All About the Patch
The birth control patch is a hormonal contraceptive that provides transdermal delivery of estrogens and progestins to prevent pregnancy. The patch is a simple and convenient option – and it's affordable. Read on to learn everything there is to know about the patch.
What Is the Patch?
The birth control patch is a thin, square patch that sticks to skin and releases hormone transdermally into the bloodstream. It looks like a bandaid and it's usually applied to the forearm, back, or stomach.
How Does it Work?
The patch is a hormonal birth control option that works by releasing estrogen and progestin into the blood through the skin. The hormones in the patch work in the same way as the hormones in the combined birth control pill and the vaginal ring.
The estrogen in the pill causes the body to stop ovulation, which prevents an egg from being released from the ovaries. The lack of an egg prevents pregnancy since there is nothing for sperm to fertilize.
Secondly, the hormones in the pill cause a thickening of the vaginal mucus. Thick vaginal mucus prevents sperm from reaching the egg should one be present.
How Effective is It?
The effectiveness of the birth control patch is dependent on a variety of factors.
Foremost, regular and correct application of the birth control patch is the single most important factor in maintaining its efficacy. If the patch is not applied regularly at an interval of every four weeks, then the steady stream of hormones will be disrupted and compromise the effectiveness of the patch.
Further, the efficacy of the patch can also be affected by other medications you may be taking. Particular medications interfere with the efficacy of birth control and the best way to be sure that none of your medications interact with your birth control is to thoroughly discuss all of your medications and medical history with a trained medical professional.
Finally, in the case of the patch, there is the concern that it can fall off. While not at all common, there can be instances in which the patch comes unattached or is pulled off by an outside or environmental force. Due to this, it is best to stick the patch in a position where it is easily kept track of.
How Frequently Do I Have to Take it?
The birth control patch is applied every four weeks. It's much like a bandaid and can be applied to the forearm, belly, back, or buttocks. Be careful and make sure NOT to apply it to the breast as this tissue is very sensitive and can react negatively to excessive hormones.
Make sure to apply a new patch every four weeks and remove the patch after 3 weeks (3 weeks on, one week off). Preferably stick it in a place where you will notice if the patch falls off. While not common, there are instances in which the patch can slip off due to agitation or getting caught on something.
What Are the Side Effects?
The hormones in the birth control patch are the same ones that are used in the birth control pill, so they have similar side effect and risk profiles.
Usage of the birth control patch may cause dizziness, headaches, discharge, nausea, and other symptoms. However, the best way to understand your risks are by having a thorough conversation with your healthcare provider. They will be able to take a comprehensive assessment of your medical history and other medications you may be taking and recommend the best birth control options for you.
Why Should I Pick the Birth Control Patch?
The birth control patch is a good option for those who want to use an option that is simple and low maintenance. Of the birth control options, the patch is possibly the simplest in both application and removal.
If you're interested in the birth control patch, your next option is to discuss your health objectives with a certified medical provider.
If you're interested in speaking with one of our clinicians here at Hello Alpha, we are available and ready to help you. Just fill out this form with your medical information and a clinician will be in touch.
Our clinicians are ready to listen to your questions and concerns and help you choose the birth control option that is best for you, so feel free to contact us when you are ready.
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