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Implant (Nexplanon): Side Effects, Benefits and FAQs

Side Effects

The Positive

Positive “side effects”? You bet. There are actually lots of things about birth control that are good for your body as well as your sex life.

  • Doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment
  • Most women have fewer, lighter periods
  • You don’t have to worry about remembering to take it every day
  • Your birth control is taken care of for up to four years
  • Safe for smokers and those with hypertension and diabetes
  • Can be used while breastfeeding
  • Can be used by women who can’t take estrogen
  • May improve PMS, depression, and symptoms from endometriosis

The Negative

Everyone worries about negative side effects, but for many women, they’re not a problem.* And if you do experience side effects, they’ll probably go away. Remember, you’re introducing hormones into your body, so it can take a few months to adjust. Give it time.

The most common complaint:
  • Irregular bleeding, especially for the first six-12 months (This could mean spotting in between periods or having longer, heavier periods. Some women have irregular bleeding the whole time the implant is in. On the other hand, some women get no periods at all, at least for a while. A little unpredictable, but most women seem to do okay. Bottom line: you need to be okay with irregular periods if you are thinking about the implant.)
Less common side effects:
  • Acne
  • Change in appetite
  • A change in your sex drive
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Depression
  • Discoloring or scarring on the skin over the implant
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Pain where the implant was inserted
  • Sore breasts

If you have bad side effects that don’t improve after six months, talk with your provider about switching to something that works better for you. Just make sure to stay protected by starting a new method immediately. You’re worth it.

*For a very small number of women, there are risks of serious side effects.


  • How soon does the implant start working?

    The implant is effective right away if you get it during the first 5 days of your period. Otherwise use a back-up method for the first 7 days after you get it inserted.

  • I'm spotting from the implant. What can I do to stop it?

    This is a side effect that may be hard to fix, but if you’ve only had the implant for a few months or less, it could also lessen or go away on its own. Check out our Provider Perspective “Side effect spotlight: What’s up with spotting?” for more information.

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