The Birth Control Patch is a small skin patch with the same hormones as in many birth control pills. Women can wear this patch on most parts of their skin including on the buttocks, abdomen, upper torso (except for the breasts), or the outer part of the upper arm. Aften it has been placed on the skin, the birth control patch is worn for one week and then a new one is placed on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks. Three patcahes are used, each for one week, and the fourth week is a "patch-free week". It is during the patch-free week that many many women have some bleeding similar to a menstrual period.
The patch prevents pregnancy by delivering a continuous amount of two hormones, estrogen and progestin, through the skin and into the blood stream. Tghese hormones are similar to those used in the birth control pill.
When used correctly, the birth control patch is 99% effective.
There are a few possible side effects of the birth control patch that include:
- Breast tenderness
- Rash or redness at the site of the patch
- Menstrual cramps
The following women should not get the birth control patch. Those:
- with blood clots, history of heart attack, or stroke.
- over 35, who smoke cigarettes.
- with certain cancers, such as breast cancer.
- who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant.
Similar to the pill, the birth control patch does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). The male condom provides the best protection from most STDs.