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Home » Medical » Contraception » Contraceptive Patch

Contraceptive Patch

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Contraceptive patch is a small patch that sticks to a woman's skin and releases hormones into her bloodstream. It has three layers :

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The outer, protective, polyester layer;


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The medicated, adhesive layer;


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A protective liner which is removed prior to applying the patch.


The patch can be applied to the skin of the buttock, abdomen, upper torso (but not the breasts), or the outside of the upper arm. Each patch lasts seven days. The patch releases two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream through the skin. Like the combined pill it stops the ovaries from releasing an egg for fertilisation every month.

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It thickens the mucus around the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to get into the womb.


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It makes the lining of the womb thinner so it is less likely to accept a fertilised egg.


The contraceptive patch is not suitable for all women. A doctor or nurse will need to know about a woman's medical history and any illnesses suffered by immediate members of her family to find out if there are any medical reasons why it might not be suitable. The patch is 99% effective when used properly. This means that one in every 100 women who use the patch get pregnant every year. It is less effective if not used according to the instructions.

Advantages of Contraceptive patch

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As with the combined pill, it usually makes your bleeds regular, lighter and less painful


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It doesn't interrupt sex and it is easy to use


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It may help with premenstrual symptoms


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It may reduce the risk of cancer of the ovary, womb and colon


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It may reduce the risk of fibroids, ovarian cysts and breast disease that is not cancer.


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Unlike the pill, the hormones do not need to be absorbed by the stomach, so the patch is not affected if you vomit or have diarrhoea.


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You don't have to think about it every day - you only have to remember to replace the patch once a week


Disadvantages of Contraceptive patch

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If a patch becomes dislodged and cannot be firmly reattached with ten seconds of continuous pressure, then it must be removed and replaced.


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It is difficult to hide and thus offers less privacy than many other contraceptive methods.


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The patch can cause breast tenderness, vaginal spotting, and/or temporary interruption of menses. These side effects usually disappear within the first two cycles of patch use.


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The patch can cause skin irritation, redness, or rash.


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The patch is expensive. When it is removed, it must be wrapped and placed in a garbage can (not flushed).


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The patch is less effective in preventing pregnancy among women who weigh more than 198 pounds.


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The patch must be stored carefully in a clean, cool, dark place-not in a purse or the glove compartment of a car.


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The patch provides no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. For protection against STDs, a woman should use condoms.


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Women must remember to change the patch once a week for three weeks and then to resume the patch after seven patch-free days.


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Women who use the patch are vulnerable to the same health issues that arise with birth control pills, including increased risk of heart attack and stroke.


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Women who smoke should not use the patch.