Effects of progesterone birth control?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 28, 2011 at 11:44 PM

I've just stopped taking the pill after being on it for almost four years, and instead had an implanon inserted. It's a progesterone-only contraception and they're subsidised by the government here in Australia so it only cost me $28 (rather than the $30 a month that I was paying for the pill) and it lasts for three years, and my periods have stopped all together which I'm enjoying - though I still worry about the side effects.

My doctor mentioned something about how the hormones from the implanon bypass the liver, as it's inserted in my arm and doesn't have to travel through my stomach either, which sounds like a slightly better option than oral contraceptives. But does anyone know more about the implanon/synthetic progesterone that my doctor wouldn't be telling me?

Condoms aren't really an option for me or my partner as they cause skin irritation to us both if we use them too often - but I definitely am not ready to be pregnant for the next few years, and don't trust myself with remembering to do all the temperature checking with the fertility awareness method. So I don't see any other option :(

I haven't gained any weight since the implanon, but I haven't lost any either, which I was hoping might happen after stopping the pill. I'm fairly fit but have carried a small layer of fat that I can't get rid of ever since adolescence; probably with no help from taking the pill for years. Any thoughts or info would be appreciated.



on February 06, 2012
at 02:13 AM

"small layer of fat that I can't get rid of ever since adolescence"- that is your body being ready for a baby, even if you are not! This "fat pad" is a safety net for your fertility, and it probably won't budge without intensive training, so I would just embrace it.

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5 Answers



on May 05, 2011
at 10:14 PM

I just went through that whole crap. One day after 5 years on the pill I threw a fit - "No more hormones in my body! They're making me fat!" Went to the doctor and told her I want an IUD. It sounds like implanon is similar to our mirena - the doctor recommended it because the hormones are localized. the other non-hormone option we have is the copper IUD. Both came with significant risks and price tags - neither of which I was interested in. Anyway, long story short, although I was most definitely less tired, I did not lose any weight after I got off the pill and horrific PMS ensued. Back on the pill - The End. I'm guessing it's not Paleo but I don't care ...



on May 24, 2013
at 09:30 PM

Read Dr Lee's book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell you About Menopause." It's not just for menopause. It's all about hormones, synthetic, natural, etc. He has some other books, but this one is the most complete. He does tend to be a LITTLE crazy about using natural progesterone for every problem under the sun, so take that part with a grain of salt; but it's otherwise great info.

For a non-hormone alternative, I highly recommend a diaphragm combined with a natural sperm blocker. Available OUTSIDE the US is a wonderful spermicide based on lactic acid called Contragel. Used with the diaphragm it is a very effective birth control (I am Fertile Myrtle who gets pregnant the first cycle every time - well, 5x to be exact! And this has been foolproof for us for 2 years so far).

Other natural sperm blockers are manuka honey, or a homemade recipe of aloe vera, lemon juice, salt, glycerin, etc. There is a lot of great info on this group:



on May 24, 2013
at 09:21 PM

I am using fertility awareness to avoid pregnancy. There are a lot of methods out there depending on what works best for you (Billings, Creighton, marquette, STM) but the efficacy is 95-99% depending on the method (same as other forms of contraception), there are no side effects (because you dont have to take any chemicals!) and you can identify issues with your body you may not have known before. We found out with charting that I am infertile anyways, so we can get that treated before I want to get pregnant. Pretty epic.


on April 27, 2013
at 04:15 AM

I had the implanon/nexplanon implant for 4 months. I had it removed this past January. I was having terrible headaches, spotting all day (I didn't for the first month or so, it started getting worse the longer it was in). I did gain some weight, only about 5-10lbs or so though. I lost my sex drive almost entirely (can I say this on the forum? I've never posted before). I was worried about the general side effects as well (blood clots, the implant getting lost/broken in my arm, creating cysts on my ovaries, etc). I decided it wasn't worth it to "not have to worry", and I had it removed. I was on the pill for 6 months before, same issues, so I decided to quit hormones all together. I also don't like condoms. I was advised to try Gynol contraceptive jelly/gel. It's a hormone free contraceptive, works pretty well (I'm not pregnant yet!) A little messy after the fact, but I would rather have to deal with gunk than mess with my body and my hormones anymore. It's really up to you and what you are comfortable with. Have you asked your doctor about non-hormonal methods besides condoms?


I hope that works, at least you can see what it looks like on there, you might be able to find something similar over the counter where you live.



on April 27, 2013
at 02:35 AM

Be careful of Mirena! I used to have eczema when I was a young child and always thought it was from the grass while playing soccer and other outdoor activities. It rarely flared up and was pretty much non-existent for the majority or my adolescent/teenage/adult life. I was on the pill for 4-5 years and decided to stop because I felt that I was PMSing a lot and getting headaches. I talked to my doctor and decided to change my birth control to Mirena. It has been great but a little weird not getting any periods. I have some discomfort which I feel is related to the Mirena. Anyway, in the last year and a half that I have had Mirena my eczema has become extremely harsh. It wakes me up at night and is very unattractive (although my boyfriend says he does not care). I tried to cut out gluten and dairy and it made little to no difference, just helped with inflammation. I have done some research and I have found out that the progesterone is what causes eczema and acne in many women. Just be careful. I did not think I was prone to eczema because it only happened when I was so young but it has flared up with a vengeance. Now I am looking into a no-hormone birth control and the only one I have found is another IUD called Paraguard.

Good Luck! Let me know if you have any other answers that might help.

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