Nexplanon is an etonogestrel implant that prevents ovulation, and in turn prevent pregnancy. While used by women as a form of contraception, it is known to have unfavorable side effects on the menstrual cycle.
What is Nexplanon?
Nexplanon is an implant, usually implanted into the skin of the upper arm, and is used as a form of medicinal contraception that releases the hormone etonogestrel. This hormone effectively prevents the release of an egg from the ovary in order to prevent pregnancy from happening, and is 99% effective.
Nexplanon can also cause changes in the cervical mucus and uterine lining, which can make it more difficult for sperm to reach the uterus and decreasing chances of a fertilized egg attaching to the uterus. Nexplanon is implanted and the hormone is released gradually into the body, and it can be used for up to 3 years as contraception in the body.
The timing of the insertion of nexplanon is important. Nexplanon should be inserted within the first seven days of the menstrual cycle or while on oral contraceptives. You must do a routine pregnancy test before insertion to ensure that you are not pregnant.
What Are Its Side Effects?
The most common side effects of nexplanon are the ones that affect your menstrual cycle. Nexplanon can cause a change in the pattern of your menstrual bleeding during your period. Menstrual bleeding patterns may suddenly occur more frequently, with longer or shorter bleeding experienced during your period or no bleeding occurring at all. The time between your menstrual periods may also vary and change, and you may experience some spotting in between periods as well.
For some women, menstrual bleeding might stop altogether. This is also nothing to be concerned about. In this case, the ovaries are resting and abstaining from releasing an egg every month, keeping the uterine lining thin.
There are other common side effects related to your menstrual cycle that you might experience if you use nexplanon. Apart from the changes in menstrual bleeding patterns, nexplanon can cause mood swings, weight gain, headaches, acne, and depression. Nexplanon can, in effect, amplify symptoms of PMS and your menstrual period by making their symptoms worse. You may also experience stomach pain, breast tenderness, and vaginal itching or discharge.
Nexplanon can also cause more painful periods, and affect the reproductive organs as well. Vaginitis is another known side effect that causes the vagina to become inflamed. There is also a chance of ovarian cysts developing, but this may be treated. Women also sometimes experience pain, bruising, or swelling at the site of the insertion. Many women choose to stop using the implant because of these changes. Once the implant is removed, your menstrual cycles should return to the way they were before.
While menstrual changes are relatively common among women using the hormonal implants, every woman’s body operates differently and it’s also perfectly normal to not experience any irregular changes either. Every woman is different, and it all depends on each individual.
So Are There Any Risks?
There is the risk of issues surrounding the insertion of the implant and its removal. If the implant is inserted improperly you may be able to become pregnant. Locating and removing the implant can even be difficult if the implant is not inserted correctly.
It is also advised that if you become pregnant while using nexplanon, there is a higher risk of the pregnancy becoming ectopic as a result. Other than that, experiencing differences in the pattern of your menstrual cycle is normal while using nexplanon, although it is important to keep an eye on the side effects to watch out for anything that might indicate a possible pregnancy or a serious reaction.
Women shouldn’t go ahead with the nexplanon implant if they are already experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding. If your menstrual bleeding becomes severely heavy and prolonged, you should seek a doctor’s advice.