This is the first blog of the year! Yay! It’s also the last Friday of the month! Why is that important? Well, I will now only be posting new blogs on the last Friday of the month! I may sneak additional blogs in from time to time but from here on out, you can expect to see a new post at the end of the month. Don’t worry though; you can still contact me by email anytime you have any questions – firstname.lastname@example.org
The first blog of the year is about the birth control patch. I have gotten several emails lately with questions about the patch and so I’m here to tell you all about it! And as always, feel free to comment or email any additional questions you may have.
What is the birth control patch?
The birth control patch is a small patch that sticks to your skin to prevent pregnancy. Like other methods of birth control, the patch includes a combination of an estrogen (estradiol) and progestogen (progestin) to prevent pregnancy. If used correctly, the patch is a very effective (meaning it works really well) at preventing pregnancy.
How does the birth control patch work?
The patch works by “telling” the ovaries not to release an egg (called ovulation). If no egg is released, there is nothing for sperm to fertilize (the fertilization of an egg by sperm results in pregnancy). However, if the patch is missed or used incorrectly, the ovaries don’t get the message (and may release an egg) making pregnancy possible if there has been recent unprotected sex (sex without a condom).
How to use the patch:
Wear the first patch for 7 days. At the end of the 7 days, take off the first patch and apply a new patch in a different location (see below for acceptable patch locations). At the end of those 7 days, take the second patch off and apply a new one in a different location. After the end of those 7 days, take the patch off and DO NOT apply another one. Instead, leave the patch off for 7 days. That’s, 3 weeks on & 1 week off.
It’s during those 7 days of NOT wearing a patch that most women get their period (however, some women may or may not bleed the entire 7 days). Regardless of whether or not you are still bleeding, start a new patch only when the 7 days are complete. No sooner and no later.
Never go more than 7 days without wearing a patch, if you do, you may get pregnant.
Don’t use lotions or makeup on your skin near where the patch is
Don’t put the patch on the same part of your body for 2 weeks in a row – skin may become irritated. Also, don’t wear the path on your legs or breasts.
Some women experience breast tenderness when they first start using the patch. That generally goes away within a few weeks.
Before applying a new patch, think about the clothes you may wear that week and whether or not the patch may be visible.
Why some people love the birth control patch:
What to do if a patch falls off or I make a mistake?
Issues and mistakes with the patch happen. Although the patch is designed not to come off the skin, it’s definitely possible. Also, sometimes patch users forget when to take off or put on a new patch (if you forget often, you might want to consider switching birth control methods). Knowing what to do if that happens can help prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Read the following for some general instructions on what to do if a patch mistake happens!
If a Patch edge lifts up:
Press down firmly on the Patch with the palm of your hand for 10 seconds, making sure that the whole Patch adheres to your skin. Run your fingers over the entire surface area to smooth out any “wrinkles” around the edges of the Patch.
- If your Patch does not stick completely, remove it and apply a replacement Patch (no backup method is needed and your Patch Change Day will stay the same). Ask your healthcare professional for a replacement Patch prescription so you always have an extra Patch available.
- Do not tape or wrap the Patch to your skin or reapply a Patch that is partially adhered to clothing
If your Patch has been off or partially off:
- For less than 1 Day, try to reapply it. If the Patch does not adhere completely, apply a new patch immediately. (No backup contraception is needed and your Patch Change Day will stay the same)
- For more than 1 Day or if you are not sure for how long, you may become pregnant. To reduce this risk, apply a new Patch and start a new 4-week cycle. You will now have a new Patch Change Day and must use non-hormonal backup contraception (such as a condoms) for the first week of your new cycle
How to purchase a REPLACEMENT Patch:
- You can get a replacement Patch at the pharmacy where you filled your prescription
- You will need a replacement Patch prescription from your healthcare professional
- Unfortunately, Family Pact does not pay for the replacement patch. You will need to pay for the replacement Patch when you pick it up at the pharmacy.
From the Ortho Evra website:
In happiness & health,
Reviewed by Kohar Der Simonian, MD and Andrea Raider, NP