Consumers today have plenty of options when it comes to birth control. However, with so many options, from implants to patches to pills, it can be hard for just about anyone to navigate all of these options. That’s why Nurx is creating a series called “Birth Control FAQs,” so they can try to empower consumers by answering the most frequently asked questions for each birth control type. If you want to learn more about how the patch works or the most common side effects from taking “the pill,” Nurx has your back. While we at Nurx don’t carry the patch as a birth control option, we invite you to talk to us about getting the best birth control pill for you, for only $5 for your first pack.
What Is the Birth Control Patch?
If some types of birth control seem too invasive or you have trouble remembering to take the pill every day, consider using the combination birth control patch. At Nurx, we love that the patch doesn’t require any injections or insertion, so there’s no discomfort involved. In addition, you only have to replace the patch once per week, making it easier to remember than a daily pill like Ortho Tri-Cyclen.
The patch works by releasing 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.
How Is the Birth Control Patch Used?
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’ll get your period and don’t need to wear one.
Stick the patch to clean, dry skin on your belly, back, buttocks, or upper outer arm, and don’t put it on the same area two weeks in a row. Your spare patches should be stored at room temperature away from sunlight.
Where Is the Patch Available?
Image via Flickr by Semtrio
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 consultations with licensed health care professionals. We can also mail your birth control patches directly to you so you won’t need to visit a pharmacy to pick up your prescription. If you’re concerned about privacy or discretion when it comes to your birth control, getting the patch from Nurx is a smart choice.
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?
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.
Don’t use the birth control patch if you smoke over the age of 35 or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those with any of the following health conditions should also avoid using the patch:
- 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
What Side Effects Does the Patch Have?
Consult your doctor before using the birth control patch. 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 iron deficiency, breast or ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, infections in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus, and endometrial and ovarian cancers.
Is There 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.
What Are Some Commonly Asked Questions About the Birth Control Patch?
Does the birth control patch work?
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.
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. But since some patches deliver a much higher dose of estrogen than most pills available today a somewhat higher risk of weight gain may be likely.
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 and ovulation pain.
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. It is recommended to 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/put on a new one. It is not recommended to wear the same patch longer than a week.