It’s about time we talked about the implant and all the horror stories that come with it
‘I was told I’d suffer a stroke if I didn’t have it taken out’
by Lucy Woodham
Since recent studies have shown the pill raises girls' risk of developing depression by 25 per cent, women are becoming vocal about the negative impact contraceptives can have on their mind and body. So it's about time we start having the same conversations about other forms of contraception, particularly the implant.
There’s no disputing the implant can be the best form of contraception for some women. Every woman should make her own decision on what contraception will work best with their body – just because one woman has problems with their pill, IUD or implant, doesn’t mean another woman will.
But from the surgery to insert or remove the implant going wrong, to horror stories of year long periods, here are the girls who swear they’ll never have the plastic in them ever again.
Hannah, 19, lasted six months
The implant was the worst decision I ever made. I was on for over four months, suffered debilitating migraines and finally when I reached crisis point and asked my GP what to do, I was told I'd be likely to suffer a stroke if I didn't have it taken out.
My vision started behaving strangely, I couldn't look at any level of light. I was getting strobing across my head like tiny zig-zags. When I went to the GP I was so shocked.
Jessica, 21, lasted 18 months
I got on the Nexplanon birth control in December of 2014. I was told it would help with my menstrual cramps and lighten, if not completely stop, my flow. I experienced the exact opposite. I had a menstrual period that lasted for 90 days and when I called the Dr she assured me it would get better. I had migraines and mood swings and severe sharp pains in my arm where it was inserted for a year. That's when I started noticing blood sugar spikes, fainting, cramps, numbness and tingling in my left arm, left side of my neck and face, and fingers. My periods were still just as heavy and just as painful as before but were now accompanied by severe anxiety attacks to the point where I constantly felt like I was going to die.
I went to my general physician and she agreed to take it out. I thought I was finally going to get the relief I so desperately wanted. He assured me that even though I had to be in an OR for the procedure that I would be able to remain awake and alert for the procedure and that it would only take about 20 minutes. They gave me a local anesthetic and made the incision with the help of a guided X-Ray and found that it was deeper than it should have been. After about 45 minutes of me laying there and the surgeon cutting away at my skin I felt an intense pain and screamed and they had to put me under. Turns out, the pediatrician who had inserted it did so incorrectly and inserted it into my muscle tissue which then grew back around it and that it why it couldn't be palpated.
When I woke up they informed me that the 20 minute procedure took over 2 hours and due to the complications I would have a longer recovery time and a larger scar. I still have a scar and the pain and suffering I went through was not at all worth it.
Tyler, 19, lasted two years
I had a period for four months straight and it turned me into an absolute psycho. I had to beg them to take it out because as well as bleeding for what felt like centuries, having to deal with emotions from hell, I also gained so much weight and had no sex drive whatsoever.
Once it was out it took ages to heal up, I had a good four months of it continuously bleeding. It was the worst decision I've ever made getting it put in and as soon as I got it out I went back to finally being me again.
Rhiannon, 21, lasted a year
Mine was implanted too deep and I had to have surgery to have it removed. Now have a small 'H' shaped scar on my arm, which looks like a little helicopter landing pad. It made me constantly moody and I would be on my period for a month and then off it for a month.
Amanda, 24, lasted four years
It was horrible for me. I had it for the full four years and it was hell. I'm actually too scared to get it taken out which I know is bad but it's just still sitting in there, a plastic stick drained of hormones. On it, I gained like 30 pounds and had zero sex drive, like I was physically repulsed by my boyfriend's touch. I was paranoid about everything too, it felt like full-on psychosis.
Charr, 22, lasted six years
I got the implant taken out and put back in. The first year of the new implant was fine, same as before. Then I started getting these horrible pains and periods that would last two weeks at a time, and I'd spot the whole time I was off. The only immediate option they gave me was take the pill on top. Now if I miss my pill for a day that same period comes back. The implant is still in my arm and doesn't expire until October this year but fuck knows what will happen to me when it comes out, I'll probably grow a beard.
Megan-Marie, 18, lasted three months
I had it inserted at the start of March. I suffered with extreme bruising for two weeks, followed by bleeding constantly everyday. I have throbbing pains from it which means I can't lean on my arm in certain positions, my mood swings are awful along with suffering with extremely low sex drive. I've always had quite naturally clear skin, and within a week or two I stated getting breakouts on my chin area which I'm still getting.
I'm having it removed on Monday.