Hormonal Patch: An Alternative To Daily Contraceptive Pills.

Birth Control Patch / Contraceptive Patch: Pros & Cons - DoctorOnCall

Contraceptive patch

A contraceptive patch is a piece of a small, thin, hormone-containing patch that you can stick on your skin. Hormones (A contraceptive patch is a piece of small, thin, hormone-containing patch that you can stick on your skin. Hormones (oestrogen and progestogen) in the contraceptive patch are delivered through the skin.

How Does It Work?

The patch works in the same ways as the combined oral contraceptive pill and vaginal ring. It prevents pregnancy by:

• Preventing the release of an egg.

• Making the mucus at the entrance of the womb thicker, hence making it more difficult for the sperm to enter.

• Thinning the womb lining, making it harder for the egg to be implanted.

How Effective Is The Patch?

It is over 99% effective if used correctly and according to instructions.

How Do I Use The Patch?

Weeks 1, 2 and 3: Apply a patch and leave it on for exactly 7 days. Change it on the same day of each week

Week 4: Have a patch-free week. During this time, you will get your period, although this may not always happen

Apply a new patch after the patch-free week, even if you are still bleeding

Apply the patch on a skin area that is clean, dry and less hairy, such as the buttock, abdomen, upper outer arm or lower back.

Do not apply it on irritated skin, your breasts or areas where it might get rubbed off. Apply the new patch at a different position each time you change it. Leave it on when you are in the bath, swimming or participating in a sport activity. 

If the patch is applied on the first day of your period, it will have an immediate contraceptive effect. If it is applied on any other day, you need to use an additional contraceptive method such as condoms for the first 7 days.

What Are The Advantages Of The Patch?

Some of the advantages of the contraceptive patch are:

• If you vomit or have diarrhoea, it is still effective.

• It can help with irregular, heavy or painful periods, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

• It may protect against ovarian, womb and colon cancer.

What Are The Side Effects?

The patch may cause temporary side effects such as headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood changes. These usually subside after a few months. Breakthrough bleeding and spotting are also common in the first few months of using the patch. It can also increase blood pressure. Rarely, blood clots can develop when using the patch.

Your doctor or pharmacist will advise you not to use the patch if you have risk factors for developing blood clots.

Is It Suitable For Me?

The patch may not be suitable for you if you: 

• Smoke

• Are ≥35 years old

• Weigh ≥90 kg

• Breastfeed

You will also be unable to use the patch if you have or have had any of these conditions:

• A blood clot (thrombosis), a heart problem, or circulatory problems including high blood pressure

• Migraine with aura (you have warning signs before the pain begins, such as: 

° Seeing flashing lights; 

° Pins and needles; or 

° Numbness)

• Breast cancer

• Liver or gallbladder disease

• Diabetes with complications

Important: Inform your doctor or pharmacist of any illness or operations you have had, or have, or medications that you are taking

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