Have you ever used a contraceptive implant?

Have you got questions about Implanon bleeding?

Women have an array of options when it comes to contraception in Australia, and there is a contraceptive solution to suit every woman. These include (but are not limited to) the combined (oestrogen/progestogen) oral contraceptive pill, the Nuvaring vaginal contraceptive ring, the progesterone-only pill (mini-pill), the Mirena intrauterine device, the vaginal diaphragm, the Implanon contraceptive implant, and condoms.

Condoms are the only contraceptive device that currently protects women (and men) from contracting sexually transmissible infections.

All of the hormonally based contraceptives used by women have some possible side effects. Some of these are beneficial for many women (e.g. less pain during menstruation; lighter bleeding), whereas others may be troublesome or unexpected, and some solutions are not suitable for all women.

One highly effective contraceptive option is the Implanon contraceptive implant. The Implanon offers a long-term contraceptive solution, however there are side effects many women experience, including changes to bleeding patterns.

What is the Implanon?

Implanon a soft, plastic stick which is inserted by your doctor under the skin of the inside surface of the upper arm. It slowly releases the hormone progestogen into the body. The implant is 4cm in length and may be felt once inserted but not obviously seen, it remains in place for up to three years before being removed and replaced if desired. The implant is injected following the use of a local anaesthetic, so its insertion and removal is virtually painless.

Progestogen is a synthetic hormone that mimics progesterone, a natural female hormone that is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and placenta when a woman is pregnant. It helps prepare the body for conception and helps to maintain a pregnancy. It also, alongside oestrogen, regulates the natural menstrual cycle.

The progestogen Implanon releases is similar to the progesterone released by the ovaries, and it prevents the natural monthly release of an egg. Without an egg, you can not become pregnant. It also thickens the mucus in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to pass through.

This contraceptive is more than 99.9% effective, preventing pregnancy from seven days after insertion for the next three years or until removed, whichever occurs first.

There are numerous benefits of using IMPLANON NXT:

  • A most effective form of contraception
  • Lasts three years from its insertion
  • Many women ultimately experience much lighter (or no) vaginal bleeding
  • Menstruation is less painful
  • Safe to use while breastfeeding
  • May improve acne
  • A suitable solution for women who can’t take oestrogen
  • Easy to remove
  • Fast return to natural fertility


Every medication has possible side effects, and some women using IMPLANON NXT may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Skin changes
  • Mood changes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bleeding issues

Most of these will subside over time and, unlike combined hormonal contraceptives, Implanon has not been proven to cause any weight gain.

Hormonal contraceptives are not suitable for women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis or who have significant liver disease, have a blood clotting disorder, very high blood pressure, or who have demonstrated hypersensitivity to progestogen in the past.

Bleeding on IMPLANON NXT

IMPLANON bleeding changes are a common side effect, and its use has been associated with erratic bleeding patterns. It’s important to understand what to expect.

Most progesterone-only contraceptives (including the Mini-Pill, Mirena IUD, and IMPLANON) will impact natural bleeding patterns. Clinical trials have demonstrated that for women with previously regular cycles:

  • 20% of women experience very light or no period (amenorrhoea)
  • 60% experience spotting
  • 20% experience prolonged or frequent spotting or heavier bleeding

Regardless of your bleeding pattern, the contraceptive is still effective.

What to Expect

If you are considering using the IMPLANON NXT contraceptive implant, most likely your usual bleeding patterns will change. While prolonged or frequent patterns of irregular bleeding are common initially, it will settle for half of women affected after three months or so, and more women will ultimately experience very light or no period bleeding at all.

Your periods may become longer or shorter on Implanon. Some women will simply experience a brownish discharge at the time they’d expect to have a period.

If you find IMPLANON bleeding is severe or troublesome on an ongoing basis, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to address this, or you can opt to have the implant removed. Other forms of contraception including the Mirena IUD and the Nuvaring vaginal ring are less likely to cause spotting or heavier bleeding. Your doctor can advise you as to which solution will best suit your body and your needs.

Contact Gynaecology Centres Australia

Gynaecology Centres Australia offers women’s health services, including advice and prescriptions for various contraceptive options. We have modern, confidential clinics in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Gosford and Queanbeyan providing women of all ages with safe, supportive, and compassionate care for all women’s health concerns, from contraception to abortion and miscarriage management. Please call our clinic on (02) 9585 9599 or contact us today via our website.