10 Things Doctors Need You To Know About Birth Control Patches

If you hate taking pills, this fantastic little creation was meant for you. Without pesky daily reminders, these patches contain all the benefits of the daily pill!

While not much is taught and advertised about the birth control patches, this patch could be the replacement for your regular ol’ pill. It’s a band-aid-like square you can place on either your arm, butt, or lower abdomen, once a week for three weeks each month. The one week you do skip is for your period, much like some contraceptive pills.

The birth control patch makes it easier to get your dose of contraception; however, it is still a contraceptive, and it does have the same side effects as the pill. And you would still need a prescription from your healthcare provider to get the patches. Here are some other things to know if you’re considering using birth control patches:

1. Side Effects

Since the patches contain the same hormones found in the pill: estrogen, and progestin, they work in the same way they do in the pill. These hormones stop the ovaries from producing eggs and thicken the mucus of the cervix. The thickened mucus prevents the sperm from getting to the eggs.

Some side effects you may experience are similar to the pill include headaches, breast tenderness, mood changes, nausea, and rashes from the patch. Not everyone will experience these side effects, but it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into.

2. Perks

While mainly used to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the patches also have many other perks that make them an excellent contraceptive. Due to the steady flow of hormones provided by the patch, it can easily regulate the hormones and, in turn, assist the body with hormone-related acne and cysts.

Like the pill, you can use the patch to help you if you suffer from acne-prone skin or cysts on your breasts or ovaries. It can also help lessen or prevent things like bone thinning, endometrial and ovarian cancers, and iron deficiency anemia.

3. Patch Placement

Unfortunately, there are only a few acceptable places where you can put the patch, but it doesn’t have to be placed on the same spot every week to avoid irritation. The patch should be placed in areas where there is the least amount of friction, that is, places like the upper arm, your back, or your lower abdomen.

To make sure the patch stays in place, you have to apply it to dry skin. And if it does fall off and can’t be reapplied immediately, there is a risk of pregnancy. 

4. The Patch Can Get Wet

Your routine and life doesn’t need to change just because you’re taking a contraceptive, the patch is easy because it provides little to no changes in your daily routine. The patch is designed to stay on your skin no matter if you soak in the bathtub or swim laps around the pool, so it shouldn’t fall off. If it does, then you can easily just reapply a new patch as soon as possible.

5. Lighter Periods

If you are someone who suffers from painful and heavy periods, then the patch might be a solution to your discomfort! The steady flow of hormones from the patch help reduce cramps and make your period lighter.

Although the patch isn’t the only contraceptive device that helps change your period, others like the pill or vaginal ring have the same effect on heavy periods that are cramp-ridden. It is, however, a better option because of its easy weekly application.

6. You Can Use The Patch To Skip Your Period

While you’re typically supposed to apply one patch a week for three weeks, you don’t use a patch in the fourth week, and in that week, you would get your period. But if you don’t want your period, you could apply the patch every week without a break to skip it.

If you’re using the patches to skip your period, you will experience some bleeding or spotting every few months, and you should inform your doctor if this is what you want to do so they can prescribe patches accordingly. As long as you are okay with a bit of spotting now and then and your doctor has been informed, you can skip as many periods as you like!

7. There Could Be Pregnancy Protection Right Away

The patch is easy to use because you can start using it at any time in your menstrual cycle! But depending on when you start it, you could be protected from pregnancy right away!

The first five days of your period is a prime time to apply the patch to be protected from pregnancy. Otherwise, the risk of pregnancy is high, and condoms or other forms of backup contraception for a week are advisable!

8. Forgetting To Replace The Patch

It happens to the best of us; you get so caught up in life you forget to replace the patch. You should only be using one patch at a time, so you can’t just put an extra one over in case you forget!

If you find yourself in a situation where a few days have passed, and you’ve forgotten to change the patch, change it as soon as possible. And if you’re sexually active, you should use other forms of contraception if you want to avoid pregnancy for at least a week.

9. You’re Not Protected Against STDs

Like most other forms of contraception, the patch in no way can protect you from getting STDs like chlamydia or HIV. The only way to protect yourself from these types of diseases is to use a male condom as it is the best form of protection in cases where these diseases are present.

If you feel like you have been exposed to any STD, you should speak to your doctor, and they will advise you further.

10. Quick Return To Fertility

If you decide that you would like to get pregnant at any time during the use of the patch, you can easily remove the patch. Within two days after removing the patch, your hormone levels will return to normal.

It is a preferred method of contraception as it allows for a quick return to fertility. You should begin ovulating within one to three months, which means an easy route to getting pregnant.

Written By:
Dr Saadiqah Hajat

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