There are many forms of contraception available today. Hormonal birth control like contraceptive pills are the most popular but also the most tedious to take. IUDs, although convenient since they can last for five to ten years after insertion, carry serious risks like infertility. Cervical caps and diaphragms, on the other hand, rely on correct placement rather than preventing ovulation and fertilization. If you want to try an effective and convenient form of birth control, you can opt to use contraceptive patches.
The birth control patch is another form of hormonal birth control. It uses the same hormones found in oral contraceptive pills but is administered through the skin rather than the mouth. A week’s worth of estrogen and progesterone are contained in the 4.5-centimeter square beige adhesive patch. Sold under the brand Ortho-Evra, the birth control patch’s growing popularity is often attributed to several key advantages that make it a viable contraceptive option.
Advantages of using a birth control patch
The patch is good for a week. Since it only needs to be replaced once a week, there is no need to maintain a strict daily schedule similar to pill package cycles.
* Ease of use
The patch is usually attached to the woman’s abdomen, upper arms, upper torso, or buttocks by means of a built-in adhesive. The hormones in the patch seep through the skin to the bloodstream without the pain of injections or hassles of taking pills.
Using a birth control patch guarantees a 95% success in preventing pregnancies. This means that with correct and consistent use of the patch, only five women out of 100 will get pregnant.
However, as effective as birth control patch is in preventing pregnancy, it still relies on consistent and correct use. Below is a guide on using birth control patches:
Using a birth control patch
1. Apply the patch on the first day of your menstrual cycle.
Like most methods of hormonal birth control, the patch must be used in sync with your menstrual cycle. Stick the patch on any of the following areas: upper arm, abdomen, upper torso, or buttocks. It is advisable to stick the patch to areas that more most infrequently exposed to minimize chances of peeling off. Also ensure that the area to be covered by the patch is free of any cut, lesions, or rashes.
2. Wear the patch even when doing daily activities.
Do not remove the patch unless the week is over and it is time to change it again. You can do normal activities like swimming, bathing, and others without ruining the patch. Just avoid scrubbing the patch-covered area too much.
3. Change the patch weekly for three weeks.
You will need a new patch weekly for three weeks. Do not apply the patch on the spot of the previous patch as this can lead to irritation. Remember to change the patch on the same day every week to ensure a balance cycle. For example, if you applied your first patch on Monday, all succeeding patches must be applied on a Monday too.
4. Go patch-free on the fourth week.
On your fourth week, forego using the patch to allow your body to have a period. Resume using the patch on the first week of your next cycle. Remember not to reposition the patch after you have applied it since doing so loosens the adhesive.