The contraceptive patch is a small patch that is stuck to the skin and releases both oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream. These hormones are the same as those in the combined pill and therefore, works in the same way. The patch prevents the release of the egg during ovulation, as well as thickening cervix mucus and thinning the lining of the the womb, to prevent pregnancy.
The patch can be applied on most areas of skin, providing that it is clean, dry and not very hairy. It is best to avoid placing on any skin that is sore, irritated, close to where clothing rubs or on the breasts.
The first patch must be worn for 7 day and on day 8, it should be exchanged for a new one. The patch must then be changed every 3 weeks followed by a patch-free week. After the patch-free week, a new patch can be applied and the cycle starts again.
- 99% effective if used according to instructions.
- Simple to use and sex won’t be interrupted.
- Still absorbed if you are vomiting or have diarrhoea.
- You don’t have to think about it everyday; you only have to remember to replace the patch once a week.
- Only wear the patch for 3 weeks out of 4. Bleeding my occur during the patch-free week although some women have no bleeding.
- Periods may become more regular, lighter and less painful.
- Fertility quickly returns once the patch is removed.
- Not recommended for very overweight women or smokers aged over 35.
- Breakthrough bleeding and spotting is common in the first few months.
- Possible skin reaction and may be visible on the skin when wearing certain clothing.
- The patch does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you should also use condoms.