USING THE BIRTH CONTROL PATCH
What is the Birth Control Patch?
The patch is a transdermal (absorbed through the skin) birth control that has 2 hormones (estrogen and progesterone). The birth control patch prevents pregnancy.
How does the Patch work?
- It prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg (ovulation).
- It also thickens the vaginal fluid and changes the lining of the uterus to make pregnancy less likely.
How effective is the Patch?
The patch is a very effective method of birth control. It is 93% effective at preventing pregnancy. With typical use, 7 out of every 100 people using the patch will get pregnant in one year. But, with consistent and correct use, the patch can up to 99% + effective.
- Less period cramping and bleeding.
- Decreased symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
- Periods are more predictable/regular, lighter or some people have no periods.
- Less anemia caused by iron deficiency due to heavy periods.
- Less acne.
- Some protection against non-cancerous breast tumours, ovarian cysts, and fibroids.
- Decreased risk of ovarian and uterine cancer.
- Sexual enjoyment may increase, as using the patch can reduce the fear of pregnancy.
- May protect against osteoporosis and endometriosis.
- Does not impact future fertility.
- Easy to stop without lasting effects.
- Need to remember to change the patch each week.
- In the first few months of use, some people using the birth control patch may experience some mild side effects. Some examples of side effects; spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches or dizziness. For most users these symptoms will get better after a few months.
- Rare but serious complications of using the birth control patch include blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and liver tumours. Risks increase with age when accompanied by certain other risk factors such as smoking, especially more than 15 cigarettes a day.
- The possibility of high blood pressure.
- No protection against STIs.
- Other medications can interact with your birth control. Be sure to mention that you are using birth control to your health care provider or pharmacist. Some medications and over-the-counter herbal supplements (such as St. John’s Wort) may decrease the effectiveness of birth control. You may be advised to use backup birth control while on these medications.
There are some signs that all people using the birth control patch should be aware of as these may indicate a serious complication. Seek medical attention immediately if you have any of the following ACHES symptoms:
Abdominal pain, especially on the right side of your stomach, below your rib cage
Chest or arm pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood
Headaches, severe and not relieved by over the counter pain medications
Eye problems, blurred vision, flashing lights, double vision, blindness
Swelling, redness, numbness, tingling or pain in the legs
Seems confusing? We’re here for you!
We know it can be confusing to choose a method. We are here to help. Our Options for Sexual Health Clinics are staffed by health care professionals who are there to answer your questions. They can help you learn how to use the method you choose and bring you back to check in on how the method is working for you.
Between visits or anytime, our Sex Sense team is there to answer any questions you might have by phone (1-800-739-7367) or by email at SexSense.org
This is general information and should not be used in place of individual consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.