Implantable birth control is a contraceptive method utilizing hormone implants placed under the skin in the arm. The hormone in the implant is similar to the hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle. It prevents pregnancy by keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs and preventing the sperm from joining with an egg.

Implantable birth control is reversible and effective for up to three years. This method of birth control does not require daily pills and does not require anything to be inserted before intercourse.

Side effects include irregular bleeding, irregular intervals between periods, longer menstrual flow, spotting between periods, or no bleeding. In most cases, these side effects will stabilize within nine to twelve months. Other side effects may include headaches, appetite changes, weight gain or loss, sore breasts, nausea, acne, hair loss or increased facial hair, and enlarged ovaries. There may also be a slightly higher risk of heart attacks or stroke, especially for smokers. There also may be a higher risk of non-cancerous growths of the liver and blood clots or inflammation of the veins.

For more information on this topic, visit The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.