The Contraception patch, as the name suggests, is a small patch that sticks to the skin of the user and releases hormones into your bloodstream. It can be stuck on any part of the body such as the buttocks, abdomen, torso or arms. When used properly, the contraception patch has about a 99% success rate against unwanted pregnancy. This birth control device does not however protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
How Does The Contraception Patch Work?
Contraceptive patches have three basic layers:
- The outer layer – A protective layer made up of polyester.
- The medicated central layer – This layer is adhesive in nature and sticks to the skin.
- A protective lining – This layer is to be peeled off before applying.
Each patch has a life span of 7 days. When applied, the patch starts releasing two hormones i.e. estrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream through the skin. These hormones upon entering the blood stream work exactly like the pill and stop the ovaries from releasing the egg for fertilization, preventing the chance pregnancy. These hormones also do these additional tasks of :
Thickening the membrane surrounding the cervix and making it difficult for sperm to get into the womb.
Make the inner lining of the womb slimmer decreasing the likelihood of accepting a fertilized egg.
How To Use The Contraception Patch?
Like most forms of birth control you will need to obtain a prescription from a clinic to buy the contraception patch. Your doctor will be able to discuss with you if this is the best birth control method for you.
Before applying wash and dry a part of the skin where it is to be applied. Try and stick the patch at a different place every time to avoid any risk of irritation, and place it so that it is not affected by frequent changing of clothes and can comfortably stay unnoticed for a week. NEVER apply the contraceptiion patch on your breasts.
Peel away the packaging layer. Do not touch the medicated sticky surface and place it firmly on the spot where you want to stick it. Keep it pressed for about 10 seconds and ensure that the edges are stuck firmly.
Like the pill, you will need to use one patch per week for three continuous weeks. The patch shouldn’t be applied on the 4th week and this is when your menstrual period should start. Then, apply a new patch after seven days. It is extremely important to have a week off the patch during your menstrual period.
Contraceptive Patch Advantages
- Similar to the effect of the combined pill, your regular periods will be lighter and less painful.
- The hormones need not be absorbed by the stomach, as is the case of the pill, so your protection is not affected even if you are sick and vomit.
- It doesn’t cause any hindrance in your sex life.
- It greatly reduces the risk of cancer of the ovaries and womb.
- It can be helpful towards premenstrual symptoms.
Contraception Patch : Side Effects
Some women experience certain uneasiness while using the contraception patch. This can be mainly due to the following reasons :
- Irritation of skin where the patch is applied. This could be due to the negligence of repeated application of patch on the same spot.
- There is irregularity in the occurrence of menstrual periods.
- Breast tenderness : Though it has been strictly advised to never apply the patch on the breasts still this problem has been a major cause of concern.
- Some women have reported difficulty in wearing contact lenses
- Rise in the blood pressure of some women has also been reported
- A lingering feeling of nausea and loss of diet.
- There may be occasional headaches.
- Menstrual cramps or pain in the abdominal region.
The Birth Control Patch Should Not Be Used By Women Who :
- Have high blood pressure
- Have breast or uterine cancer
- Have a history of blood clots
- Have uncontrolled diabetes
- Have a history of heart attack or stroke
- Are allergic to hormones
- Have diabetes
- Have liver disease
- Have unexplained vaginal bleeding
It should also be noted that just like the contraceptive pill, the contraception patch may not protect you from pregnancy if you are taking antibiotics or medications for fungal infections or seizures. The contraception patch may not prevent pregnancy if you weigh 198 pounds or more.
As with all bith control methods, always discuss with your doctor beforehand what the best contraceptive may be for you and each birth controls effectiveness in relation to your body. What may work perfectly for one woman may not work for you. Ensure you have all the facts before you make your decision and always use the contraception patch as specifically as prescribed.