The Nexplanon Implant and Endometriosis
The Nexplanon implant is a form of contraception. It consists of a small, thin, flexible, plastic rod that is inserted just under the skin of the upper arm by a doctor or nurse.
The implant releases a progestin hormone (a synthetic form of progesterone), called Etonogestrel, into your bloodstream. This hormone stops the ovaries from releasing eggs, thickens the mucus in the cervix and changes the lining of the uterus. Essentially, the implant will stop a person from both ovulating and menstruating.1
How can an implant help with endometriosis?
Estrogen is thought to encourage endometriosis tissue to develop. The aim of the implant is to control or stop estrogen being produced in your body. In limiting this estrogen, the growth of endometriosis deposits is suppressed, and inflammation caused by the disease may also be relieved.2
What to expect during the procedure
My own experience with the implant firstly consisted of 3 separate doctors appointments. The first appointment was to discuss the implant, the second to book in and discuss the timing of the procedure in relation to my period, and the third was the actual procedure (though this may differ for others).
For the procedure, the doctor will ask you to lay on your back with your non-dominant arm bent out and upwards. Next, they will clean the area on the upper arm where the implant will be placed and numb it with a local anesthetic. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the implant will be inserted under the skin using the device the implant is packaged in. Your arm will then be kept bandaged for the next 24-48 hours.
For me, the procedure didn’t hurt at all and all I could really feel was pressure on my arm. However, although the bandage is there to primarily help reduce bruising, I would say to expect a lot of bruising!
My experience of life with the implant
I had my implant put in on the second day of my period. The day after the procedure, my periods became so heavy that I was near to passing out with the blood loss. I did notice my periods were much lighter by the following month though.
During the first month, my mood was very unstable, I became anxious, my acne began to return, I had a lot of headaches and breast tenderness, and experienced a significant drop in my libido. By the second month, these side effects greatly reduced.
Unfortunately, bar a few weeks without bleeding in the first month, I began to bleed continuously and it became much heavier again. I was put on a progesterone-only pill which reduced the pain a little, but the bleeding remained the same and lasted in total for 14 months. For me, sadly, the implant didn’t do anything other than exacerbate my periods.
Please note, this is my own personal experience of the implant. Not everyone will have the same experience.
Remember, the decision to try a treatment is down to you, and you only.
Have you ever experienced one or more of these side effects from your hormone therapy?