Everything You Need to Know about The Birth Control Patch
Taking care of your sexual health and wellness means using protection whenever you have sex. While a lot of women turn to the Pill to prevent pregnancy, some find that this adversely affects their wellbeing, while others simply forget to take the Pill on a daily basis, meaning it won’t do its job. If this applies to you, it may be time to consider the birth control patch.
The Patch is small, square and beige, so it’s not totally obvious. It sticks to your skin and releases hormones into your bloodstream that prevent you from becoming pregnant. Through a combination of the hormones progesterone and oestrogen, the Patch stops you from ovulating, or releasing an egg from your ovaries during your monthly cycle. As you are already aware, a sperm needs to meet an egg in order to create a baby and so, if your partner’s swimmers get up there and there’s no egg waiting, they’ll have nothing to fertilise. Another way the Patch protects you from unwanted pregnancies is by thickening the mucus that your cervix produces. This makes it tricky for sperm to enter and reach any eggs that may have been released. Plus, the hormones can also affect the lining of your uterus, meaning that even if the egg is released AND fertilised, it will still have difficulty attaching to the wall of the uterus.
You use the Patch as you would other birth control methods that use hormones, such as the birth control pill or ring; based on your mothly menstrual cycle. On the first day of your cycle, or the first Sunday after your cycle begins, you put on the patch and change it once a week for three weeks in the row. You should apply the patch to one of four areas. You either put it on your abdomen, bum, upper arm or somewhere on your upper torso as long as you don’t put it on your breasts. On week four, you don’t wear the patch at all, and this allows you to have your period. To ensure that it keeps working effectively, it’s absolutely vital that you apply a new patch on the same day every week. If you apply your first patch on a Monday, for example, you should always apply your patches on a Monday.
When it comes to changing your patches, make sure you always pull the old one off first before you apply the new one. You should place the new patch on a different area from the old patch, still remembering to place it on one of the four recommended areas listed above. This is to avoid irritating your skin and, for the same reason, you shouldn’t apply the patch to skin that is red, irritated, or cut. Moreover, during the first week of wearing the patch, it is strongly recommended that you also use another form of contraception to prevent pregnancy. If, at any time, your patch becomes loose and falls off, or you forget to put it on at the right time, you should read the instructions that come in the package or call your doctor. You may need to use a different method of birth control – such as condoms – or stop having sex for a while to protect against pregnancy.
If, for any reason, you decide to stop using the patch, you will need to begin using another method of birth control, usually after 24 hours of removing your last patch. You don’t need to take off your patch when participating in regular activities like swimming and exercise, and you can also get it wet in the shower or bath. In fact, you shouldn’t take off your patch until the week is over. You may be tempted to re-position or move your patch, but this may cause it to lose some of its stickiness and make it fall off more easily. You should apply a replacement patch if the patch does not stick well, apply a replacement patch.