Life has enough small bothers and annoyances – it makes sense to simplify one’s daily routine as much as possible.
It’s an approach many women are taking with their birth control.
Umer Hashmi, MD, a family medicine doctor with Trinity Health, says advances in contraception have given more women more options to choose from, including methods that can almost be inserted and forgotten.
IUDs have long been available, giving long-term protection that lasts up to 10 years. More recently, birth control implants like Nexplanon have emerged.
Nexplanon is a small, thin implant about the size of a match stick. Unlike an IUD, which is inserted into a women’s cervix, Nexplanon goes into a patient’s arm, and is inserted by a healthcare provider.
“It’s placed under the skin of the inner, upper arm, just above the bicep,” Dr. Hashmi said. “It’s not a complicated procedure. We numb the skin and put the device in.”
Nexplanon prevents pregnancy for three years. Another advantage is its effectiveness. “It’s 99 percent effective, compared to pills which are 88 percent to 90 percent,” Dr. Hashmi noted. “The biggest problem with the pills is that you might forget to take them. With Nexplanon, once it’s put in, you don’t have to worry about it.”
Nexplanon works by emitting a steady, low dose of hormone into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. The hormone stops an egg from being released by the ovaries and prevents sperm from reaching the egg.
As with most other long-term contraceptive devices, it is easily reversible.
“Nexplanon must be removed by the end of the third year. We can take it out or, if you wish to continue preventing pregnancy, we can replace it with a new implant,” Dr. Hashmi explains. “If you decide you want to get pregnant before the three-year period is up, we can just remove it.”
According to the makers of the implant, the most common side effect is a change in normal menstrual patterns. In studies, one out of 10 women stopped using the implant because of an unfavorable change in their pattern.
“A few of my patients have experienced abnormal bleeding,” Dr. Hashmi said, “but most have responded favorably. They like the simplicity and the fact that it’s effective. Most find it quite comfortable.”
The following Trinity Health providers are also credentialed to perform Nexplanon procedures:
Gloria Berg, CNM; Erica Riordan, CNM; and Parul Tangri, MD.