If you’re a Love Island viewer you might recognize the patch from the big plaster Rebecca had on her upper thigh. We also wondered ‘what has Rebecca done to injure herself?’ ‘Isn’t that plaster a little overkill?’; it turns out it wasn’t a normal plaster. It’s the contraceptive patch.
That’s the reason I’ve started this series, to educate as even though I’m now 22 myself I wasn’t aware of this method; I can guarantee you that I wasn’t taught about it at school. Honestly, all I remember from my school sex education is putting a condom on a banana, typical ay?
The contraceptive 101 is going to be a weekly series here on my blog, It will include chats about a different method of contraception, guest posts of experiences and misconceptions about periods. (If you would like to guest post in the series talking about your experience with a contraceptive method then drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here’s the first installment of the series:
What is the Contraceptive Patch?
The patch is essentially a large square shiny plaster that’s stuck onto either your lower abdomen, buttocks, upper arm or back.
In order to apply the patch, all you need to do is peel off the backing and stick onto a dry/ clean area. It’s suggested that you avoid using lotions and creams around the applied area as it can cause the patch to not stick as well or come loose.
How does the Patch work?
The patch works by releasing the hormones estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream through the skin. This prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs and it also causes the cervical mucus to thicken which prevents sperm from reaching the egg.
How long does the Patch last for?
The patch must be worn on a spot of your choice (from the 4 suggested places) every day for 21 days, regardless of if you’re sexually active or not.
A new patch must be applied 3 weeks in a row, on the same day every week; this is because the patch only has a certain amount of hormones it can release. (For example, you would wear the first patch for 7 days and on day 8 it could be time to change the patch)
It’s then in the 4th week that no patch should be worn, it’s during this time were you with get a withdrawal bleed, like a period but this doesn’t always occur.
It’s really important to know that is the patch is NOT applied within the first 24 hours of your period you might not be protected straight away. It’s suggested that you use an additional contraceptive method during the first week just to be on the safe side.
How effective is this method?
The patch is considered to be 99% effective against pregnancy when used correctly, this means 1 out of 100 people who use this method experience unexpected pregnancy. every year.
If the patch is used incorrectly, not changed in time etc, the effective rate can drop to 91%, obviously if the method isn’t being used right the pregnancy risk increases.
What do I do if the patch falls off?
The patch is made to be extremely sticky so it should stay on through showers, swimming, baths and sauna’s, etc.
If you do notice it’s fallen off and it’s been off for, under 48 hours, you can just stick it back on if it’s still sticky.
However, if the current patch is lost or has lost it’s sticky you can just apply a new patch, don’t try to hold the old one down with tape.
If your patch was on correctly for 7 days before it fell off then you’re still protected against pregnancy, if not then proceed to use additional contraceptive for another 7 days.
What are the benefits?
- PROTECTION AGAINST PREGNANCY
- It’s easy to apply and use
- It’s widely available
- You don’t have to remember to do something every day
- It can help with heavy/ painful periods
- It’s still effective if you’re sick/have diarrhoea
- It may protect against ovarian, bowel and womb cancer
What are the negatives?
- The patch is a visible method as it’s not transparent
- It could come loose/ fall off
- It requires you keeping track of when it was applied
- Redness/ Itching in the applied spot
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Risk of heart attack/ stroke
- Not protected against STI’s
- It can be made less effective by certain medications
Have you tried the patch if so let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Drop any suggestions of what else you’d like to see in the series!