Birth Control Patch - Usage & Side Effects

Birth Control Patch

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Are you planning to avoid pregnancy? Are you aware of the various birth control methods available today? From the pill and the injection to protection, there is a wide range of preventive measures that can be taken to avoid pregnancy.

One very convenient and effective way to aid birth control is the birth control patch. If you are not sure what it is or how it works, then read on to know more about it.

What Is A Birth Control Patch?

A birth control patch (1), as the name suggests, is a patch. It is also commonly known as Ortha Evra, its brand name.

  • It sticks on your skin and helps to prevent pregnancy.
  • It is considered a safe and effective way to avoid getting pregnant.
  • As you just have to simply stick it on your skin, it is extremely easy to use.
  • It can be bought easily from the medical store using a prescription.
  • The cost of birth control patch is between zero to eighty dollars a month.

The patch is a thin, beige colored plastic patch. You need to wear a new patch on your skin once a week for 21 days continuously. This is usually followed by a patch-free week.

[ Read: Birth Control Ring ]

How Does A Birth Control Patch Work?

The birth control patch releases certain hormones that regulate your body’s functioning.

  • The birth control patch contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. These are the same hormones that are found in birth control pills.
  • These hormones prevent the eggs from leaving your ovaries.
  • Unless there is no egg released, it cannot join with a sperm. This means that you cannot get pregnant.
  • The hormones from the patch also make your cervical mucus thicker. This prevents the sperm from reaching your eggs. This is also another way in which any chances of getting pregnant are prevented.

When Can I Start Using The Birth Control Patch?

Your doctor will guide you best about when you should start using the birth control patch. Most women use the patch within the first five days after their period starts. If you start using the patch later, your protection against pregnancy will begin after seven days.

Is The Birth Control Patch Effective?

If you are worried how effective is the birth control, then relax! The birth control patch is considered to be very effective (2).

  • In order for the patch to work effectively, it is important you always place it on your skin in time.
  • The patch may not always work in case you are overweight. In this case, you may speak to your healthcare provider to understand how well the patch will work.
  • The patch may not work in case you are taking certain medications. These include rifampin, which is an antibiotic; griseofulvin which is an antifungal; certain HIV medicines, anti-seizure medicines, and St. John’s wart.

If used properly, the patch can be 99% effective.(3)

[ Read: Birth Control Shot Effectiveness ]

Are There Any Side Effects Of The Birth Control Patch?

There may be a few side effects of using the birth control patch. Here are some that are most commonly seen:

  • A feeling of tenderness in the breast
  • Nausea
  • Sudden menstrual cramps
  • Redness or appearance of rashes at the spot where you place the patch
  • Headache

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or feeling extremely uncomfortable, do check with your doctor.

When Should I Not Be Using The Birth Control Patch?

In the following circumstances, you should not use the birth control patch:

  • If you are over the age of 35 and are also an active smoker.
  • If you suffer from migraine, you need to first speak to your doctor about using the patch.
  • If you have suffered or currently are suffering from any form of cancer, like breast cancer.
  • If you are already pregnant or are unsure whether you are pregnant or not.
  • If you are suffering from or have suffered from blood clots, heart attacks or stroke.

[ Read: When To Stop Taking Birth Control Pills ]

Does The Birth Control Patch Give Protection From Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

While the patch does protect you against pregnancy, it offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. The safest way to keep yourself protected from STDs is to ask your partner to wear a condom.

While the patch is designed to prevent pregnancy, you should always speak to your doctor in case of any discomfort. Also, if you feel you have accidentally become pregnant, do consult your doctor and stop using the patch for the moment.

Have you used a birth control patch earlier? If yes, do share your experiences here.

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