THE BIRTH CONTROL PATCH
The stick-on option.
SETTLE INTO A WEEKLY ROUTINE
The patch looks just like a shiny plaster. It sticks to the skin and releases hormones – both a progestin and estrogen – that enter the bloodstream through the skin. The hormones stop the ovaries from releasing eggs, and also thicken the cervical mucus to make it more difficult for sperm to move.
You simply peel off the back of the patch and apply it directly to your skin – on your lower abdomen, buttocks, upper arm, or even your back. You wear it for a week and then replace it with a new one. After three weeks you take a week off, and during that week where you don't wear the patch, your period should start. Then you repeat that routine. If your patch becomes loose or falls off while you are wearing it, you should refer to the Patient Information Booklet that came with it, or consult your doctor or nurse.
HOW IT MEASURES UP
Yes. The patch continuously releases hormones – estrogen and a progestin – throughout the entire body.
EASE OF USE
The patch needs to be changed weekly in order to be fully effective.
The patch may cause disrupted periods, either in the form of irregular bleeding, or regular, lighter periods.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
How frequently you need to change the patch three weeks out of every month.
How long you use the patch every month in total.
Progestin and estrogen are continuously released directly through the skin.
- Fairly effective in preventing pregnancy with typical use.
- Self-administered – you put it on yourself.2
- Allows spontaneous sex and does not interrupt it.2,3
- No protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).2,3
- Change weekly – otherwise, it may not work as well.3
- May be visible.2,3
- NHS. How effective is contraception at preventing pregnancy? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/how-effective-contraception/ [Accessed April 2023] Return to content
- NHS. Contraceptive patch. Your contraceptive guide. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/contraceptive-patch/ [Accessed April 2023]. Return to content
- MSI. The contraceptive patch: everything you need to know. https://www.msichoices.org.uk/other-services/short-acting-contraception/the-contraceptive-patch/ [Accessed April 2023]. Return to content