Different people have different preferences for birth control. Some prefer a hormonal contraceptive while others prefer a non-hormonal one. Some invest in long-term birth control while some like to control it on a more short-term basis.
For those who prefer a hormonal birth control method, which can last for days, a birth control patch is a good option.
What is a birth control patch?
It is a transdermal contraceptive, which means that the hormones in the patch are absorbed into the body through the skin. The patch is worn on the buttock, belly, or upper arm.
How do you use it?
You must wear a new patch every week for three weeks consecutively after which you don’t need to wear the patch for seven to eight days. While wearing a new patch, follow the specific instructions on the packaging. Every brand will have a different set of instructions.
It is advisable to keep a reminder on your phone for the day when you need to change the patch. If you have a friend who also uses a birth control patch, you could form a buddy system with them so that you have someone who can remind you to replace the patch. Store the patch at room temperature (or as per instructions on the packaging) and in the same place so that you remember to wear them.
If you wish to get your period, do not use the patch for the fourth week. However, if you want to skip your period, then use a new patch for the fourth week, too.
How does it work?
The patch releases estrogen and progestin, which prevents ovulation, i.e. the ovaries are unable to release any eggs, which the sperm can fertilise. The hormones also thicken the entrance of the cervix, which prevents the entry of sperm into the cervix. Hence, the birth control patch prevents pregnancy in two ways.
Is the birth control patch effective?
When used correctly, the birth control patch is 99% effective. If you forget to change the patch, the patch falls off, it is not stored correctly, or you do not wear it correctly, then it may render ineffective. It is, therefore, advisable to use another contraception method such as a condom along with the birth control patch.
Being on certain antibiotics, antifungals, anti-seizure, HIV medicines can reduce the effectiveness of the patch. Consult your doctor to understand better about any of your medication and how it can interfere with the birth control patch and explore alternatives.
Furthermore, if you have certain health conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, migraine, blood pressure problems, vein inflammation, or heart problems, you must consult your doctor before starting on this birth control patches. Discuss the possible side effects and what are the signs you need to be vigilant about in case the birth control patch doesn’t suit you.
What are the advantages and disadvantage of a birth control patch?
The advantages of using the birth control patch are:
It is convenient to use
The hormones in the birth control patch can help regulate your period, protect you against pelvic inflammatory disease, reduce the symptoms of PMS, reduce the chances of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer, etc
The period returns to its usual cycle within a couple of months after you stop using the patch, which means that if you are ready to get pregnant, you do not have to wait for very long to wait for the body to get back to its cycle
The limitations of the birth control patch include:
It doesn’t protect you from STDs
It is ineffective if you don’t replace it on time
There can be side effects
Whether you decide to use this method of contraception or not, it is best to discuss it with your doctor first.