The rod works by making it difficult for the sperm to swim and get to the egg. The device releases a tiny amount of the hormone progesterone that creates a sticky mucus at the entrance to your inside your uterus. The mucus acts like a barrier to stop the sperm from swimming through the opening of your uterus (the cervix), the tunnel to get to the egg. If the sperm can’t reach the egg, then you can’t get pregnant.
The progestogen in the rod also stops you from ovulating, so an egg doesn’t leave your ovaries once a month. When there is no egg released there is nothing for the sperm to meet. So if a sperm happens to get through the mucus barrier, there will be nothing for it to fertilise. No egg, no pregnancy.
Getting the rod is simple. The skin on the inside of your upper arms is numbed using a little local anaesthetic injection. A special tool is used to slide the rods under your skin, and just like this your rod is fitted.
There will be a small 3mm hole where your rod is inserted. There is no need for stitches. A bandage will be placed over the incision. This will heal up on its own over the next few days.
All up, your appointment should take no longer than 15 minutes, but the insertion only takes about five minutes.
You will feel a little pinch and sting as the local anaesthetic goes into your arm. It is just like getting a vaccination. The anaesthetic will work its magic so you won’t be able to feel anything as the rod is inserted.
Once the anaesthetic has worn off, your arm may feel a little tender for the rest of the day, so take it easy. You may also notice some swelling around the rod. It is also common to have a bit of a bruise.
You will be able to feel the rod under your skin if you touch the area. You won’t be able to see it under your skin. No one else will be able to see it either.
You can have sex as soon as you feel ready after getting your rod fitted. But depending on where you are in your cycle you may need to use contraception for a little longer.
If you get the rod fitted within the first 5 days of your period, you are protected straight away.
If you get the rod fitted at any other time during your cycle, you are not protected for the first 7 days. Use another type of contraception for the first week to prevent pregnancy.
The rod is an amazing form of contraception, but it doesn’t protect you from STIs. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself from STIs.
When you no longer want your rod, for whatever reason that may be, it can easily be removed.
The process is similar to getting the rod fitted. The area of your upper inner arm is numbed using a small local anaesthetic injection. The rod is then taken out from under your skin through a small incision.
There will be a small 3mm hole where your rod is removed. There is no need for stitches. A bandage will be placed over the incision. This will heal up on its own over the next few days.
All up, your appointment should take no longer than 20 minutes. The removal takes a few minutes longer than getting it inserted.
Once your rod has been removed, your fertility returns to normal within a few days.
Once your rod is removed, your body will return to normal within a few days. The hormones from the device will disappear from your bloodstream quite quickly.
Your next period will depend on where you are in your cycle when the device is removed. Your period should return within four weeks. Your first period may be lighter than normal, as the lining of your uterus may not have had time to fully thicken. By your second or third period, it will be back to what it used to be.
The rod does not affect your fertility or chances of getting pregnant once it is removed.