What are the side effects of having an expired Implanon still in your arm?

What are the side effects of having an expired Implanon still in your arm?

The side effects of having an expired Implanon still in your arm include:

  • Decreased effectiveness: An expired Implanon may not provide the same level of contraception as when it was within its active period. This increases the risk of unintended pregnancy.
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding: Some individuals may experience changes in their menstrual cycle, including irregular or unpredictable bleeding patterns.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Expired Implanon may lead to hormonal imbalances. This can cause symptoms such as mood swings, changes in libido, or acne. These changes can also contribute to menstrual irregularities. 
  • Increased risk of complications: There is a potential risk of infection or other complications when a foreign object remains in the body past its expiration date.

The most common thing to happen if you leave an expired Implanon in your arm is an unplanned pregnancy, as the expired Implanon will no longer work as an effective contraceptive and the chances of getting pregnant will significantly increase. 

However, such pregnancy cases on expired Implanon are not frequently reported. Although this contraceptive comes with an expiry date after 2-3 years of implantation, studies have suggested that it can remain intact for another 2 years, making it a total of 5 years of successful contraception. 

However, leaving it in your arm for longer than 5 years can also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy because of the possible hormonal disturbance (1). This is why it’s best to get Implanon removed from your arm once it expires. 

Leaving it longer can also increase the risk of bacterial infection. Such bacterial infections can spread quite quickly and can give rise to a number of health risks. 

How to ensure the safe and effective use of Implanon?

Here are some important points for the safe and effective use of Implanon: (2,3)

  • Implanon should only be inserted and removed by a trained healthcare professional to ensure correct placement and minimize any potential complications.
  • Properly attend follow-up visits as recommended by your healthcare provider. These visits help monitor the placement of Implanon, assess its effectiveness, and address any concerns or questions you may have.
  • Familiarize yourself with the possible side effects of Implanon, such as changes in menstrual bleeding patterns or other hormonal effects. If you experience any unusual symptoms or side effects, consult your healthcare provider.
  • Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider regarding your experiences with Implanon. Share any concerns, changes in health, or medications you may be taking, as they can impact the effectiveness and safety of the implant.

Alternative contraceptive methods to Implanon

If you are considering alternative contraceptive methods to implants like Implanon, there are several options available (4,5). One common option is the birth control pill, which is taken orally every day to prevent pregnancy. 

Another option is the contraceptive patch, which is applied to the skin and releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. The contraceptive ring is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks at a time. 

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are also popular, with both hormonal and non-hormonal options available. Additionally, barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps provide a physical barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

Each of these methods has its own benefits and considerations, so it’s important to discuss with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable alternative for you based on your lifestyle, health, and personal preferences.

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Mummert T, Gnugnoli DM. Ectopic Pregnancy. 2022 Aug 8. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30969682. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539860


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