The contraceptive patch is just that, a patch that looks just like a shiny plaster and sticks to the skin, highly effective to prevent you from getting pregnant by releasing hormones. The hormones estrogen and progestogen are released continuously, entering the bloodstream through the skin, where they stop the ovaries from releasing eggs and also thicken the cervical mucus which keeps the sperm from getting to the egg. The patch isn’t transparent, so this method of contraception is visible.
Peel off the back and apply the patch directly to your skin on your lower abdomen, buttocks, upper arm or back. Leave the patch in place for a week and then replace with a new one. You put on a new patch and take off the old patch once a week for 3 weeks, 21 total days. Each 4th week you go without a patch at all. Your menstrual period should start during this patch-free week. Then you repeat the same process again. If the patch comes loose or falls off, have a look into the Patient Information Booklet provided with the patch pack. In case of doubt, ask your healthcare provider.
PROS AND CONS
It´s easy to put on and to remove
It doesn`t require daily attention
It permits sexual spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex
You don’t have to remember to take it every day
It´s visible and may come loose or fall off
It requires keeping track of the number of weeks used
It may cause some itching and redness at the application site
It may cause some people to suffer headaches and mood swings
It may cause headache, weight gain
It may cause disrupted periods
It is rare, but some women may suffer blood clots, heart attacks and strokes
Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
LEARN HOW TO TALK ABOUT IT WITH:
Your healthcare provider knows the subject better than anyone; get the right answers for you
They know you better than anyone, and they’ve been through it too
You’re in this together, and not just in the bedroom, be honest
If the contraceptive patch falls off, will I have to use a new one, and will I become pregnant?
The patch is designed to adhere to the skin for a week, but if it does become detached you need to replace it as soon as possible as it will become ineffective as birth control if more than 24 hours pass. If more than 24 hours have passed between the patch falling off and it being replaced, then additional use a back up method of contraception, such as condoms, will be required for one week.
Can the contraceptive patch come off in the shower?
The patch is very adhesive and rarely comes off. You can go in the shower, swim and exercise whilst wearing. The patch should be applied to clean, dry skin and you should avoid using any creams or lotions near a patch you’re already wearing to ensure it sticks as much as possible. The contraceptive patch works by releasing the hormones estrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream.
Do I have to wear the contraceptive patch in the same place all the time?
No, it may actually help to change the location a bit each week. The patch can be worn on the buttocks, stomach, back or upper arms, it must not be worn on the breasts.
The contraceptive patch just looks a bit like a plaster, how can I tell if the patch is working?
You cannot see any change in the patch, or feel it working, but it is continuously releasing the hormones estrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream. You just need to ensure you change the patch each week for three weeks, and remember to start the next cycle of patches after the fourth patch free week.
Can lotions (moisturizing lotions, tanning lotions, etc) affect the contraceptive patch?
Always apply your contraceptive patch to clean, dry skin. Do not use lotions, creams, oils, powder, or makeup on skin where you are going to put the patch or on top of or near a patch you are wearing. These products may cause the patch to fail to stick or become loose.
Do I only need to wear the birth control patch when I have sex?
No, the contraceptive patch must be worn every day for 21 days, whether or not you have sex. Apply a new contraceptive patch on the same day of the week for 3 consecutive weeks, for a total of 21 days. You will not apply a patch during week 4.
Will I still get my period when using the contraceptive patch?
You can expect your menstrual period to begin a few days after removing the third birth control patch (during the fourth, “patch-free" week).