The birth control patch is a hormonal contraceptive you apply directly to your skin. The patch gradually releases hormones into your body to prevent pregnancy. Also known as a transdermal contraceptive, this type of birth control is safe and easy to use.
The patch looks similar to a Band-Aid. It’s beige and a little less than 2 inches across. It only needs to be applied once per week and can result in less-painful periods.
How It Works
The birth control patch continuously releases hormones into the bloodstream. Those hormones — the same ones found in most birth control pills — prevent ovulation, which means that your ovaries do not release eggs. In addition, the mucus in the cervix becomes thicker, which makes it more difficult for the sperm to get through and potentially fertilize an egg.
Benefits and Side Effects
The birth control patch is only applied once a week, making it more convenient than daily pills. It can also result in less-painful periods.
As with most types of hormonal birth control, the patch may cause minor side effects like nausea, headache, or breast discomfort or swelling.
Birth Control Patch Brands
There are two main birth control patch brands:
- Xulane is a combination birth control patch that contains both estrogen and progestin. It is 91% effective when used as directed.
- Ortho Evra, which debuted in 2002, was the first birth control patch. It was discontinued in the U.S. following the FDA approval of Xulane, which is the generic alternative. Ortho Evra is still available in Canada and Europe.
If you’re interested in learning more about the patch, contact our Nurx™ medical providers. One of our medical providers will be able to prescribe Xulane and have the patches sent directly and discreetly to your home.