The birth control patch is one of the most practical and convenient methods that you can use to prevent pregnancy. Indeed there are several contraceptive methods, but one of the simplest is the contraceptive patch.
Are you having problems swallowing daily pills?
Do you easily forget to take the pill every day at the same time?
Do you want to know if by using the patch you could have unprotected sex with no worries?
If you’re thinking about starting to use the contraceptive patch, or you’re actually using it, or just have interest in any type of birth control method, look at the following birth control questions:
What is the birth control patch?
The contraceptive patch, commonly known as Ortho Evra, is a trans-dermal contraceptive (through the skin).
Just paste the patch on your body three times a month and you will be protected from getting pregnant.
How the contraceptive patch works?
The contraceptive patch has embedded two hormones in its adhesive layer, estrogen and progestin. These two hormones are slowly released through the skin into the bloodstream.
The estrogen and progestin are hormones that prevent ovulation (releasing an egg from the ovary). These hormones can also thicken the cervical mucus preventing the sperm can easily move and fertilize the egg. Some experts say that these hormones can also prevent the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall.
The patch is waterproof; you can take a shower or swim with the patch attached to your skin.
How effective is the contraceptive patch?
The birth control patch is very safe and has an effectiveness of 99%, possibly greater than the pill because only 1 in every 100 women can get pregnant using the contraceptive patch.
Like any other method of birth control, you must have some care using the patch properly.
What does properly means?
- Use a patch every week, same day for three weeks.
- Be sure the patch is securely attached to your skin.
- If you notice that the patch is detached, try to adhere it to your skin again, otherwise replace the patch immediately with a new one.
- Read carefully the package instructions to know how to open the patch, how to attach it to your skin, and how to storage it.
Effectiveness of the patch may also depend on your healthy conditions. Maybe the contraceptive patch is not the most convenient for you, so you should consult your doctor before using the patch.
Specialists say that the patch is less effective in women who weigh more than 198 pounds.
If you suspect or feel pregnancy first signs, perform a pregnancy test immediately, and if you are pregnant, just stop using the patch and consult your doctor.
Is it safe the contraceptive patch for birth control?
The contraceptive patch is considered safe for your health, provided it is prescribed by your doctor. The birth control patch, like any other hormone-based contraceptive, has some risks and may affect you at major or minor degree. That’s why your doctor is the only one who must recommend or not recommend you the use of the contraceptive patch.
If the birth control patch is not appropriate for you, there are other birth control methods you can use.
If you already have high blood pressure or you are at risk of heart attack or stroke, you have to consult your physician before using the patch.
Combination with other medications:
It is not recommended if you take any other medicine. If you are sick and you are taking a kind of drug, consult your doctor because it may cause unwanted effects or it may lose the effect of the patch.
The birth control patch is considered a reversible birth control. This means that if you want to get pregnant, just remove the patch. The hormones may linger in the system a bit, but this should not take more than approximately 24 hours.
How do I use the contraceptive patch?
The contraceptive patch should be used for three weeks, a patch every week. You will have your period during the fourth week. Normally the first day of your period you should use the first patch again.
The patch should be attached to your back, upper arm, lower abdomen, or buttocks.
If the patch is detached and you do not replace it within 24 hours, you should use a backup method of birth control until your next period.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has warned that there are fake versions of the birth control patch on the internet. The fakes do not provide any protection against pregnancy. So be careful.
Does the patch have side effects?
Side effects of birth control are very similar to the pill.
Indeed the patch, in some cases, has fewer side effects, such as nausea, breakthrough bleeding, and mood swings, than pills.
Amongst others the birth control patch side effects may include:
- Increased risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke particularly for women who smoke or have certain health conditions. So if you smoke, the patch may not be a good option for you. Use the pill instead of the patch, since it has less risks of this type.
- The patch may cause in some women breast tenderness, headaches, upper respiratory infections.
- Contact lens wearers may experience vision changes.
- Very few percentage of women may have skin irritation.
- Although the patch is a reversible method of birth control, if you stop using the patch, you may have irregular periods for about six months, or even no periods. However, you can get pregnant immediately.
Regardless of which method of birth control you use, it is important that you use a method which does not cause discomfort. If the birth control patch causes you side effects during the first three months of use, you should try another birth control method, and consult your doctor for a professional recommendation.
If you and your partner have decided to have a baby, remember just stop using the patch and learn how to get pregnant.