Sunday, March 4, 2012

All About the Birth Control Patch

The birth control patch is a contraceptive method consisting of a 4.5-centimeter patch that releases hormones through the skin into the blood stream.

How does the birth control patch work?

The patch contains a combination of progesterone and estrogen, which are hormones with a function in controlling ovulation. This pregnancy control method actually prevents the release of an egg from the ovary, and without ovulation, there is no possibility to get pregnant.

Similarly to other hormone-based birth control means, the patch also thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for the sperm to travel in the uterus to reach the eggs that might have been released.

Last but not least, the patch also works on the lining of the uterus making it unfavorable for the implantation of a fertilized egg.

How to use the birth control patch?

Just like with any other pregnancy control method, the use of the patch depends on the menstrual cycle. You put the patch on the skin on the first day of the period, and you will then change it once a week, for three weeks in a row. You may apply the patch on the abdomen, the upper torso, the buttocks or the upper arms, but not on the breasts. No patch is worn during the fourth week, and this is the time when the period starts.

For efficiency, the birth control patch has to be applied on the skin on the same day of the week, so that it continues to give you protection. You should not apply the new patch exactly on the same spot as the other one, so that you avoid local skin irritation.

What if the patch falls off?

In case the patch gets detached by accident or you forget to apply it on the right day, you should talk to the doctor and carefully read the usage instructions in the package. Protection goes away within 24 hours of not wearing the patch. You should use an alternative birth control method, or not have sex in order to prevent pregnancy.

Special mentions

You can shower, bathe or go swimming while wearing a patch.

Don't take it off to change the location because it might lose its stickiness and fall more easily.

Don't use the birth control patch on makeup, powder, body lotion or any other skincare product.

Don't use tape to attach it on the skin and don't trim it!

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