Skip to topmenuSkip to main navigationSkip to main content

Hormonal implant

photo of a Contraceptive implant

The hormonal implant prevents pregnancy. It is a small rod in your upper arm, about as big as a matchstick. The implant is just as reliable as the pill. Another word for hormonal implant is contraceptive implant.

How does it work?

A doctor places the implant in your upper arm. Each day, the rod releases a small dose of hormones into your body. In this way, it protects against pregnancy for a maximum of 3 years.

What you need to do

  • Ask your doctor if this implant is suitable for you.
  • Get a specially trained doctor to place the implant in your upper arm.
  • You can leave the implant in place for 3 years.  

Where can you get the implant?

Go to a specially trained doctor to have the implant fitted. Ask your own doctor if they can do it. Or ask Sense where you can go to have it done.

Your period

You can’t postpone your period with the contraceptive implant. Your period may become more irregular or stop altogether.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • You only need to think about contraception once every 3 years.
  • It's very reliable: you can’t forget the implant, like you can forget the pill.
  • The implant can be removed easily and having it fitted is almost painless.
  • The contraceptive implant is even reliable if you’re vomiting or you have diarrhoea.
  • Periods are less painful or stop altogether.


  • It has to be fitted by a specially trained doctor. 
  • Some women have side effects.
  • You can’t plan or postpone your period with an implant. You won’t know when you’ll have a bleed. You may not having any vaginal bleeding at all.
  • The implant doesn’t protect against STIs.

Are there any side effects?

When the implant has just been fitted, you might have some side effects. That’s because your body has to get used to the hormones the rod contains. Possible side effects are:

  • irregular blood loss
  • headaches
  • acne
  • hair loss
  • painful breasts
  • low moods
  • weight gain

Usually, the side effects disappear after a couple of months. If you’re having trouble with side effects, get in touch with your doctor or a Sense clinic.

When do you run the risk of pregnancy?

If you are too late getting your next implant (you wait longer than 3 years)


Remember: the contraceptive implant doesn’t protect against STIs. To prevent STIs, you should use condoms.