Say what you will about the world today, but it’s a great time to be a woman selecting birth control. Why? You’ve got lots of options, like birth control patches, implants, and so many types of pills. The one drawback to this abundance of choice is that it can be confusing to figure out the best one for you. If you’re considering the birth control patch, read on. We’ve collected the most commonly asked questions about this form of birth control, and have answers provided by our medical team.
What Is the Birth Control Patch?
The patch is like a tiny bandaid containing two hormones, progestin and estrogen, which are absorbed through the skin. These hormones keep the ovaries from releasing eggs and thicken the mucus on your cervix in order to prevent pregnancy.
When used correctly, the patch is 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, making it one of the most reliable forms of birth control. Some things such as forgetting to change your patch or taking certain medication can make the patch less effective. Following the directions and changing the patch on time increases the effectiveness.
How Is the Birth Control Patch Used?
You place one active patch on your skin once per week for three weeks, always applying a new patch on the same day of the week. On the fourth week you don’t need to apply a patch, and you’ll get your period. The following week you’ll start the cycle over again.
Stick the patch to clean, dry skin on your belly, back, buttocks, or upper outer arm. Your spare patches should be stored at room temperature away from sunlight.
Why Do Women Like the Patch?
The patch is popular with women who don’t want to take a daily pill like Ortho Tri-Cyclen, but don’t want a more longer-lasting form of birth control like the shot or IUD. In addition, you only have to replace the patch once per week, making it easier to remember
Where Is the Patch Available?
The birth control patch is relatively easy to get. You do need a doctor’s prescription, but Nurx makes that step easy with our convenient, online medical consultations. We can prescribe online and mail your birth control patches directly to your door.
Many types of insurance will cover the cost of the birth control patch. At Nurx, we accept many different insurance providers. If you don’t have insurance, that’s no problem! We’ll help you find an affordable option that works with your budget, like the generic birth control patch brand Xulane.
What Precautions Should You Take With the Patch?
Because the birth control patch contains estrogen, there are certain people who shouldn’t use it because it might raise their risk of dangerous side effects including blot clots. This includes women who smoke and are 35 or older and women with these health conditions:
- History of blood clots, stroke, or heart attacks
- High blood pressure that medicine cannot control
- Liver disease
- Diabetes with kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage
- Certain kinds of severe migraine headaches
You should consider any allergies you have when choosing the birth control patch. One side effect that some users experience is a skin reaction at the site of application. This may be a very minor side effect that is not harmful, but if you experience severe redness, itching, rashes, hives, swelling, or trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention right away.
What Side Effects Does the Patch Have?
As with any birth control, there are some side effects that you should be aware of even though their occurrence is unlikely. Some of the potential side effects of birth control patches include nausea, headaches, dizziness, mood changes, blood clots, breast tenderness, stomach pain, skin irritation, and irregular menstrual bleeding.
Call your doctor right away if you experience sudden shortness of breath, yellowing of the skin or eyeballs, severe pain or pressure in your chest, sudden, severe headache, weakness or numbness in the arm or leg, persistent leg pain, or sudden partial or complete blindness.
These side effects can sound scary, but keep in mind that they are very uncommon. Most women who use the birth control patch don’t experience harmful side effects. In fact, some experience positive side effects as a result of using the patch, such as a reduction in acne or PMS symptoms. The patch may even help to prevent serious health conditions like breast or ovarian cysts and endometrial and ovarian cancers.
Does the Birth Control Patch Make You Gain Weight?
Scientific studies have found that using the birth control patch does not have any significant effect on weight.
Does the Birth Control Patch Cause Acne?
No. In fact, some women actually experience a reduction in acne when using this form of birth control. Estrogen’s ovulation-suppressing powers mean less hormonal acne.
Does the Birth Control Patch Stop Your Period?
It depends on how you use it. If you wear a new patch every week with no breaks, you’ll stop having periods. If you want to get periods, wear patches for three weeks followed by one week of not wearing a patch. Consult your doctor about which method is best for you. You should put on a new patch on the same day every week— if you start on a Sunday, then Sundays are always the day you take off the old patch and put on a new one. Do not wear the same patch longer than a week or you’ll put yourself at risk of pregnancy.
Any Other Important Information to Know?
Some medications can make the birth control patch less effective, including barbiturates, aprepitant, griseofulvin, bosentan, St. John’s Wort, certain combinations of HIV medicines, and certain seizure medications. Be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications or supplements you’re taking before receiving a prescription for the patch.
Other birth control methods you should know about:
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.