The contraceptive patch is also known as the transdermal patch. It is one of many types of contraception. It works by delivering hormones into the body through the skin and these hormones are designed to stop women from falling pregnant. The contraceptive patch – or EVRA patch – is not a barrier method of contraception. This means that it does not protect you from sexually transmitted illnesses. If you choose for this patch, you need it replacing on a weekly basis. Every fourth week is a patch-free week, when you will notice a bleed just like a menstrual period.
Understanding the Contraceptive Patch
The patch itself is small and beige and is generally 5cm by 5cm. It looks a lot like a nicotine patch, as such. Every day, the patch releases a dose of oestrogen – the female sex hormone – as well as progesterone. These hormones reach your bloodstream through the skin. The patch works exactly the same way as other contraceptives, by:
• Stopping your ovaries from ovulating (releasing an egg every month)
• Making the mucus of your cervix (the womb entrance) thicker, so sperm is unable to get through
• Making the lining of your womb thinner, so that an egg finds it harder to attach itself
Where Can I Get the Contraceptive Patch?
There are a number of places where you can the contraceptive patch. You must, however, make sure that you are going to a registered medical facility. This includes a family doctor, community contraceptive clinics, genitourinary medicine clinics, young people’s services and sexual health clinics. A medical professional has a duty to keep your information confidential, even if you are requesting contraceptives when you are younger than the age of consent. However, if you indicate to the professional that you are sexually active, they have a duty of care to report this. You should also make sure that you are a suitable candidate for this type of contraceptive. Lastly, the medical professional will be able to show you how to use contraceptive patch products. The contraceptive patch cost will depend mainly on your geographical location and insurance packages.
Effectiveness of the Contraceptive Patch
Contraceptive patch efficiency is said to be 99%. However, it is important to note that it is considerably less effective in women who weigh more than 90kg, even if this does not mean their BMI is too high. It is very easy to use the patch and it has no influence on sex. One of the most useful things is that you do not need to remember to take it every day, as you would with a contraceptive pill. You only need to change the patch on a weekly basis.
However, every product has a number of disadvantages that you do need to take into consideration. The disadvantages, or contraceptive patch side-effects, mainly include:
• It being visible
• Possible skin irritations
• Headaches and nausea (temporarily)
• Possible irregular bleeding
• It being less effective in combination with other medicines
Risks of the Contraceptive Patch
Any hormonal contraceptives carry a small risk of developing blood clots. If you have ever had a clot, it is important not to use any hormonal contraceptive products. There is also a very slight increase in the chance of developing cervical and breast cancer. However, the research into this is not yet conclusive. In general, however, the contraceptive patch benefits greatly outweigh the potential risks. Nevertheless, if you are ready to start using a contraceptive product, you should always compare the different types of contraceptives that are on the market. You must also discuss it with your medical professional, who is best equipped to advise you based on your medical history.