The contraceptive patch is a hormonal birth control method. It’s a small beige square that you apply to your skin. It releases hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that are absorbed into your blood stream.
What is it?
Like the birth control pill, the contraceptive patch works in three ways. First, it prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs. Second, it thickens cervical mucus (a natural viscous substance secreted by the cervix), which prevents sperm from entering the uterus. And third, it thins the uterine lining, so even if an egg is fertilized, it cannot attach to the uterine wall to develop.
How do I use a contraceptive patch?
The patch must be applied to the skin in a spot where it won’t fall off, such as your upper arm, your abdomen, your back, or your butt. You need to apply it once a week, always on the same day, for three consecutive weeks. On the fourth week, you do not apply it so that you can have your period. Your doctor can prescribe a contraceptive patch. In Quebec, a specialized nurse 👩⚕ can also prescribe it for up to six months.
What if I forget it or it falls off?
Your patch may occasionally fall off, so you’ll need to check that it is still attached every day.
If you forget to apply your patch or if you stop wearing it for over 24 hours, click this text to find out what to do.
- It can regulate your periods and make them lighter and less painful.
- You have a lower risk of forgetting to use it compared to the birth control pill, since you don’t need to take a pill every day.
- Its cost is covered by the Québec Health Insurance Plan.
- The patch may irritate your skin where you apply it. To prevent irritation, you can change where you apply it every week.
- It does not protect you against sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs).
If you notice bits of glue left on your skin after you remove the patch, you can clean the area with baby oil. In theory, your patch should be water resistant, but you should always check that it is still attached after being in the water.
Talk to your doctor or a nurse to learn more about this contraceptive method and its benefits and drawbacks.
Sources: FQPN, S.O.S Grossesse (French only)