Condoms, pills, foams, sponges, abstinence and withdrawal – we have seen them all and heard about how they facilitate the prevention of pregnancy. Say hello to the modern method of contraception – the contraceptive patch.
It’s as simple as sticking on a little patch onto your skin, and you are done. Here is a brief look at the contraceptive patch, what it is, how it works, its advantages and disadvantages.
Guide To The Contraceptive Patch
A contraceptive patch is a thin, tiny patch that contains the synthetic hormones estrogen and progestogen. It looks like a Band-Aid and is meant to be stuck on to the skin, just as you would use a Band-Aid.
How Does The Contraceptive Patch Work
The patch works in three ways. Firstly, it pumps a steady dose of hormones into the bloodstream, which in turn prevent ovulation (the release of eggs). Secondly, it thickens the cervical mucus, thereby making it almost impossible for sperm to penetrate the egg. Thirdly, it thins out the lining of the uterus, thereby making it difficult for a fertilized egg to latch onto it.
The Reliability Of The Contraceptive Patch Versus Other Methods Of Contraception
When used according to the instructions, the contraceptive patch is 99% effective. This is the same as the oral contraceptive pill. In fact, the patch is as good as any other method of contraception, except abstinence.
How The Contraceptive Patch Is Used
The patch can be used on any part of the body so long as it is clean and free of moisture. It should not be used on sores or cuts, and on the breasts. The patch should not be removed for a week. It has strong adhesive qualities that prevent it from falling off even during showers, swimming or exercise. However, if it does fall off, a new patch has to be applied within 48 hours.
The contraceptive patch is used for three weeks continuously. The fourth week is when bleeding occurs. After a week (7 days), a new cycle of 3 weeks on the patch and 1 week off the patch begins.
Advantages Of The Contraceptive Patch
The patch has to be replaced only once a week. During this period, you do not have to worry about contraception – unlike pills which you need to remember to take every day.
It does not come in the way of sex in any way. It regularizes periods, making them lighter and prevents severe dysmenorrhea (painful periods). It reduces the risk of diseases such as fibroids, cysts and some cancers.
Disadvantages Of The Contraceptive Patch
Spotting and bleeding between periods may be experienced. Temporary side effects such as headaches, nausea, mood swings and tenderness of the breasts may be experienced. Skin irritation in a few women has been reported. It is on the skin and hence can be seen.
Rare occurrences of high blood pressure and thrombosis. It does not protect one against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). It cannot be used by people who suffer from: breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis, gallbladder disease, migraines and diabetes.