Healthy living

Contraceptive implants


Implanon is a contraceptive implant that slowly releases the hormone progestogen into a woman’s body over a period of 3 years. It is a small plastic rod, about the size of a matchstick, which is inserted just under the skin on the inside of the upper arm. The rod is very flexible and hard to see once in place.

It stops the female body releasing an egg each month and also makes the mucous in the cervix thicker so sperm cannot get through.

Because the implant is put in place under a local anaesthetic, you need to go to your doctor or health service.


  • It is very convenient as it lasts 3 years.
  • It does not contain oestrogen and may be safer for some women, including smokers.
  • It is not affected by body weight, stomach upsets or medications.
  • It can be removed, with fertility returning after a month for most women.

Things to consider

  • Many women have very light periods or may completely stop having periods.
  • It is not suitable for women who may be pregnant, have liver disease or extremely heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • It may cause side effects such as irregular bleeding or painful periods, nausea or mood swings. If this happens, see your doctor.
  • The initial cost is rather high, although it is not expensive when averaged over 3 years.
  • Implanon can be used while breastfeeding (but check with your doctor first).
  • Implanon is a very effective contraceptive, but will not protect you against STIs or HIV.

Where to get help

Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program, Public Health

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