What is a Birth Control Patch?
A birth control patch is an easy-to-use contraceptive device. It is a small square-shaped transdermal patch that sticks to the surface of your skin and releases birth control medications across the skin. The patch can be placed on your lower belly, arm, back, or other places in your body.
The birth control patch is also called a transdermal contraceptive. It acts by releasing female sex hormones into your system through your skin, similar to a birth control pill or vaginal ring. You can purchase a birth control patch with a doctor's prescription.
What are the Indications for a Birth Control Patch?
Birth control patches are recommended for girls and women who:
- Want to prevent pregnancy
- Do not want to conceive
- Those who are unable to use other contraceptive methods such as pills, vaginal ring, IUDs, etc.
What are the Contraindications for a Birth Control Patch?
Your doctor may not recommend a birth control patch for one or more of the given reasons:
- You are obese
- Aged 35 years and above and a chronic smoker
- Have already conceived or think you may be pregnant
- Have any of the following medical conditions:
- Blood clot disorders
- Breast or uterine cancer
- You are taking anti-epileptic medications
How does a Birth Control Patch Work?
A birth control patch prevents conception by releasing the hormones estrogen and progestin through your skin into your bloodstream. These hormones bring about physiological changes in your body to prevent pregnancy including:
- Prevents ovulation by inhibiting the release of eggs from the ovaries
- Thickens the cervical mucus to stop sperm
- Other changes in the female reproductive tract which make it harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterine wall
Birth Control Patch Application
A birth control patch is an easy, one-time use product.
Clean and dry the area where you will be applying the patch.
- Remove the outer packing of the patch.
- Then, place and press the sticky side of the patch onto the desired area until it sticks firmly to your skin without falling off.
- If it falls off, apply a new patch once again in a similar manner.
Every single patch needs to be worn for one week. This process is repeated for 4 weeks if you wish to avoid pregnancy. It is important to consult your gynecologist or fertility specialist regarding how long you can continue wearing the patch.
How Effective is a Birth Control Patch? How Fast Does it Work?
A birth control patch begins to work as soon as it is applied on your skin.
Key points to note:
- If you have applied it in the first 5 days of your period, then it begins to work immediately.
- If you have applied the birth control patch in the middle of your cycle, you may require additional contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.
Common Do’s and Don’ts for Birth Control Patches
You can perform most of your regular activities after wearing a birth control patch. These include:
Avoid tight clothes that might rub against the patch.
Ensure that your patch stays in place.
You should consult a specialist in case you experience any side effects from the patch.
What are the Risks or Side Effects of a Birth Control Patch?
A birth control patch is relatively safe. However, some women may experience side effects after applying the patch. These are due to the hormonal changes elicited by the patch.
Some of the common issues with a birth control patch may include:
- Breast tenderness
- Skin changes in the area where you apply the patch such as redness or rash
- Menstrual cramps
- Mood swings
What are the Benefits and Advantages of a Birth Control Patch?
If you use a birth control patch as per the instructions, it gives you the desired results with minimal chance of failure. It is effective and can be used for long term to prevent pregnancy.
A birth control patch provides a daily dose of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones may have the following health benefits:
- Regulate your periods
- Lighter periods which helps prevent anemia
- Minimize cramping
- Reduce the risk of developing ovarian cysts or cancers in your reproductive tract