IUD vs IMPLANT CONTRACEPTIVE
The two highly recommended long reversible birth-controls for young women are the implants and Inter Uterine Device (IUD). In this post, I highlight what these Birth Control methods look like, how they work, their differences and side effects.
The Implants has been reported to be 99% effective and can last from 3- 5 years, depending on the brand inserted. This implant is shaped like a match-sized rod and is inserted under the skin in the upper arm. The rod is small, flexible and soft to touch.
Implants are hormonal contraceptives that work by preventing ovulation and thickening the cervix mucus to make it difficult for sperm to move. The hormone released depends on the type of implant inserted.
The One- Rod Implant often known as the Implanon Nexoplan releases etonogestrel whilst the Two- Rod Implant releases Levonorgestrel. The Nexoplan is often more expensive than the two-rod implant.
The insertion process is often quick and painless. The Doctor/Nurse starts by cleaning the upper arm and numbing the area; then using the special needle to insert the implant in the skin.
Removing the implant is also quick and painless. The area is numbed and a little incision is made for the rod to be pulled out.
Due to the hormones, the side effects differ for everyone but usually subside after a few months. The woman may have-
- Irregular Bleeding and Spotting for the first 3 – 6 months
- Lighter Periods
- Tender Breasts
- Headache and Dizziness
- Change in Mood and Appetite
This is a tiny device put into the uterus to protect pregnancies; it looks like a T-Shaped piece of flexible plastic. However, unlike the implants, the IUD has a non-hormonal option commonly known as the Copper IUD. Hence providing women with the option to choose either the hormonal or copper IUD that can last from 5 – 10 years.
Just like the Two Rod Implant, the hormonal IUD releases levonorgestrel that stops ovulation i.e. stops the eggs from leaving the ovaries, making it impossible for sperm to fertilize. It also thickens the cervix mucus, making it difficult for the sperm to move.
The copper IUD gets its protection from the copper as it also makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.
The insertion process happens to be the scariest part of the birth control because it seems a bit invasive, but the process usually takes less than 5 minutes.
The Doctor/ Nurse use a speculum to open the vagina and then the special inserter to put the IUD through the opening of the cervix and into the uterus.
The string of the IUD that is 1 /2 inches long comes out of the vagina so that you can easily insert your finger into your cervix to ascertain if it’s intact and also allow for easy removal when you are ready. The string is not visible and your partner will probably not be able to feel during intercourse.
Once the IUD is inserted, a sharp pain that lasts for 1-2 minutes is felt. Some women feel dizzy during or right after the IUD is inserted- so it is advisable to go with someone or rest adequately before leaving the clinic.
After the insertion, some women may experience serious cramping/backaches. This can be reduced by over the counter pain medications
There are also chances of spotting after but this almost goes away in 3-6 months.
Lighter Periods or no period at all are experienced by some women who use hormonal IUD; they also tend to have lighter period cramps. However, the Copper IUD may lead to heavier periods and a worsened cramp that reduces over time.
With Birth Control, remember that everyone has a different reaction, so you need to be patient to find one that works best for you and your lifestyle. I started with the two- rods implant but kept spotting for a month; which prompted me to change to the copper IUD. This increased my period cramps for the first 3 months but I have been on it for almost 2 years and I have no complaints.
So please speak to your doctor and learn the different types. Be patient as it might take a while for your body to adjust. Also, keep in mind that the long-term birth control does not protect against STDs; so ensure to use a condom.