The Birth Control Patch
The birth control patch is a revolutionary form of contraception. As the very first hormonal contraceptive that is administered on a weekly basis, it brings the same amount of protection as the common birth control pill with 99% effectiveness. The patch is a very thin, flesh coloured square, approximately 4.5 cm in size.
Once applied on the skin, it gradually releases the hormones progesterone and estrogen into the bloodstream, resulting in the prevention of ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovaries. These hormones also thicken the cervical mucous and change the lining of the uterine wall, making it extremely difficult for an egg to latch on.
How to Use the Birth Control Patch
It should never be placed on the breasts, nor should it be moved or fidgeted with once in place in order to ensure maximum protection. Bathing, showering, or swimming will not decrease its effectiveness. Every week, on the same day, the patch should be replaced with a new one to be applied on a different area of the body (choosing one of the four options). For example: if you first placed the patch on your upper arm on Sunday, then seven days later (the following Sunday), you will need to place a new patch on another area such as your buttocks. On the 4th week, you leave the patch off to allow your menstrual cycle to take place.
Health Risks and Side Effects
More common side effects can include weight gain, increased hair growth, and stronger menstrual cramps. When compared to the birth control pill, the risk of venous thromboembolic disease is increased as the patch releases up to 60% more estrogen than the pill which releases 35 mcg of estrogen.
Remember that the birth control patch does not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. It is important that you take precautions to protect yourself against these illnesses.