This week we’re looking at the contraceptive patch, which is a method of contraception designed to prevent women getting pregnant when they have Sex.
The contraceptive patch is a 5cm by 5cm beige patch that you can stick anywhere on your body apart from sore or irritated skin, a place where tight clothing may rub it off, and your breasts.
It will prevent pregnancy by releasing daily doses of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen into your bloodstream through your skin.
The patch works in the same way as the combined pill, by stopping your ovaries releasing an egg each month, thickening your cervix mucus making it difficult for any sperm to reach your womb and thinning your womb lining so it’s harder for an egg to attach itself.
The patch needs to be replaced every week with a patch free week every fourth week so that you can have a withdrawal bleed, like a period.
If used correctly the contraceptive patch is over 99 per cent effective, however, for women who weigh over 14 stone (90kg) research has shown that it may be less effective.
The advantages of the patch are that it is easy to use, and is very useful for those you can’t remember to take a pill every day, just remember to change it every week.
It’s also useful as it is not absorbed by the stomach so if you vomit or suffer diarrhoea the patch will still be effective and you will still be protected.
The disadvantages include side effects such as headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood swings as well as skin irritation and irregular bleeding between periods.
If you’re on other medication, it may cause the patch to become less effective so check with your GP before you begin to use it.
There is a small risk of developing blood clots when using the patch so if you have suffered from a blood clot before then do not use the contraceptive patch.
Research has shown that using the patch can also slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer and cervical cancer but further research must be conducted to give more definite evidence.
If you decide that the patch is the Contraception for you then there are a range of places you can get it from.
Most places will offer free contraception. Some places you can get it from include your local GP, community contraceptive clinics, GUM clinics and sexual health clinics.
Remember to speak to your GP before deciding on any Contraception so that they can advise you on the different types of contraception available to you.
Always wear a condom, even when using the contraceptive patch, to stop the spread of STIs.
For more information about the contraceptive patch and any other form of contraception, visit your GP or go to nhs.uk.
Cara Mason @FemaleFirst_UK