What is Norplant?
Norplant is a type of birth control that regulates your hormones
. It prevents you from ovulating. If you don't ovulate, you can't get pregnant. back to top
How does Norplant work?
Norplant is a lot like Depo-Provera—it's a hormone that keeps you from ovulating. Norplant is a bit different because it's a group of tiny rods that contain the hormone. Your doctor slips the rods under the skin of your upper arm, where they can stay for 5 years. During the 5 years, the rods release a small amount of hormone each day to keep you from ovulating. back to top
How reliable is Norplant?
Norplant is a really reliable form of birth control. It's 99.96% effective. back to top
How is Norplant put in?
Norplant is a group of 6 thin plastic rods filled with crystals of the hormone called levonorgestrel
. A doctor (or specially trained assistant) must put in the rods and take them out.
The doctor will do to a simple procedure to insert the Norplant rods. Here's what will happen:
How does Norplant get taken out?
- Your doctor will numb a small area of skin on your upper arm using local anesthesia.
- He or she will make a tiny cut in that numbed area. Don't worry, you won't feel anything because your skin is numb!
- Then your doctor will slip the 6 tiny rods into place under the skin.
The whole procedure usually takes only 5 to 10 minutes. The rods are usually inserted in a fan pattern. You can see them and feel them just below the skin of your upper arm, but they shouldn't bother or hurt you. back to top
When you decide that you want Norplant removed, you must go back to your doctor. The removal procedure can take 20 minutes or more. That's because scar tissue can form around the tiny rods, making them harder to take out. Here's what will happen:
- Your doctor will numb the skin of your upper arm near the place where the rods were first inserted.
- He or she then will make a tiny cut into that area on your arm.
- Using a special instrument, your doctor will grasp the end of each rod and slowly and carefully pull it out.
Getting the rods out is a little more difficult than putting them in. It could hurt a bit as the doctor pulls them out. back to top
Why would I want to use Norplant?
Norplant is excellent at preventing pregnancy and it's very easy to use. Once it's in, you don't have to think about birth control for up to five years. back to top
Why wouldn't I want to use Norplant?
Norplant has several different side effects. During the first year you use Norplant, you may have problems with getting too many periods, and periods that are too long, too short, too light, or too heavy. You might also have spotting
between periods, which means you bleed a little bit, just enough to cause a few spots on your underwear. These problems usually go away by themselves in the second year. In fact, some women eventually stop having periods while they are using Norplant. Other side effects that might happen are:
- weight gain
After you stop Norplant, it may take a year or more for your periods to return to normal and for you to ovulate
regularly. This is more likely if you have used Norplant for many years. back to top
Who shouldn't use Norplant?
Norplant is an excellent method of birth control for most girls, but some girls should not use it. You should always talk to your health professional if you are taking any other medication before you start to use Norplant. You also shouldn't use Norplant if you have any of the following conditions:
Can Norplant prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
- Bleeding problems. Girls who have problems with blood clotting, or who take blood thinners, should not use Norplant. This is because you can bleed at the place where the rods are inserted.
- Severe diabetes. Norplant may make it a bit harder to control diabetes. This is only a problem if you have severe diabetes.
- Seizures. Anti-seizure medications can interfere with Norplant and make it less effective. If you take anti-seizure medications for epilepsy, you shouldn't use Norplant. back to top
No. Norplant can't prevent sexually transmitted diseases
, including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). If you're using Norplant, you must also use condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. back to top
How do I know if Norplant is right for me?
Norplant can be an excellent method of birth control for teenagers because it works so well and is so easy to use. But there is a lot to think about before you make the decision to use it. There are advantages (how easy it is) and disadvantages (all the side effects). Talk with your health professional to get some advice about the right kind of birth control for you. back to top