Several types of contraceptive implants are available to women who wish to use birth control. An implant may be placed in a woman's uterus or in her arm. Some contraceptive implants contain hormones, while others do not. No implants contain estrogen, which makes them a good choice for women who are older or who have heart problems.
The length of effectiveness varies among contraceptive implants. Implants that go in the arm last between three and five years, while uterine implants can last up to 12 years. Some types of implants are meant to have permanent effects.
Interuterine devices, or IUDs, are common types of contraceptive implants. In the United States, two types of IUDs are available. One type contains copper, while the other contains progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone. Both types of IUDs block sperm so that it cannot fertilize an egg. The IUD that contains progestin also prevents ovulation.
Implanon is a type of contraceptive implant that is inserted into a woman's forearm. The implant is very small, about the size of a match. Like a type of IUD, Implanon contains progestin, which prevents ovulation, thickens a woman's cervical mucous, and thins the uterine lining.
Women who do not want to have children or who are finished bearing children may choose permanent types of contraceptive implants. In the United States, Essure is a type of permanent contraceptive implant. The device is inserted into a woman's fallopian tubes. Scar tissue forms over the device, which prevents the egg from traveling to the uterus, where it can meet with sperm. It may take several months for Essure to take effect.
A woman who chooses Essure will still get a monthly period. While some women who choose to get an IUD or Implanon still get periods, most women stop menstruating. A woman who gets a permanent contraceptive implant may also wish to get an IUD so that she stops getting periods as well.
Unlike other forms of birth control, such as pills, the patch, or the vaginal ring, a woman needs to pay attention to her contraceptive implant only once every few years, after the initial insertion and follow-up check-up. Although she won't have to pay a monthly cost, as she would with prescription birth control, the initial price of the implant is usually higher, as she has to pay for the doctor's appointment as well as the device. She will also have to visit her doctor to have the contraceptive removed.