The Patch

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Easy to use, works like the pill, but only have to worry about it once a week

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The patch is a thin, beige, piece of plastic that is little less than two inches across. You stick it on your skin every week and then leave it off the fourth week. It gives off hormones that prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs and by thickening your cervical mucus to help block sperm from getting to an egg.

Pros
  • Easy to use – just like sticking a band aid on!
  • Doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment
  • Might give you more regular, predictable, and lighter periods
  • May clear up acne
  • Can reduce menstrual cramps and PMS
  • Offers protection against some health problems like endometrial and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency, anemia, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Can be used with barrier methods
Cons
  • Doesn’t protect against STIs, including HIV
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritation where the patch sits on your skin
  • May change your sex drive
  • Not reusable

How to Use

You can put the patch on your bottom, stomach, upper outer arm, or upper back. Never put the patch on your breasts. Every week you will put a new patch on for 3 weeks. On the fourth week, when you don’t have a patch on, you will probably get your period. The patch also allows for you to have predictable periods.

Effort

The patch takes some discipline and planning. It needs to be changed once a week besides on the fourth week, when you will not wear one.

Effectiveness

The patch is really effective when it’s changed on time each week. With perfect use, it is 99% effective, but with typical use it 91% effective. The patch is less effective if you weigh more than 198 pounds.

Side Effects

Side effects with the patch may include nausea, irregular bleeding, and breast tenderness. But usually these side effects are temporary while your body adjusts to new hormones. Other side effects that might last a little longer are irritation where the patch sits on your skin and possible change in sex drive. If you are still feeling uncomfortable after 3 months, talk to your healthcare provider about switching methods. If you are over 35 and a smoker, you have increased chances for certain side effects.

Pregnancy

You will be able to become pregnant as soon as you stop using the patch. If you stop using the patch and are not ready to become pregnant, use another method right away.

How to Get

The patch requires a prescription from a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, find a family planning clinic near you.

Cost

You may qualify for free or discounted costs. To find out if you qualify, find a healthcare provider near you.


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