minute or so I was feeling well enough to get up and out of the surgery. My doctor provided me with a reminder card of the day of fitting, a booklet about the Mirena and asked me to see a nurse after 6 weeks to check that the coil was still sitting in the right place and was not causing any problems. After this first check up you shouldn't need further checks more than once a year until it comes out or is replaced.
=== The alien inside me ===
I left the surgery feeling absolutely fine. I was half expecting cramps the likes of nasty period pain but nothing was forthcoming. I felt a little light headed for the rest of the day in the office but that was all. I also noticed that the period I had thought had finished started up again and I experienced some bleeding. This went on for a few more day until it settled.
There was some spotty bleeding for the first few weeks but never so much that it would have bothered me. I always carried panty liners with me so that I was prepared.
I've had the Mirena inside me for a few months now and can say that it is the best decision I made in ages. I never experienced pain despite half expecting it. I didn't get an infection -not that I wanted or expected it - and I coped well with the irregular and spotty bleeding after it was first inserted. It has now settled and I can't even remember when I had even a little bit of bleeding the last time. There are days when I notice a tiny little bit of blood, like you can experience at the very end of the period, but nothing that would even require more than a panty liner, if that.
I can enjoy not having to think about contraception for the next 5 years.
* Light, pain free or no periods
* Progesterone locally inside the womb, equivalent to one contraceptive pill/week
* Not having to think about contraception for 5 years
* Can be painful when fitted
* Possible infections
* Bleeding irregular for the first few weeks or months until it settles
* Side effects like acne, bleeding, PMT, depression
* No protection against STD
* Can be spontaneously expelled without you noticing
While it is the best for me, it may be totally wrong for someone else. It is important to know what you are letting yourself in for, talk to your doctor and weigh up the good and the bad before you decide that the coil is the thing for you.
© Tempus_Fugit (Ciao)/Teena2003
There are a variety of forms of Contraception available in the UK to all for free from family planning clinics, the advice is free and confidential, and you are guarenteed to be treated fairly and equally regardless of your age, sex, race or religion.
The most common form of contraception in the UK is the condom, it is easy to use, and doesn't affect your body in the form of hormones etc. Its 98.9% affective at stopping pregnancies. The condom (for any youngsters who may be reading this for advice), is a latex sheath, which comes in a foil wrapped package, the condom goes over the penis and catches the sperm before it can enter the woman.
Disadvantages: the condom is easily forgotten..and it can interrupt sexual foreplay and "disrupt the mood". Also, the condom can easily split which means that the Morning After Pill is required to ensure no unwanted pregnancy will occur.
Condoms are good for those who may not be in a full term steady relationship, and who don't have sex often. But not really suitable for people who are in a one person commited relationship with a real sexual relationship.
There is also the female condom, which fits inside the vagina, and stops the sperm from entering the uterus where the egg is. Working in very much the same way as the male condom- not as popular, but another option.
The next form of contraception is the Contraceptive Pill: there are two kinds of pill the "Pill" and the "mini pill", the mini pill is the Proestrogen Only Pill, its as affective as the normal pill, but can be taken by all women, (women with high blood pressure, who are overweight, and who are made ill or have nasty side affects on the normal pill cannot take it). The contraceptive pill works by stopping an egg from been released and so there is no egg to be fertalized by the mans sperm. The pill is something like 97-99% affective.
The Pill is taken daily with a week of no pills to allow you to have a period. The Mini Pill is taken everyday throughout the month, and with most women their periods completely stop- which is great!!!!
The pill is great if you can remember to take it, as it has to be taken everyday at the same time of day. I use the reminder application on my phone to remind me when I need to take my pill!!! The good thing about the Pill is that you can come off it at any time if you decide its not for you and you want to try something else, or if you want to start trying for a baby with relative ease.
The third form of contraception I will tell you about is the injection.
This is given once a month at your local family planning clinic by a nurse. It is not advisable you go on this if your either bordering on been overweight or are already overweight as one side affect can be weight gain.
The injection works in a similar way to the Pill, only you don't have to remember to take it everyday: there are two injections, the monthly injection, and the 3 monthly injection- they are pretty much the same thing, but one works for longer than the other!
The injection is good if you are forgetful and cannot remember to take the pill everyday, but as I said there are side affects which means that not everybody can have it. Or should I say, you may be "advised against it", as if its what you really want, the clinic will give it to you as long as your aware of the weight gain (if your overweight already!).
I have personally never had this, I have only ever been on the Pill and mini-pill (the Pill had bad affects for me, and made me moody and gave me spots!!!). But, I have known girls who have been on it.
Disadvantages: If you do get bad side affects such as feeling sick, heavy period constantly, spots etc, you have to put up with it for the month or three months until its going to ware off.
Also, when you come off the injection, depending on how long you have been on it, it can take upto 5 years to conceive after having the injection- this is rare, but it can take between 1 and 5 years to be able to conceive.
The next form of contraception is the implant- again I have never had this, so I have not had first hand experience with it, but my best friend has just had hers removed after 3 years and so I am going on her experience.
The implant is a small device fitted (by minor surgery) into your arm (there is no scar) and it releases hormones into your system. It stays in your arm for three years, but if you do have very bad complications, you can have it removed at any point.
Disadvantages: Periods can get very messed up. My friend didn't stop bleeding the whole time she had the implant in her arm, and 3 months after having it removed, she still is not back to normal. So you do have to be careful with it.
There are a few more forms of contraception which your best asking a medical professional about as I'm not 100% sure on the exact information.
These other forms are:
The hormone "patch".
As well as these forms, there is always natural family planning, which although you may not believe is possible, it is. There is a certain time of the month when you are infertile (straight after your period, while your on your period etc..). I have never undertook this form of family planning as my periods are not regular enough for me to be able do it affectively.
For this to work you MUST be regular as clockwork, and know the exact day of the month that your are due to have a period. It works by taking note of the time and date your period is due, and for I think a week before your period is due, abstaining from sexual intercourse, or using other forms of contraception during this time.
This is only an affective form of contraception if you work it out properly, and you know 100% when your due to have a period each month. You need to look up on the internet or in books...or speak to a family planning nurse, about natural family planning as you need to know exact time frames. If done correctly, this is as affective a form of contraception as any of the above. And is a good way of preventing pregnancy without pumping hormones around your body and stopping the natural flow of your body from acurring.
As you can see, there are many options available, and so you are sure to find something which is right for you. Before making your final decision, you are probably best speaking to your family planning clinic and having a medical examination to see which form is best for your body.
I hope this has been of help to you all :-)
I had that implanon and it drove my hormones mental, made me evil and working nightshifts and short sleeping pattern use to drive me over the edge. I had it removed stupid woman actually dug it out and scarred me.I feel great i have normal periods, i have no period pains better now than when i was a teenager i am 37 and have normal periods, contraception is my choice. So no foreign parts coil, implanon etc in my body giving me grief.I would not recommen it at all should be taken off the market, no wonder there is so many women out there with depression, tiredness etc its down to that awful implanon, trust me get rid of it i had imlanon for 6 years and it was hell. never again!!!
WHAT IS IT?
The contraceptive implant, usually known by the name Implanon, is a small plastic rod that measures approximately 4mm by 2mm. It is implanted just under the skin in the upper arm and slowly releases synthetic hormones for 3 years. This release of hormones prevents ovulation and hence any possibility of pregnancy.
INSERTION AND REMOVAL
The rod is implanted after a local anaesthetic has been injected into where the implant will be. This numbs the skin and then the rod is placed under the skin with a large needle like implement. Once it has been inserted the implant should be easily felt through the skin.
To remove the implant local anaesthetic is again injected, and a small cut is made through the skin. The implant is then located with a pair of tweezers and pulled through the small hole.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
The contraceptive implant is one of the most effective contraceptive available. The only recorded pregnancies have been due to either the implant being inserted incorrectly, or the user being obese and the implant not being as effective for the 3rd year.
I had an implanon rod inserted a few years ago, and had it in place for approximately 2.5 years. It was something I thought about for quiet a while as other methods of contraception had proven troublesome. The main thing which stopped me getting the implant for a long time was the way in which it is inserted and removed. I don't like needles, and I'm not particularly keen on going to doctors, but I eventually overcame my fears. The actual insertion was not as bad as I thought it would be, but there was still a feeling of pressure and stinging when the rod was inserted. It was when the anaesthetic wore off that the pain started. I had a huge black bruise within an hour of having the rod inserted, and remember not really being able to use my arm for a day or two as it was so sore. The bruising lasted for about a week, and after that things got better.
For the first year to 18 months the implant was great. Looking back though I started putting on weight around the same time as I had it inserted, and I'm still not sure whether there is a connection or not. My skin was clear, I didn't have any periods, and most importantly I didn't end up pregnant. It was after 18 months though that things gradually started to change. I started to get breakthrough bleeding, which any woman will know is just a hassle given it's so unpredictable. My skin started to break out constantly, and I started to question whether the implant was linked with weight gain.
It took me another year to get the courage up to go and get it removed. Having it removed was more painful than getting it implanted, as although I had anaesthetic, the doctor had to pull quite hard on the implant to dislodge it. I imagine this is because after 2.5 years tissue, and fat has had a chance to grow around the implant. Anyway, it came out and like with insertion, I was left with a really sore arm for a few days, and a substantial bruise. My doctor warned me to keep an eye out for any lumps that develop in the arm that had the implant, or in the breast on the same side. He informed me that lots of women were finding harmless growths in the arm and same side breast tissue. This is something I have since researched and have not been able to find anything reported on this, but I do trust my doctor more than I trust pharmaceutical companies. I do not know how frequently it occurs, but I find it a little disturbing if it is in fact true.
Anyway, after having the implant removed I had ongoing hormonal issues. One of the big selling points of Implanon is that once removed, any symptoms should go away and the body should return to normal. This was not the case for me. It took another 18 months before my cycle resembled anything vaguely classified as normal. I had never had issues with an irregular, unpredictable cycle prior to Implanon. I also had ongoing issues with my skin, which has only recently settled down since becoming pregnant. For me there are so many unanswered questions with implanon, as I do not know whether so many things would have changed anyway even if I had not had the implant. One positive of my experience is that I'm much more cautious about any new drugs and do a lot more research about anything I'm considering getting.
I'd advise anyone considering a contraceptive implant to think about it really seriously and do a lot of reading. You don't have to look too far to find numerous tales of trouble with this product, but there are also lots of positive experiences too. The insertion and removal isn't a particularly pleasant experience, but I guess in the scheme of things it will hurt a whole lot less than having a baby.
WHAT IS THE IMPLANON?
The Implanon contraceptive implant is a progesterone-only method of birth control which has been widely publicised and prescribed in the UK. This is my account of the terrible effects using this method of birth control had on me.
I had the Implanon inserted in January of 2005. Up to this point I was using a non-hormonal IUD (coil), but began to experience problems with this, the main ones being heavy periods and pain during and after sexual intercourse with my husband. My GP suggested that I try the Implanon, which looking back seems quite odd to me as he knew that I had had many problems in the past when using various forms of the contraceptive pill, including severe mood swings and massive weight gain.
There is a history of depression and mental health problems in my family; my mam suffered from mild agoraphobia and my dad has got the full gammet really; OCD, depression and anxiety. However I had never suffered from any of these illnesses before; despite some intensely stressful times I have been through I have always had a very optimistic outlook on life and a positive mental attitude.
This all changed within about a week of having the Implanon inserted. I can remember standing in the shower one evening and all of a sudden the thought popped into my head "I could just pick that razor up and cut my wrists with it". Yes I know this sounds totally crazy, believe me it gave me the fright of my life! But I just put it down to a weird little blip in my brain and didn't give it much more thought at the time.
I started to notice that I really wasn't enjoying things the same way I used to. For example, one of my favourite things was having a load of mates over to the house, putting some food on and having a drink and a laugh. I started to lose interest in this and began making excuses not to have people round (I now know that this is one of the first signs of depression: a lack of interest in things you would usually enjoy).
Then things started to get very bad very quickly. At the end of March I was walking home from the nursery with my friend after dropping my daughter off when I suddenly became very dizzy and felt like I couldn't breathe. I knew I was having a panic attack, something I had experienced before but only once at my nanna's funeral and a couple of times when flying (I hate flying!) My friend took me into our local Children's Centre and one of the staff called my husband, who came and got me and took to me see the GP. I was told (without even being examined) that I had labyrinthitis, an inner ear balance disorder which can appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. I was given some tablets to help with any dizzy spells and sent on my way.
The dizzy spells however began to get worse and worse, as did the feelings of panic and anxiety; I began to have very anxious thoughts surrounding my daughter who was 3 at the time, thinking that she was going to be in a car accident or that someone was going to abduct her in the night. These feelings came to a head one day when she had gone to stay at her nanna's; I can remember scrubbing my bathroom floor completely convinced that at any moment the police were going to knock at my front door and tell me that she was dead. Basically all of the fears that any parent has about their children came to the fore and I became very irrational.
As you can imagine this was starting to have a really bad effect on my marriage; we'd only been married for six months when I had the implant put in and should have still been in the honeymoon period. Instead my poor husband was having to deal with an irrational woman who was crying all the time and getting scared to let our daughter out of my sight.
Irrational as my feelings were I could see that they weren't normal so went to visit my GP. Unfortunately he was on holiday and I ended up with the docvtor from hell, evidently a working mother with a huge chip on her shoulder, who basically told me that I should be grateful that I got to stay home with my child and ought to pull myself together. She then prescribed me some Prozac and told me to come back to see her in six weeks (like I'd go back to see her; she no longer works at the surgery thankfully!)
I got my prescription for Prozac and was all set to take them. My husband then pointed out to me that all of this had started when I got my implant put in: maybe this had something to do with it? Thankfully we had the Internet so I was straight on there checking out this theory. It was then that I found the Aphrodite Women's Health Forum:
There were so many women on there talking in the forums about how their various hormonal contraceptives had caused / triggered off so many problems, the main ones being depression, anxiety and a change of feelings towards their partners and even their children in some very sad cases. There weren't many people on there who had experience of the Implanon as it was relatively new at the time, but forums on many other sites were full of women saying how terrible their experiences had been; many had felt a suicidal depression sink on them completely out of the blue, and one woman had even tried to smother her baby!
This all began to add up to me: I had never suffered mental health problems in the past, yet here I was anxious and depressed with a complete lack of libido, obsessional thoughts and panic attacks. Right, I thought, time to get this implant taken out!
When I had the Implanon put in I was told that I could have it in for three years, but if I wanted it out before then it would be a simple and quick process. Well, it wasn't. Far from it. It was in June that I first started to connect the Implanon with all the problems I was having, but I didn't actually manage to convince anyone to take it out for me until the middle of November. For some reason (I'm guessing financial) I kept getting fobbed off with "just give it another couple of months" and "there's no evidence that there is a lick between the implant and depression" (not counting all the anecdotal evidence that is out there if you bother to look of course).
In the months between June and November I also started to experience physical problems. These included numbness in my right breast, tingling feelings in the arm the implant was in, and most worryingly intense pain in the right side of my abdomen. I was actually admitted to hospital at one point as I was so crippled with this intense pain; I was given a scan for gallstones but there was nothing there. I now believe that this was pain in my liver after talking to another girl online who had expereinced the exact same thing when she was had the implant. I was also told that I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as every time I ate anything it caused me to have terrible stomach cramps. I actually pretty much gave up on eating at one point; I lost over a stone in weight and my clothes were hanging off me (at any other time this would have been a bonus!)
No doctor I saw at the time would accept my view that it was the implant causing these problems; understandably I have very little faith in the medical profession these days! The only medically qualified person who actually believed me was my daughter's health visitor, who had suffered similar problems when using the Depo Provera contraceptive injection.
I cannot begin to describe the relief I felt when that implant was taken out of my arm! There had been many times when I very nearly cut it out myself, but I knew that if I did that I'd be on a one-way ticket to the local psychiatric unit! It was literally like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The physical symptoms I'd been experiencing disappeared within a week of having it removed. Unfortunately the mental scars have taken much longer to heal.
I used to believe that people with depression, anxiety etc. just needed to get a grip of themslves, I now know that this is not the case. Of course there is a lot you can do to help yourself, such as vigorous exercise, taking supplments, a healthy diet etc., but these conditions are medical illnesses and need to be thought of as such by society. Anyway, I digress!
After I the implant removed my periods didn't return to normal straightaway, in fact they only got back into any kind of regular pattern after having my son 15 months ago. I've also been left with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which has caused ovulation to be very painful for me. Luckily at the moment my cysts aren't too big although one of my ovaries is quite enlarged. This only became obvious when I was having ultrasounds during my pregnancy. I believe this was caused by the Implanon stopping me from having a period completely for just over a year.
I am not against contraception in any way; I have no religious or moral views on the subject whatsoever. What really concerns me is all the women who are suffering because of the Implanon, and the fact that it is being given to teenage girls whose bodies are not yet fully developed. At least if you're on the pill and start to have problems you can just stop taking it.
THE MEDICAL FACTS:
1) Implanon contains etonogestrel, a synthetic progestin. Synthetic progestins have long been known to exacerbate depression drastically in people who suffer from the condition, as they deplete the brain of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates many bodily processes, including our mood. They also increase the production of the enzyme monamine oxidase, an excess of which is known to cause depression (many older antidepressants were monoamine oxidase inhibitors, which worked by decreasing the production of this enzyme).
2) Synthetic hormones practically wipe the body of it's vitamin B stores. Vitamin B is used for many bodily functions, including the production of serotonin. I would strongly advise any girl or woman taking any form of hormonal contraceptive to buy themselves a good multivitamin and a vitamin B complex.
THE ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE:
If you have read my story and would like to get the opinions of other women who have suffered as I have, I would check out the Aphrodite Women's health forum I mentioned above, or just google Implanon, depression and read some of the stories that come up.
I had a terrible experience with this implant and would strongly advise anyone thinking of getting one to read up all you can about it first. I'm sure for many people this works very well; all I know is that if it doesn't the effects can be devastating.
I had this put in about 18 months and taken out again after six months for reasons I will explain later.
The product itself is a small white plastic strip that has roughly the same dimensions as a matchstick. It is called Implanon and is a subdermal (under the skin) implant fitted by a doctor. It works by releasing progestin which stops ovulation. It releases this steadily over 3 years at which point the implant is removed as it no longer functions as a contraceptive.
I decided to try this method of contraception as I had suffered quite badly from side effects from various contraceptive pills. I was affected by mood swings to a great extent when using these pills and was told that Implanon should not cause me to have mood swings.
Having discussed the implant with my GP I then made an appointment with a specially trained doctor at my local surgery to have the implant fitted. Implanon is a fairly new contraceptive method so not all doctors have been trained to fit the implant. The implantation required the doctor to give me a local anaesthetic then make a small incision in my left upper arm. He then inserted the implanted using a specially designed device. This process was pain free apart from the initial slight sting of the injection (like a mild bee sting) although I could feel the implant being pushed into my arm which felt strange but not unpleasant. I then had to wear a tight bandage over the area for 24 hours to reduce any swelling.When I removed the bandage there was still a little bruising around the incision but it was not swelled. I could feel the implant in my aim but it wasn't sore.
The doctor advised that I should have the implant in for 6 months to let my body get used to it before deciding whether or not to keep it in. I had it in for six months before I decided to have it removed. It certainly was effective as a contraceptive; I have to give it that. Unfortunately this was mainly because it removed any sex drive I had. I found that whilst I had the implant in I felt sort of robotic, I wasn't depressed but I wasn't enjoying anything either. Where the pill had given me massive mood swings, this implant seemed to remove my moods altogether. On top of this, my menstrual cycle went completely haywire and I seemed to be bleeding almost constantly. After six months of this I was well and truly fed up and made an appointment to have the implant removed. The removal was almost as easy as the implantation as the implant had hardly moved - they can migrate but mine had stayed in roughly the same place. I wore a bandage for a day as I had when the implant was first inserted and have been left with only a very small light scar on my arm.
Since removing the implant I have not started taking the pill or any other method of contraception and have felt much healthier and more normal as a result. Although my case is probably not the norm when it comes to Implanon, I wanted to share my experience with anyone considering this method of contraception as I feel it is important to know as much as you can about health products before using them. I hope no-one else shares my experience of this but if you do I hope this review will reassure you that it may be a side effect of the implant rather than a physical or psychological problem with you.
I have been on the contraceptive implant for 3 and a half years now, it has been around for many years and was known as the 4 pin or something because instead of one rod being inserted it was 4 rods which sounds pretty awful.
Before this for 2 years I was on the depo provera contraceptive injection which you need to go back and have an injection every three months, which was a right pain in the bum (quite literally), the 3 months used to pass so quick because I was dreading the next injection, which is unusual for me because I really don't mind injections I think they just hurt and seemed a bit repetitive after a while.
I get the implant which is called implanon inserted and removed at my local brooks clinic as it is free as I am under 25 after this age you would have to see your doctor and you would have to pay for it yourself.
Implanon is inserted into your upper arm (usually the arm you do not write with) and can stay there for 3years until it needs to be removed, the good thing about this is if you don't like it or it is making you moody ect you can get it removed and the effects will almost immediately get back to normal.
Unlike the depo provera injection if you want to get pregnant you have to wait atleast a year for the effects to wear off before you can get pregnant (obviously this may vary a little from person to person).
With the implant, once removed you will almost immediately be able to get pregnant which is way better than waiting for a whole year.
The reason I started using the implant was because research was done on the depo provera injection which I was on since 16 so 2years later they recommended I came off it because research showed when we got older our bones would be a lot weaker, this was recommended to a few people I know so im sure it was a wide spread thing.
Well being told to come off the injection was a blessing in disguise because the implant is so much more convenient after insertion you can forget about it for 3years.And all you get is a little scar, they use quite a big needle to insert the implant but its just best not to look and they also use a local anaesthetic so you don't really feel too much discomfort.
When getting the implant removed it is a little tricky as the implant would have formed its own skin around it, so they cut a little incision in your arm and if there is a thin layer of skin they also cut this, it takes a while for it to be removed because they are trying to pull the implant out with some sort of tweezers there is a lot of pushing and pinching on your arm around the implant to try and get the implant out as the local anaesthetic affects the easiness of getting the implant out.
Overall this contraceptive is so worth it, you don't have the hassle of taking a tablet everyday or being stabbed in the bum every 3months and this is also good if like me you get migraines and cant go on the pill or most other forms of contraception because they have estrogen in them.
I will update this review as and when I remember bits I may have forgotten ect
The contraceptive implant, which goes by the medical name Implanon, has been in circulation for many years. Roughly the size of a thin matchstick, it is inserted into the upper arm, where it remains for three years. Upon the end of it's life cycle, it is removed in a small operation under a local anaesthetic.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The implant sits underneath the skin and slowly releasing the hormone etonorgestrol, which prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries. It also has a small effect on womb lining and cervix, though these are the secondary reasons as to why it is so effective.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
Hugely. Clinical results show an almost 100% prevention of pregnancy.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Up to three years, though doctors recommend that for particularly obese people it may lose it's effectiveness after two and half and should be replaced earlier.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
All methods of contraception have some side effects as they control hormonal balance in the body and the implant is no different. It's associated side effects are very similar to other contraceptives, such as headaches, nausea and breast tenderness. One fifth of all users report unusual, irregular periods, but the rest tend to report no periods at all.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
+ You don't have to remember to take a pill every day.
+ Unlike the contraceptive injection, if you are experiencing extreme side effects from the implant it can be removed and effects will stop almost immediately.
+ Unlike the pill, it isn't effected by antibiotics. Only certain types of drugs (primarily for tuberculosis) render it inefficient.
WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS?
- Some people find the presence of the implant (which can be felt in the arm and sometimes seen) squeamish.
- There are reports of the implant "migrating" around the body and an ultrasound is needed to detect it's whereabouts. However, this is due to incorrect insertion, and it never goes far (perhaps two inches at most).
I know I am quite unusual, but despite being happily married I have no desire for children, so contraception is something very important to me. Like most, I started on the standard Pill but a recurring ear infection meant I was on and off antibiotics all the time (which render the Pill ineffective) and I sought a solution. For several years, every three months I had the contraceptive injection and was very happy with it. However, when I complained to my doctor about the three-month renewals she suggested I try the implant, which lasts for three years.
Aside from preventing pregnancy, what I want from my contraceptive is for my periods to stop, as I suffer badly. The contraceptive implant stopped my periods dead and after three years of blissful relief, I certainly didn't want them back. I was assured the implant does stop periods, though it is not as certain as the injection. I decided to try it, assured I could resume the injection if I was one of the fifth of implant users who don't experience their periods being stopped.
After a doctor move and him unsuccessfully trying to persuade me to try the coil (the insertion is too invasive for me), I was prescribed the implant. I'm not sure if this is always the case, but I was given a prescription and had to collect it from the chemist myself.
This gave me the opportunity to inspect it, and if you have the chance yourself I would highly recommend it. The insertion device is, in short, terrifying - I took one look at the six-inch long tube and panicked. On inspection, the actual implant is very small (under two inches), but having seen the insertion device I was more than a little panicked when my appointment rolled around. It looked like a torture device.
However, I was told immediately that I would be receiving a local anaesthetic for the actual insertion, which relaxed me. My procedure was carried out by a doctor and a nurse and it is recommended you check the credentials of anyone inserting the implant, as incorrect insertion can be both painful and cause the "migration" of the site of the implant.
I was asked which hand I wrote with (right) and the decision was made to insert it into my left arm. I had to take my top off fully, not just roll up the sleeves, so wear a vest top or something else sleeveless. I then had the anaesthetic injected, which stung slightly but nothing more.
The actual insertion was quite painful, but I think more due to a heavy-handed doctor who squeezed the skin very hard to get enough fat to insert into. I could feel this as it was outside the anaesthetic, but the actual insertion part I felt nothing at all - I didn't even know it had happened. There was a couple of drops of blood on the skin but no pain, the anaesthetic worked a charm.
I was given a credit-card like identity card showing the date of insertion and when it was due to be removed. I was advised to keep this in my purse, but when I (inevitably) lost it I was told it was not important as the insertion date is on your medical records and you will be notified when the three years expires. Try not to lose it, though!
I was then told the anaesthetic would wear off after an hour or so and was free to go. For the rest of the day I felt no pain whatsoever and sensation return to the area that had been numbed. I did notice a bruise had developed at the actual point of insertion but this was not painful in itself or when touched, and faded overnight.
With the insertion over and (manhandling doctor aside) painless, the big test for me was whether it would stop my periods. It took a couple of days (where the contraceptive injection stopped my periods the same day) but my periods did indeed stop. I had the implant inserted on the first day of my period as it usual, but if you are sure you're not pregnant this can be done at any time. It was decided we would wait for the start of my period as I hadn't had bleeding for several years due to the injection and it was best to check all was "still working" (!). Those two days of bleeding were their usual nightmare but it did stop eventually.
It is over a year since I had my implant inserted and I'm very happy with it. I can feel it under my skin, which doesn't bother me, but it can't be seen. To feel it I have to really search for it, so I don't think anyone would find it by accident, it certainly isn't prominent.
However, I have experienced some extremely light bleeding a couple of times. This lasts for a day or two, but is not a real period - no pain and there is only the merest smudge of red liquid visible, it certainly isn't a problem. I did get a complete stop with the injection but as the implant does not need a three month renewal and this bleeding is infrequent and not painful, I think it's a fair trade. The bleeding is certainly not enough to warrant a tampon, even the smallest type, and a pantyliner copes effortlessly. I did think I should mention this bleeding, however, for the sake of accuracy.
As for the other side effects, I've experienced nothing. For weeks at a time I forget I even have the implant in, so used I am to being constantly protected from pregnancy and not having periods. It's utter bliss having this and not having to renew it every three months. All the benefits of the injection without the four-times-a-year doctors trip.
I have not had the implant removed myself but a friend has, and she said it was painless, simple and over in half an hour. I will update this review when the time does come for me to have it removed, but I anticipate no problems. The local anaesthetic certainly worked first time and as I can still feel the implant locating it won't be a problem, so it should be simple.
All in all, an excellent method of contraceptive for those looking for long-term protection, no periods and no doctors trips. When this implant expires, I will have no qualms about replacing it. An ingenious little device.
The Depo-Provera injection is a reliable long term contraception. It stops pregnancy in 3 main ways; by preventing release of the egg, preventing sperm entering the womb, and making the womb less receptive for any fertilised eggs to implant into. Getting the injection is simple and free, make an appointment with your nurse. This injection lasts for 3 months and heres some good news, you don't get a period! I've not had a period for over a year now. The depo injection has so far been the best contraceptive for me, I used to forget to take the pill some times, but with this, you don't have that worry!
I know, if you're anything like me, you'll be thinking 'stopping my periods completely surely can't be that healthy', i used to think that, but have a word with your nurse or GP and they will reasure you that your period will be back to normal after a few months of stopping the injection.
Like all hormonal contraceptives, there can be side effects, such as weight gain (as can the pill), however, your nurse keeps track of your weight every time you get the injection (I, myself haven't put on weight, so doesn't happen to everyone!). With long term use of this injection, and I'm talking years, theres an increased chance of osteoporosis due to the decrease of oestorgen levels caused by the depo injection, but your nurse/GP will talk you through all this.
Anyway, it is definately a contraception i'd recommend. If you're looking for a long term contraceptive and don't want to have to remember a pill, or don't want the commitment of three years by having the implant, then this is the perfect choice.
Please remember, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so stay safe.
For women who do not wish to get pregnant these days there are so many choices in contraception and many of them like the pill carry well known health risks. What many people do not realise is that women are only fertile for a few days per month so why should we take risks with our health or use unpleasant devices all month when there is another option. Natural family planning is practised by many millions of people world wide and, when used correctly, can be as effective as most forms of contraception used today. There are no risks to health and it is very easy to do. For full details of how effective this method is take a look at one of the many natural family planning web sites such as http://www.aldred.demon.co.uk/nfp/, this site shows that when used properly this method is 99% effetive which is only slightly lower than the pill! There are many ovulation prediction kits on the market however over the course of a few months you can end up spending quite a lot of money. There is a much simpler solution and all you will require is a thermometer, it has to be one designed for taking basal body temperatures and these are available free from your local family planning clinic or via your Dr, I believe that you can also purchase them from chemists. Once you have a thermometer you need to go to http://www.lifecyclesoft.com Once at this site you can download, for free, the software that you need for tracking your fertility. The program also gives you all the information that you need to get you started, tells you what to do and when to do it. Once you are recording your data you can print out charts etc which, should the need arise, you can then take to your Dr to show how your cycles are progressing. You get free support on how to use the package and another really important aspect of the package is the discussion boards that you can use to compare notes with and ask support from others. This is an excellent package w
hich gives you all the information, advice and support that you need to get you on the way to understanding your own fertility and its free. This package can also be used by women who do wish to become pregnant. If you wish to avoid pregnancy when the software advises who that you are fertile you have a choice, you can either avoid having intercourse or you can take precautions such as a cap or condom. For those of you who are sceptical this method is tried and tested and used the world over it also takes the pressure off intercourse because you know when you are truly safe.