One of the simplest contraceptives to use, the patch also known as a trans-dermal contraceptive is a hormonal contraceptive that is placed on the skin on a weekly basis to prevent pregnancy. It has the hormones estrogen and progestin that make it work effectively. When the patch is used correctly, it is 99% effective to prevent pregnancy and helps manage other symptoms during your cycle.
How does the patch work?
The patch has hormones estrogen and progestin that get absorbed into your bloodstream through the skin. Once absorbed, these hormones help prevent pregnancy by either:
- thickening your cervical mucus. This in return reduces the chances of sperm swimming to fertilize any egg.
- stopping ovulation. This way no egg for any sperm to fertilize.
- making the uterus wall thin, unfavorable for any egg implantation.
Where is the patch put?
Just as the name suggests, the patch is put on your skin. You can either put it on the skin on your upper arm, lower belly, butt, or on your back. As you put the patch onto your skin, ensure that the skin surface is clean, dry, and not hairy. Avoid placing the patch on irritated skin, sore skin, on your breasts, or a surface that is often rubbed by the clothes you wear. It is also wise to keep varying the skin surfaces you place the patch on so as to avoid skin irritation. Avoid applying any lotions or petroleum jelly on surfaces that have the patch on so as to not irritate your skin.
How long should I have a patch on?
The patch should be changed on a weekly basis. That means, you wear it for seven days and on the eighth day you change into a new patch. The patch is also worn for three weeks in a month. The fourth week of your cycle, you are required to stay without a patch so as to allow your periods to come.
How do I put the patch on?
Putting the patch on has very easy steps. To put it on:
- Ensure the spot you are putting on the patch is clean, dry and not irritated.
- Open the patch pouch gently.
- Pull the patch out. Normally it has a plastic wrap around it.
- Peel off the plastic layer from the sticky side of the patch. Ensure not to tamper with the sticky side in the process.
- While holding the other side that still has the plastic layer on, place the patch onto the skin surface of your choice.
- Once placed on the skin, peel off the other plastic layer and press on the patch for 5-10 seconds on the skin to ensure it is stuck properly.
And there you have it, the patch is well placed on your skin ready to work its magic.
How do I remove the patch?
Once the patch has completed one week, you will have to change into a new one. To remove the patch,
- Gently peel off the patch from your skin.
- Fold the old patch into half ensuring it sticks together.
- Wrap it with a piece of tissue or plastic bag.
- Dispose of it into your dustbin.
What are the benefits of using the patch?
The patch has its own set of benefits. They are inclusive of:
- uninterrupted sex.
- it is very easy to use.
- it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, therefore if you vomit or have a running stomach it is still effective.
- can be removed at any time during your cycle.
- it does not require daily reminding like the pill.
- it helps manage premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
- it helps make your periods less painful, lighter, and regular.
- it reduces the chances of getting ovarian, uterus, and bowel cancers.
- reduces the chances of you getting anemia.
What are downsides of the patch?
The patch also has its own set of disadvantages upon usage. They are inclusive of:
- no protection against any Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD).
- it can cause skin irritation or soreness.
- it may be seen.
- if you are heavy, weigh more than 198 pounds, the patch may be less effective to you.
- if you smoke, the patch will not be effective.
- if you have epilepsy, had any cancer, or can easily get blood clots, using the patch adds more complications related to the mentioned problems.
What do I do if I forget to put on my patch after the patch-free week?
As soon as you remember to put on the patch, put in on. The only downside is that your new start date of the week will have changed. If by chance you have stayed for more than 24 hours without the patch, there is a likely hood for you to get pregnant, therefore as you put it on, complement the patch using other protection methods.
For you to get the most suitable contraceptive for you, ensure that you visit your doctor for consultation and further medical advice.