Is the contraceptive patch effective?


The contraceptive patch is a method designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies. If used correctly, its efficiency is high, 99.7%. However, the number of women who use it remains lower compared to other contraceptive methods. In fact, the 30.7% who do use the patch still usually combine it with the pill or vaginal ring, according to a survey conducted by the Spanish Contraception Society (SEC).

This contraceptive method is very discreet. It is a small transdermal patch that contains estrogen and progestin and is placed on the skin, usually in the arms, shoulders, abdomen or buttocks. It is not recommended to always put it in the same place to avoid irritation. Also, this patch is water resistant, so there is no problem in bathing with it, since it is difficult to take off.

The skin should be clean, dry and free of any cream that may cause the patch not to adhere properly to the skin. Once this is done, the patch will start releasing hormones. But, to be effective, it is convenient to take into account its use.

The patch is only effective if used correctly.

Although the effectiveness rate is quite high, the contraceptive patch, like any other method, requires a proper use so you can prevent unwanted pregnancies.

  • The first time this contraceptive method is used, it should be applied within the first 24 hours in which menstruation has begun.
  • This first patch should change when a week passes, the same day it was first put on.
  • At the moment of arrival to the fourth week the patch will be removed corresponding, but not replaced by another. It is the week considered rest.

Total, The 3 patches will be used for 21 days and then a week will pass in which the body will not receive the dose of hormones that this contraceptive method contains, very similar to the pill.

It is very important that the patches be changed on the planned day. Otherwise, its effectiveness may decrease and it may be convenient to use an additional contraceptive method, for example, the condom.

However, the contraceptive patch is quite flexible and it is strange to use it incorrectly. The reason is that it is not necessary to change it at the same time every week. You can put the first patch on a Monday at ten in the morning and replace it the following week at five in the afternoon. This will not decrease its effectiveness.

What happens if the patch peels off?

In the event that a patch takes off, due to different reasons, it is convenient remove it and apply a new one. When this is done, the patch must be removed at the same time as the previous one. The reason is that, in this way, slopes that can cause unwanted pregnancies will be avoided.

Problems associated with the patch

According to the National Ministry of Health and Welfare (MSCBS), the contraceptive patch can cause skin reactions, as well as "mastalgia, dysmenorrhea, nausea and vomiting". However, it can also be an inconvenience to take off, although this is usually related to a bad application. All this "translates into a higher rate of early interruption and abandonment."

However, these problems do not have to appear in all women and, since the effectiveness of this contraceptive is high, it can be a good alternative to other methods. However, we must not forget that does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Therefore, combining it with the use of condoms is always a recommendation to take into account.

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