As a reproductive woman, sometimes choosing which pregnancy prevention method to use can be a grueling task. Remember, though, that individuals react differently, and it's up to you to figure out what works best for you. Here, we discuss the mini pill and the contraceptive implant.
What Are They?
The implant is a rod that's typically the size of a toothpick. Your doctor will insert it in your upper arm, on the inner part. It is much more like a mini pill because it uses only chemical progesterone to avoid pregnancy without estrogen.
Birth control pills are a typical dosage of progestin and estrogen (synthetic hormones) that you take orally every day to avert pregnancy. The mini pill is a less common version and only contains progestin.
How Do They Work?
For the implant, after numbing the area, the doctor implants the rod using a special needle. A bandage is then placed on the spot for a few days, during which it may be sore. After that, if you touch the area, you will feel the implant just beneath your skin. It releases ample etonogestrel every day, a type of human-made hormone progesterone, to prevent you from becoming pregnant.
Both the implant and the pill work by slowing your pituitary gland, thus preventing your ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). Progestin, the main ingredient in both the implant and the mini pill, thickens the cervix's mucus, preventing sperm from entering the uterus. In a few rare cases, it also inhibits implanting of a fertilized egg into the uterus.
Both the mini pill and the implant will reduce your menstrual flow. Sometimes, you may not experience a period at all. Experiencing a lighter period means you lose less blood and retain more red blood cells, thus reducing your risk of anemia. Also, upon removal, in either case, you can get pregnant almost immediately.
For the implant:
- It is a highly effective birth control method. Fewer than 1 out of 100 women fall pregnant.
- The meds in one implant are adequate to protect for three years without any problems.
- Removal can be done at any time.
- If you get the implant inserted within the first five days of your menstrual period, it becomes effective immediately.
- It is low maintenance; once it’s placed, you need not worry about it for the next three years.
- In some cases, it relieves dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia.
- It minimizes pelvic inflammatory disease risk as microbes are prevented from ascending into the uterus from the vagina due to the thick cervical mucus.
For the mini pill:
- If used correctly, at the same time daily, less than one out of a hundred women will experience an unplanned pregnancy.
Both the mini pill and the implant may have side effects that include an upset stomach and breast tenderness. Other possible side effects include mood changes (sometimes even depression), headaches, and changes in menstruation. Neither the birth control pills nor the implant methods offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
For the implant:
- In some cases, interaction with certain antibiotics, St. John’s wort, or anticonvulsants may occur.
For the mini pill:
- Consumption must be at the same time daily for it to be effective.
- Typical use, meaning those who forget to take the mini pill daily, increases the chances of pregnancy to nine out of a hundred women annually.
- If you have diarrhea or are vomiting, you'll have to use an alternative birth control method for seven days after, regardless of the perfect use of the mini pill.
- In rare cases, particularly for women who smoke and those over thirty-five, using birth control pills may cause blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
Why Progestin-Only Implants & Mini Pills?
They are an ideal choice for women who:
- Do not want to take a birth control measure that interferes with sexual spontaneity.
- Suffer from anemia caused by heavy menstrual flow.
- Are breastfeeding as it does not affect the milk supply.
- Have painful, heavy menstruation flow as progestin reduces cramping and heavy bleeding.
- Have migraines that are worsened by estrogen combination methods.
- Require either long or short-term birth control methods that can be stopped at any time.