Nexplanon Is A Popular Birth Control Choice. We Explore Whether It’s Worth The Hype

Picking birth control is an extremely personal choice, and many factors come into play when figuring out a method that works. Recently, Nexplanon has become increasingly popular.

Nexplanon, also called the implant, is placed just under the skin in your arm and lasts for three to five years. Many choose it because it’s easier than remembering a pill every day, having an IUD placed, or going to the doctor every 12 weeks for a shot. It’s a low-maintenance option the size of a matchstick.

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So, our writers shared their experiences with Nexplanon. We must emphasize: no one experience is universal. These are their personal experiences with the implant. Talk to your doctor before deciding on the right birth control for you!


Emily’s Experience

Updated: I just got my Nexplanon removed after having it in for a little over 2 months because my side effects honestly aren’t worth it. I’m having almost menopausal hot flashes (which, at 27, I should not be experiencing) and I’m getting super bad night sweats — on top of that, I’m exhausted all the time and find myself not sleeping well. Well, it was worth a try — keep reading for more about my experience and to read about Sam’s experience. She loves it!

I’ve never had Nexplanon before; the last type of birth control I used was the pill and it worked well for me. My side effects were minimal and the pill actually helped with my depression. But I hated needing to remember to take it every day. My schedule was not at all regular when I was on the pill — some days I’d work super early in the morning and others I’d work late at night. On top of that, I love to travel, and remembering to take it at the same time despite frequently being in different time zones was just stressful.

When I first heard about Nexplanon, a birth control implant that you get in your arm, I was intrigued. It lasts for about 3 years and you just get it put in — no remembering to take a pill every day and I’m still protected from pregnancy. Sounded like a win! So I scheduled an appointment at my local Women’s Health Clinic to get the implant.

I should preface this by saying that I am not a squeamish person. I have 7 tattoos, 8 piercings, and I’ve never had a problem getting shots or donating blood. But I’ve also never had surgery or gotten anything put under my skin before, and knowing that was about to happen must have freaked me out, because my blood pressure was high when I went in. So my doctor got me a tootsie pop to calm me down (tysm, Dr. Marguerite).

The docs and I chatted about our travels to Amsterdam while I got shot up with a local anesthetic. And that shot kinda hurt, which surprised me — again, I’ve never had a problem getting a shot before! I asked my doctor to give me another one as I still had some sensation after the first shot. I also could definitely just have been psyching myself out. But she gave me another, just to be safe.

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From then on I felt nothing (thank god). The whole process took about 5-10 minutes from start to finish and I was able to drive home and go about my normal activities just fine after. Later that night I experienced some vertigo, but honestly, I chalk that up to still being freaked out after having something put in my arm. 

All this happened yesterday — I just took the dressing off and my arm is still a little sore with a wicked bruise. I’ll be back in a month with an update!


I’ve had the implant in for 6 weeks now, and my side effects are weird. The biggest one is that I’m WAY sweaty, and my night sweats are out of control. I’ve never had a problem with night sweats before or sweating in general — I could do a whole workout without desperately needing a shower after (gross, I know, sorry). But now I wake up drenched in sweat every morning, and if I don’t shower daily (sometimes twice daily), I do not smell pleasant.

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Again, this has never been an issue before, and it must be due to the Nexplanon because that’s the only major change I’ve made recently. They say to give your hormones 2-3 months to stabilize, so I’ll wait another few weeks, but if this continues I’ll probably get the implant taken out because I can’t handle this…

Samantha’s Experience

I’ve had Nexplanon for about 7 years now. I’m on my second implant and have one more year until it expires. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a super busy person, so this birth control made the most sense for me and my schedule. I don’t have to think about taking a pill at a certain time or going to the doctor every few months for a shot. 

The first time I got my Nexplanon it was on the inside of my arm. My experience, from what I can remember, was quick and easy. You get numbed and they take what looks like a stapler almost to insert the implant. Once they put it in they make you feel your arm so you know that the implant is there — that part always makes me a little bit queasy, to be honest. Both times I had mine put in I experienced a large bruise around the incision point. I bruise really easily, so if you do too I would recommend taking some Arnica beforehand, which you can get at your local CVS or Walgreens. It’s a natural herb from a flower that can be used for bruises, sprains, arthritic pain, and muscle aches. My dermatologist recommended it to me for bruising and I’ve never looked back. 

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The first time I got it was because of extremely heavy periods more so than for pregnancy prevention. While it helped with my period, it made it very irregular for the first year and a half. I experienced going almost 6 months without getting my period at all and then got my period for 3 months straight. It was concerning but I was reassured that an irregular period was expected. This was really the only side effect I noticed that differed from my previous birth control, the pill. 

When my expiration date was coming up I was scared, I’m not great with needles or just anything really that punctures my skin. So the thought of someone cutting into me and pulling out this implant from my arm while I was still awake terrified me. I sat in the exam room waiting for the doctor anxious and to be honest a little nauseous. They numb you before and then go in to make a small incision with a scalpel. It’s not a big incision at all, just wide enough for them to go in and pull the thin implant out, which is about the size of a match. 

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I’m not going to lie, it was uncomfortable. I had some tissue/fat grow around my implant so they had to cut that off to pull my implant out. About half way through, my numbing started wearing off and with one snip I felt everything. My doctor had to stop and re-numb me again to proceed but they ended up getting it out. While she was working we had a light conversation to get my mind off things; I was so anxiety-ridden and the fact that I felt her cut a piece of fat in my arm had me shaking and pale. The removal process took around 15-20 minutes because we had to re-numb and stop for a few minutes. 

My implant moved down the interior of my arm about an inch so for safety reasons my doctor decided to reinsert my implant on the underside of my arm. After this, I was bandaged up and had to sit there for a few minutes to make sure I was okay to get up and walk around. 

I was so terrified about my implant moving again that I now check my implant is in place every day when I wake up and go to sleep. Most of my friends also have Nexplanon because it’s worry-free. Most of my friends had great experiences with it, but one of my friends’ implants moved into a dangerous position. She woke up one day and went to check to see if it was in place and couldn’t find it. Upon going to the doctor and trying to locate it with an ultrasound they had to switch to using an x-ray where they found it close to her bone inside of her arm. She ended up having to go see a specialist and getting her implant surgically removed under anesthesia.

Moral of the story, these things can happen, so make sure you check the placement of your implant every day and if you suddenly can’t feel it in your arm, go see a doctor right away.


Do you have Nexplanon? What has your experience been? Share with us in the comments.

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