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The birth control patch. You only need to change it once a week. So it’s ideal for women who don’t want to take a pill every day.
Talk to us to get birth control options suited specifically to you. Choose which birth control you’d like and order your contraceptive patch online.
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The contraceptive patch is a pretty convenient type of birth control. It doesn’t need to be fussed with every day, which gives it an edge over the pill, and it doesn’t need to be inserted anywhere, which makes it simpler than the contraceptive ring. For many women, it’s the perfect option.
It’s discreet too. The patch can be worn under clothing, so nobody will know that you’ve got special hormones in your bloodstream protecting you from becoming unexpectedly pregnant.
The patch is worn for a week at a time. This means you’ll change your patch on the same day every week. Don’t worry: it’s sticky enough to stay on your skin for that long, even when you shower. After three weeks of wearing patches, you’ll have a patch-free week before applying a new one and repeating the cycle.
The one birth control patch available in the UK is Evra. There are different names for the same patch in the USA, including Ortho-Evra and Xulane. It’s only available as combined birth control. At the minute, there’s no patch version of the progestogen-only pill.
Much like the combined pill, birth control patches contain two hormones. One is a progestogen, and the other an oestrogen. These hormones occur naturally in your body too, and they impact what your body goes through each month to prepare itself for possible pregnancy. Here are the basics.
Ovulation is when the ovary releases an egg. If that egg is fertilised, it travels to the uterus and attaches itself to the wall to grow. The lining of the uterus gets thicker just before this, making it easier for a fertilised egg to settle in.
The hormones in the birth control patch stop each bit of this process from happening. They can prevent ovulation, make the lining of the uterus thinner, and make the mucus in your cervix thicker, so it’s harder for sperm to swim through. So no egg, no welcoming walls to attach to, and no fertilisation.
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When used correctly (as directed on the package insert), the patch is over 99% effective. This means that within a year, out of 100 women using the patch, fewer than one of them will become pregnant.
Correct use requires taking off the patch when you need to and replacing it at the right time, including after your patch-free week is over and you’re starting a new cycle. But correct use isn’t always possible. Life happens.
When life happens, it’s called ‘typical’ use. This includes forgetting to change the patch, or putting it on late, or the patch coming off by mistake. When used “typically”, the patch is still around 91% effective. So that means 9 in 100 women using it will get pregnant over a whole year.
When you should start using the patch depends on whether you’re already using hormonal birth control.
If you haven’t been using other birth control methods, you can start using the patch on the first day of your period — or any day of your period up until the fifth day. You’ll be protected against pregnancy straight away.
If you start on any other day, you won’t be protected immediately and should use a back-up birth control method like condoms for a week. That gives the hormones in the patch enough time to become active.
When switching from the combined pill to the patch, put the patch on one day before your pill-pack finishes. If you’re changing from the contraceptive ring to the patch, you should put on a patch two days before removing the ring.
You can wear the patch on your thighs, buttocks, upper outer arm or upper body. Just make sure to place it on clean, unbroken skin. Don’t place the patch on dry, irritated or cracked skin.
Wherever you place the patch, make sure that it won’t be rubbed by tight clothes. This could make the patch less sticky, causing it to fall off. Be careful when applying lotions, creams or powders to the area where the patch is too.
When it’s time for you to take your patch off and put on a fresh one, you should place your new one on the opposite side of your body. Change your placement each week. If you’ve just worn your patch on the left side, wear the next one on your right.
No. Evra is currently the only one. It’s the only type of contraception available that you can use on a weekly basis. There’s no mini pill (single hormone) version of the patch at present.
If you’re looking for birth control that you can take every day, pills are an option for you. Or if you’d prefer to not have to think about using contraception on a daily basis, there’s the vaginal ring (which you change once a month). There’s also the injection (which you receive every three months) and the IUD (intrauterine device) which protects you from pregnancy for 5 or 10 years, depending on the type of IUD.
Yes. If you’re not happy with the patch, you just need to log into your Treated account and send us a message. We can talk you through alternative birth control treatments and advise you on which ones are safe and suitable for you.
Your contraception guide. NHS.
Estrogen and Progestin (Transdermal Patch Contraceptives): MedlinePlus Drug Information.
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