What is a birth control patch? 6 FAQs answered by a gynaecologist 



Every woman undergoes a time during her fertile years when she is not looking to have a baby at all. It can be due to several reasons, including both personal and professional. In such cases, having an effective birth control method is extremely important. The most common method that most women out there try is the oral contraceptive pill. However, if you are someone who is willing to try a new contraceptive method, then have you heard about the birth control patch?

As we all know that the oral pill not only prevents pregnancy but also causes major changes to the female body, like altering their normal period cycle or affecting their skin and mood. But how different is a birth control patch? Let Dr Shelly Singh, Senior Gynaecologist, Rosewalk Hospital, answer some frequently asked questions around birth control patches.

Birth control pills
Take birth control pills with proper prescription. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. So what exactly is it?

A birth control patch is a small contraceptive patch. Like a combined oral contraceptive pill, it contains both hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. Instead of eating it, you can stick the patch to different parts of the body like your arms, the back or your thighs, as it has an adhesive. Hence, it is also called a trans-dermal contraceptive patch.

Also, read: Infertility mythbuster: Birth control does not affect fertility

2. How to use a birth control patch?

A birth control patch is supposed to be used for a week and then changed after exactly 7 days, suitably on the same day. For instance, if you are changing the patch on a Sunday, it is better to change it again, every following Sunday.

3. What is its efficacy rate?

If used in a proper way, it has a success rate similar to that of an oral contraceptive pill, which is about 99 percent. But taking cognizance of the errors that sometimes it can fall off or you forget changing it the correct time, then the success rate is almost 90 percent.

4. What are the side effects of using a birth control patch?

Similar to those of an oral contraceptive pill, a birth control patch can cause headache, depression, breast heaviness, and lower abdomen pain. Occasionally, little spotting can also happen in the initial months of using it.

contraception
Most contraceptive methods are safe, but you need to be cautious. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Can it cause an infection?

Occasionally, birth control patches can cause a skin reaction, like rashes. That’s one of the major reasons why its usage hasn’t picked up in India is because of the country’s tropical climate. Most of us tend to sweat a lot, so there are huge chances of a birth control patch falling off, as you cannot take it off during any activity during the day.

6. Who all should avoid using it?

People with contraindications to an oral contractive pill, like women more than 35 years of age, heavy smokers or have a history of breast cancer, unexplained vaginal bleeding and liver diseases, should not use it. Women who are obese should also avoid using a birth control patch.

If you are still worried about a birth control patch, it’s always better to see a doctor, in case you are making any changes to your contraceptive methods.




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