The patch is a small, thin sticky patch (about 5cm across) that’s worn on the skin. You wear a patch for seven days, using a new patch each week for three weeks and then have one week without a patch. You then repeat the same routine each month. It releases two hormones - oestrogen and progesterone - that are absorbed into the blood stream through the skin. It is 99% effective when used correctly.
How does it work?
It stops the ovaries from releasing an egg and thickens the mucus found at the neck of the womb which acts like a cork and helps to prevent sperm entering the womb, which stops them meeting an egg. It also makes the lining of the womb thin, making it difficult for a fertilised egg to implant itself.
- Bleeding, period pain and premenstrual tension may be reduced
- Your fertility will return to normal soon after stopping the patch although there can be some delay
- It’s easy to use
- It doesn’t interrupt sex
- You have to remember to use it correctly or it may not work
- It’s not suitable for smokers over 35
- It may not be suitable if you are overweight
- It may not be suitable if you have other medical problems such as heart or circulatory disease, raised blood pressure, or some types of migraine
- It doesn’t provide protection from STIs
- It may be seen on the skin
- It can be responsible for causing sore skin/rashes and itching
- It doesn’t provide protection from sexually transmitted infections
To find out where you can get the contraceptive patch please click here.