Contraception and Safer Sex
What is the contraceptive patch?
The contraceptive patch is a hormonal form of birth control. It looks like a square bandage or a quit smoking patch. It is thin, beige and sticks to your skin. It releases two hormones into your bloodstream through your skin to prevent pregnancy: estrogen and progestin.
How does the contraceptive patch work?
Similar to other methods of hormonal contraception (e.g. pill, ring, injection)The contraceptive patch works in three ways:
• It stops your ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation)
• It changes the lining of your uterus, making it thinner and more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant
• It makes changes the texture of your cervical fluid, which creates a barrier for sperm to enter the uterus.
How effective is the contraceptive patch?
The contraceptive patch effectiveness is very similar to the hormonal contraceptive pill. However if you weigh more than 90 kg (198 lbs) the patch is less effective.
The patch is approximately 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when used perfectly. With typical use it drops to 92% effective
* The hormonal contraceptive patch does not protect against sexually transmitted infections *
How do I use the contraceptive Patch?
The patch can be put on four areas of the body: buttocks, lower abdomen, upper outer arm or upper torso (excluding breasts)
• Read the instructions that come along with the hormonal contraceptive patch
• It is based on a 28-day cycle (like contraceptive pills)
• If you are switching from another hormonal method of contraception, start the patch on the day you would start your new pill pack, hormonal contraceptive ring or injectible contraceptive.
• Weeks 1, 2 and 3: wear one new patch each week
• Week 4: do not wear a patch, this is the week your period should start
• At the end of week 4 put on a new patch
• To dispose, fold the patch in half with sticky sides together and throw out
* If the patch starts to peel off, it will not work properly. If it starts to peel off, try to stick it back to your skin; if it does not stick back on naturally (without tape), remove the patch and replace it with a new one. Use an additional contraceptive method i.e. condoms and spermicides for 7 days. If it is off your body for more than 24 hours, replace the patch with a new one and record the day, this will become your new patch change day.
What can be the advantages to using the contraceptive patch?
• Easy to use
• Very effective in preventing pregnancy
• Does not interrupt sex
• No need of daily monitoring, only need to remember to change the patch one time each week
• Does not require partner’s involvement
• You can exercise, swim, go into whirl pools without it falling off because the patches are waterproof
• Helps regulate menstrual cycle
• Can decrease menstrual cramps and bleeding
What can be the disadvantages to using the contraceptive patch?
• You need a prescription to obtain the patch
• The patch only comes in the beige colour, which does not match everyone’s skin tone
• The patch can be visible
• It may irritate your skin at the application spot
• The patch may start to peel away from your skin
• It is not as effective for women over 198 lbs (90 kg).
• You may experience side effects such as: headaches, breast tenderness, nausea and spotting
• Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
How can I get the contraceptive patch?
• The hormonal contraceptive patch is available with a prescription from a doctor.
How much does the contraceptive patch cost?
Pharmacy: Approximately $30 but may be a bit more or less, depending on the individual pharmacy’s dispensing fees.
Sexual Health Centre (located at 179 Clarence Street in Ottawa): $10