On this page

Implant side effects

Couple sat on jetty holding hands
On this page

As with any method of birth control, the implant may cause side effects, for many women these are temporary and mild. Many women find that the advantages of the implant, such as it working for three years outweigh the disadvantages.

What are the side effects of the implant?

When you have the implant fitted you may experience a few hormonal side effects, these are temporary and are usually only felt within the first few months. After your hormone levels have settled down and your body has got used to your new method of birth control these side effects should subside.

Side effects can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Loss in sex drive

Many women also notice that:

  • Their skin breaks out in spots
  • If they already have acne that it gets worse
  • Their periods may be irregular or stop completely

Many women will see a change in their normal menstrual bleeding once they have had the implant fitted. These changes can cause women to stop using the implant as a birth control method.

 You might find that you have:

  • Longer or shorter periods
  • Spotting between your periods
  • Your periods stop
  • Your period doesn’t start when you expect it to
  • Your periods become irregular and the length of time between them changes
  • Periods are more painful than usual

In very rare cases the skin around the implant can become infected. If this happens you should talk to your GP as you may need antibiotics to treat the infection.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye on how your implant is healing and how it feels once the small incision has healed.

You should talk to you GP or a nurse at your local sexual health clinic if:

  • You can’t feel the implant
  • You think the implant has changed shape
  • The skin around the implant changes or if you feel any pain
  • You become pregnant

How effective is the implant?

The implant is more than 99% effective.* It steadily releases the hormone progestogen which prevents the release of an egg each month. It also thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to move and thins the lining of your womb making it hard for an egg to implant.

Will the implant stop me from getting an STI?

No, the implant will not stop you from catching an STI. During sexual activity and intercourse you will need to use condoms or other barrier methods of contraception.

Who can use the implant?

Most women can use the implant. During your consultation with your GP or a nurse at your local sexual health clinic they will talk to you about the implant and whether it is the right method of birth control for you.