Wednesday, June 08, 2022

On Choosing Implant as my Birth Control Method

In all honesty, sex education here in the Philippines is very lacking. Although there is already the
Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, which calls for the provision of funding for contraceptives and sexuality education in the public school curriculum, it still has to deal with the very conservative culture of the Philippines led by the church. I have received a lot of messages from different social media platforms about different birth control options, and even the use of the Yuzpe Method (we’ll talk about that in a while). And from all the panicking and worrying girls who have asked for my advice, I came to realize that, for now, it is up to us sex positive people to help others be informed of their choices and how to practice safe sex.

Condoms and Responsibilities

If someone would ask me as to what the best and safest birth control method is, condoms will always be my top suggestion. And I know that some boys will complain about being less sensitive or whatnot, but that shouldn’t be the main concern. Condoms aren’t just for birth control; they can also help you avoid getting certain sexually transmitted diseases. And trust me, you should be worried about that too.

Girls, hear me out, if the boy you’re seeing is not responsible enough to be okay with wearing a condom, it’s a red flag. NO GUY CAN EVER KNOW WHEN HE’LL PRE-EJACULATE. So, if you’re saying he’s good with the withdrawal method, trust me, I’ve heard that several times and I know boys who have gotten someone pregnant because they’re supposedly good at it. And a boy who refuses to wear condom, can you really trust him with his sexual activities? What if he’s got something too? Because there are sexually transmitted diseases that do not show symptoms on men, because they only become the carriers. But once it hits us, women… Boom! I told you so.

So again, if your guy does not want to wear condom, do not be pressured to say yes to him. He is a walking red flag, he doesn’t respect you, and he doesn’t care for you.

But In Case of Emergency, What Can You Do?

The emergency pill isn’t available here in the Philippines. However, for those who do not have or been using any form of contraception, there is the YUZPE METHOD. The Yuzpe Method is an emergency contraception you can use legally here in the Philippines by taking in 4 pieces of the Trust Pills (the lighter ones) within the next 72 hours, post-intercourse; and then another 4 pieces of the Trust pills (still the lighter ones) after 12 hours.

Remember that its effectiveness is dependent on how soon you take the pills. Trust pills cost less than Php 100.00, so it’s very convenient. However, there are negative side effects. Your menstrual cycle may change, and it can cause nausea, fatigue, vomiting, dizziness, among others. Keep in mind that it is just an “in case of emergency” thing and should not be done regularly. You have a lot of other regular contraception options, and you may consult your doctor about what may work best for you.

Implant as a Cheaper Alternative

As some of you know, you can get your contraceptive implant for free from government-funded institutions or non-profit organizations like the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health provided you have Philhealth. However, if you’re as impatient as I am or you have a very busy and tight schedule, you can also get yours through your OB-GYN. I got mine from Doc Zhy, because I am from Pampanga and there is no Likhaan Center around my area, and trust me, she is an awesome and cool doctor. The contraceptive implant I got is the Implanon and it costs Php 3,000.00. I know it sounds more expensive than your regular pills but imagine buying pills every month compared to getting an implant that can last for three years. You do the math.

How was my Experience in Getting the Implant?

As a very busy working girl, I opted to get in touch with Doc Zhy and get my contraceptive implant from her. We set a schedule and I went to her clinic in Angeles City right after work. Before proceeding with putting the implant in my skin, there was just a required set of questions she needed to ask before we proceed, and then… Implanting time!

She first administered the anesthesia, which was the only thing that kind of stings, but the implanting itself was pretty quick and I didn’t feel a thing. She then put a bandage on it, advised to avoid getting the wound wet for 3 days, but make sure I clean it up; and to avoid sexual contact without other forms of contraception for the next seven days, just to make sure that the implant is already in full effect. She also gave me my Implanon card and asked me to always keep it in my wallet so that, in case of emergency, medical practitioners would know that I have an implant on my arm and they shouldn’t remove it without my consent.

Frequently Asked Questions about my Implant

Does it hurt?

You can feel the anesthesia prior to putting the implant, but once they put the implant on your skin, nada! Zero pain. There will, however, be bruising. So, just rest for about 3 days, no heavy lifting, and just let it heal. It may leave a small (kind of just like a dot) scar, but aside from that, you have nothing to worry about.

What are the side effects of getting it?

Your body adjusts to the hormonal changes, but the side effects vary per person. With mine, it’s more of the irregular bleeding. The tolerable part about it is I only get it for 2-3 days, and it’s very light. Sometimes, pantyliners can even suffice. I didn’t experience mood swings, nor weight gain, so I guess I’m good on that department. Remember that every body is different, so if you feel anything unusual, you better ask your doctor about it so you can both plan a remedy.

What if I want to get pregnant already?

No worries because you can have it removed anytime you want. There really is no downtime. You can try as soon as you want once you’ve already had it removed.

Do I need to be on my period when I get it?

A friend of mine asked me this because of a post she saw about it. I didn’t have my period when I got the implant, so the answer is no, you don’t need to be on your period, unlike when you’re starting your pill cycle intake.

As someone who advocates for sex education, and is very open to discussions and conversations about safe sex, I believe that it is my responsibility to help inform women of their choices when it comes to contraception. Like what I have mentioned earlier, I have received a lot of messages from women asking about implants, Yuzpe, and other forms of contraception. Most of these women are in their late teens and early 20s. So we cannot deny the fact that younger people are becoming more and more sexually active (and sometimes careless with their choice to not use any form of contraception) no matter how “conservative” some people want and think the country should be. And it is every woman’s right to choose when they want to have kids or if they want to have kids. Never let society dictate when you should be ready and if you should ever have one.

If you have more questions about the contraceptive implant experience, you can send me a message in my social media accounts or visit your nearest Likhaan Women’s Center or OB-GYN.

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