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Contraceptive patch

The contraceptive patch is a hormonal method. It’s a small beige square that you stick on your skin. It releases hormones that are absorbed by your skin and prevent pregnancy.

How do I use it?

The patch has to be stuck to your skin in a place where it’s not likely to fall off: on your upper arm, torso, back, or buttocks. You have to put it on once a week, always on the same day, for 3 weeks in a row. Then you take it off for the fourth week to have your period. The contraceptive patch can be prescribed by your doctor or, in Quebec, by a specialized nurse for 6 months.

Forgotten? Fallen off?

Sometimes your patch might come unstuck. So you need to check every day to make sure it’s still there. If it comes unstuck, just take it off and put a new one on right away. It doesn’t change your routine at all: you can still replace the patch on the regular day.

If you forget to put your patch on, check this site to find out what to do: https://www.sexandu.ca/sos/sos.php

👍 Advantages

  • It’s an effective, reversible contraceptive: you’ll soon become fertile again when you stop using it.
  • You can have sex at any time without a risk of pregnancy.
  • The patch may make your periods more regular, lighter, and less painful.
  • You have less risk of forgetting it than the pill since you don’t have to take a pill every day.
  • It’s 98% to 99% effective if you use it properly.

👎 Disadvantages

  • The patch may irritate your skin in the place where it’s applied. To avoid this problem, you can put it in a different place each week.
  • You might sometimes forget to put a new patch on after 7 days.
  • The patch can come unstuck.
  • It doesn’t protect against BBSTIs.
  • The patch costs around $34 to $38, but it may be covered by provincial health insurance and private insurance.
  • It can have side-effects similar to those of the pill. The most frequent ones are headaches, nausea, vaginal discharge, and sore breasts. If symptoms appear, consult your doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist.
  • Avoid cigarettes! They don’t mix well with the patch: the combination can damage your health.

If you see that bits of glue are stuck to your skin after you take off your patch, simply clean the area with baby oil. In theory, your patch is water-resistant. But you should always check to make sure it’s still there after swimming. And watch out for sand if you go to the beach: it can get under the patch and loosen it.