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Contraceptive Culture in Africa – An Arm Implant Story

Today’s baddie is a 26-year-old lady that describes her Implant contraceptive story as a horror one, is tired of contraceptives, and would rather get a hysterectomy.

Can you remember the first time you heard about contraceptives? 

Well, I’ve always known about condoms and I had a friend that told me about her implant but I didn’t really get a lot of details about them till I had a yeast infection in university and had to go see a general practitioner.

After the diagnosis and everything she gave me a talk about all the different methods and showed them to me in real life. Gave me pamphlets as well to take home with me and make a decision.

It’s amazing that she did that, was your university in Nigeria? 

No it wasn’t, in the U.K. 

Okay, a lot of Nigerian health practitioners are not that open-minded. 

Nope, they aren’t. Even the young practitioners. You can see judgment on their faces.

Did you make a decision then? And which contraceptive option did you go with? 

I didn’t actually. I continued roughing it with condoms and morning-after pills 

How was your experience with the condoms and morning-after pills? 

Condoms worked most of the time but they would slip off or tear hence the morning-after pills. 

I stopped using morning-after pills after I used them the last time and saw my period but then I started bleeding again a week after my period. 

Heavy bleeding, stained through everything I was wearing at work, it lasted a week. I was like Nah, can’t keep messing up my body.

Sorry about that, pills tend to have those side effects that a lot of people don’t talk about much 

After your decision to stop taking pills, what was the next best move for you sexually? 

That was 2016. To be honest, I was planning to break up with my partner at the moment and stay celibate so I didn’t really consider any other forms of contraceptives. 

But then I moved back to Abuja and somehow got entangled with an ex-flame, one thing led to another and it ended in pregnancy. Leemaaoo

Anyway, I knew I wasn’t keeping it so I went to Marie Stopes. At the initial consultation, he offered me the same options as the General practitioner in London and I settled for the arm implant. 

I already knew I wouldn’t be getting an IUD because I hate pain and cramps. Also, lmao there’s no way I’m putting that thing in my vagina 

Contraceptive Culture in Africa – An IUD Story

So on the same day I took the first pill for the fetus deleting, he put the implant in, It actually didn’t hurt much.

Lmao, I wore long sleeve tops till it healed because I didn’t want my parent asking questions. 

How long did your arm take to heal? 

It took a little over a week for me to take off the bandage, it healed completely about 3 weeks later 

Lmao, I actually remember it slipping out once and I pushed it back in 

Wait, what was that not painful?

It actually wasn’t that bad. I was already having abortion pains so that was nothing in comparison

Were there any symptoms, in particular, you were worried about? 

I was told that I would spot for a while after getting the implant but I was already bleeding. 

Now the problem was when I did not stop bleeding 6 weeks later and it wasn’t spotting o. Proper period bleeding But then after 6 weeks, it stopped.

And came back 2 weeks later alternating between spotting and heavy bleeding for a month. 

Oh my, how did all of that happening made you feel? Did you check back with the doctor? 

It was very frustrating. I kept complaining.

How won’t it control birth when it’s not even giving the vagina breathing space to have sex.

I checked back with the doctor and he told me to take combination 3 and it would even out my periods.

Did that work?

Not really, I was still bleeding erratically for almost a year. I was having 2 periods a month. One heavy one. One spotting. 

Eventually, 11 months later, it kind of settled? That’s when I started using Flo to track my period went from 4/5 days to 7/10 but once a month. 30-33 day cycle. Actually, I lie. There was an 18-day cycle in there too. 

It was just all over the place but yeah 7 days minimum, my mood swings were horrible, I was depressed, My boobs were constantly sore. 

Oh my, I can’t imagine dealing with all of this. You really tried.

We’re you hoping that your period will go back to regular or close to that one day or you accepted it and felt it was something you had to deal with 

I kept hoping o. It never went back to normal. It eventually settled on 7 days once a month. I forgot to add I had intense cramps 

Mehn, it was really all of it

But yeah eventually I ended up taking it out 2 years in because I was dealing with some personal stuff and I couldn’t handle all that on top

And like clockwork, it actually didn’t take my body long to adjust. My next period was a relief. 5 days, moderate not too deadly cramps

Do you think you’ll ever try other hormonal contraceptives because of your experience? 

Definitely not. I even considered getting a copper IUD but that fear of pain is strong.

Did the contraceptive affect the quality of your love/sex life?

Ahhh it definitely did. Another thing I forgot to add. I had horrible Bacterial vaginosis. Immediately after every period, my vagina would be stank. I didn’t even want anyone to touch me. And yeast infections. I was so self-conscious of offing pants.

I’m so sorry 

Did you feel like the doctor that attended to you properly explained how the contraceptive can affect your physical body & mentally? 

The one in Abuja. Nope, he did not. I think if I had gotten it overseas, they would’ve done a better job of explaining the mental effects 

Why do you think there’s a lot of fear with women in general about getting contraceptives?

Hmmm I mean, when you hear horror stories like mine it’s not shocking that people are scared 

Do you feel pressured to be solely responsible for pregnancy scares when you’re sexually active with men?

Unfortunately, I do. Honestly men should be the ones on birth control but we all know how majority of them react when you bring up temporary vasectomies or mention other methods that are being trialed.

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Now I tend to avoid sex even with condoms when I’m ovulating. I’m not on any other form of birth control. I don’t think I will ever be. 

To be f”””’ honest, I want to get a hysterectomy because I have no plans of having kids but then even that one too has got too many side effects.

Is there any thing you’ll like to tell anyone planning on getting contraceptives? 

Do proper research first. Look into the side effects and everything. Also, don’t be afraid to try a new method if one isn’t working for you. Me I don tire sha but good luck to you all!


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