Contraceptive implants and injections

Contraceptive implants and injections are long-acting, effective methods of contraception. They are over 99% reliable in preventing pregnancy.

The implant and the injections work in the same way: by slowly releasing a hormone called progestogen into your body. They do not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you don't want to get pregnant at the moment, and you want a really reliable type of contraception that you can forget about once it's in, this may be the ideal choice for you!

You can get an injection or implant at your GP surgery or a contraception and sexual health clinic. It will be given to you by a specially trained doctor or nurse.

Periods may change significantly in the first year of using an implant or having the injection. They will usually become irregular and may become very heavy, shorter and lighter, or stop altogether.

This often settles down after the first year, but occasionally continues for longer.

Implants

Implants inserted after October 2010 are called Nexplanon. Implants inserted before this are called Implanon. The implant is a thin flexible tube. It is implanted under the skin of your upper arm by a doctor or nurse, using a local anaesthetic to numb the area. The small wound made in your arm is closed with a dressing and does not need stitches. It's a very quick and easy procedure!

The implant works for up to three years before it needs to be replaced, so it's a great way to protect yourself against an unwanted pregnancy. You can continue to use it until you reach the menopause.

The implant can be removed at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse.

Injections

The contraceptive injection is usually given into your bottom, but sometimes into your upper arm. It's really quick to have it done, and then you can forget all about it!

Depo-Provera is the most commonly used injection in the UK and is effective for up to 12 weeks, after which another injection is given.