Who Can Use A Birth Control Patch
Even though a birth control patch can prevent a pregnancy, it may not be suitable for certain individuals. You may be unable to use a patch if you have any of the following conditions:
- You smoke and more than 35 years old.
- You are 35 years old or older and has recently stopped smoking for less than a year.
- You are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant.
- You are currently breastfeeding an infant, who is less than 6 weeks old.
- You are obese or very overweight.
- You are currently taking medications for the treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, and epilepsy.
- You are taking certain types of antibiotics.
- You are taking St. John’s Wort.
You may also be unable to use a birth control patch if you have or have had any of the following conditions:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Arterial or venous blood clots, or having a family member who had a blood clot before turning 45 years old.
What If I Forget To Change It
If you forget to change or remove your patch
At the start of any patch cycle :
You could become pregnant. You must use a backup contraception method for 7 days. Apply the first patch of your new cycle as soon as you remember. You now have a new Patch Change Day and a new Day 1.
In the middle of your patch cycle :
If you forget to change your patch for 1 or 2 days, apply a new patch as soon as you remember. Apply your next patch on your normal Patch Change Day. No backup contraception method is needed.
If you forget to change your patch for more than 2 days, you could become pregnant. Start a new 4-week cycle as soon as you remember by putting on a new patch. You now have a different Patch Change Day and a new Day 1. You must use a backup contraception method for the first 7 days of your new cycle.
At the end of your patch cycle :
If you forget to remove your patch, take it off as soon as you remember. Start your next cycle on your normal Patch Change Day, the day after Day 28. No backup contraception method is needed.
At the start of your next patch cycle:
You could become pregnant. Apply the first patch of your new cycle as soon as you remember. You now have a new Patch Change Day and a new Day 1. Use a non-hormonal backup contraception method, such as a condom and spermicide or diaphragm and spermicide, for the first 7 days of your new 4-week patch cycle.
Can You Smoke Cigarettes While Taking Birth Control
Smoking cigarettes is linked to heart disease , can double a persons risk for stroke, can cause a spike in blood pressure and heart rate, and can increase your risk of blood clots.
“Smoking cigarettes alone is dangerous and adding combined hormonal birth control onto it is like adding fuel to the fire,” says Dr. Luo. Here’s how:
- According to this report from the Centers for Disease Control , combined hormonal birth control methods like combination birth control pills, the patch, and the ring should not be used if you’re over age 35 and smoke cigarettes. Why? Research suggests that smoking cigarettes while taking oral contraceptives can increase your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, such as stroke, heart attack , and blood clots .
- Findings from the World Health Organization offer similar sentiments: Birth control pill users who smoke are at increased risk of heart attack compared with non-smokers, with a positive correlation between risk and number of cigarettes smoked per day.
- The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists has also weighed in here, advising doctors to prescribe combination oral contraceptives with caution for women who are older than 35 years and smoke.
Do I Need To Stop Using The Patch From Time To Time
There is no evidence that you should “rest” your body from the patch periodically. It’s generally not recommended to stop the patch unless you plan to stay off for 3 months. The best time to stop is at the end of your 3rd week. Stopping during a patch week will usually be followed by some bleeding count this as a menstrual period. Remember that you could become pregnant as soon as you stop using the patch. However, your next normal period may be delayed. If normal menstruation does not return in 8 weeks, see your medical provider to determine why.
What If I Forget To Change The Patch
What should I do if a patch seems loose, partially lifts up off my skin or falls off?
For less than 24 hours: You should try to reapply it or apply a new birth control patch immediately. No back-up contraception is needed and your “patch change day” will remain the same. You can reapply the patch by following these instructions:
Do not try to reapply a patch if it’s no longer sticky, if it has been stuck to itself or another surface, if it has other material stuck to it or if it has become loose or has fallen off before.
Press down firmly on the patch with the palm of your hand for 10 seconds, making sure that the edges stick well.
Then run your fingers around the edge of the patch.
Do not use tapes or wraps to keep the patch in place.
If the patch does not stick well, remove it and then apply a replacement birth control patch. This patch should be replaced on the original “patch change day.” Single replacement patches are available at the pharmacy.
For more than 24 hours, or if you are not sure how long: You may become pregnant. Start a new 4 week cycle immediately by applying a new patch. You now have a new day 1 and a new “patch change day.” You must use back-up birth control, such as a condom and spermicide for the first week of your new cycle.
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How Do I Use It
You must have a prescription to use the birth control patch. See your doctor to discuss whether the patch is right for you. You can start using the patch as soon as you get it if youre sure youre not pregnant.
The birth control patch is easy to use:
Every few days, its also a good idea to check that the patch has not come loose. If you discover that the patch has fallen off, contact your doctor and ask them what to do.
Whats The Science Here
Nicotine exacerbates the existing risks of hormonal birth control for smokers and other vulnerable populations. While it’s possible for birth control containing estrogen to increase blood pressure, the benefit of a reliable form of pregnancy prevention outweighs that potential risk for most people. But for those who smoke cigarettes, nicotine’s effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and other causes of heart attacks lead to a heightened risk of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots compared with people who dont smoke while using hormonal contraceptives.
There’s another factor here aside from cardiovascular risk that suggests hormonal birth control isn’t right for smokers: Research from three large clinical trials found that smokers taking the pill were more likely to experience spotting or bleeding than non-smokers, suggesting that nicotine might influence the way the body breaks down estrogen. Another concern is that spotting might turn people off from the pill, causing them to stop taking it and potentially be at risk of pregnancy.
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If You Forget To Take Your Patch Off At The End Of Week 1 Or Week 2
If the delay in changing the patch is less than 48 hours:
- Replace the old patch with a new patch as soon as possible.
- Continue using the patch as normal, changing it on the usual day.
- You do not need to use any extra contraceptive precautions.
If the delay in changing the patch is more than 48 hours:
- Replace the old patch with a new patch as soon as possible.
- This is now week 1 of the patch cycle. It may also mean that you have a new day of the week for changing your patches and starting new cycles.
- If you have sex within the following seven days, you need to use additional contraception such as condoms.
- You may need to take additional emergency contraception if you have had sex within the previous five days. If this is the case, you should discuss this with your GP, practice nurse, family planning clinic or sexual health clinic.
Hormones And Birth Control
Hormonal birth control has either an estrogen/progestin combination, or just progestin alone. These are the two hormones naturally produced by a womans body that causeher to have her period. When this type of birth control is used, an artificial stream of hormones is released into the body. This keeps your ovaries from releasing new eggs during a menstrual cyclewhich in turn prevents pregnancy. Hormones from the Patch are absorbed through the skin. People who use the Patch apply one patch a week for three weeks and then have an off week, just like if they were on the Pill.
However, research scientists discovered that there are many ways that the Patch is not like the Pill. Birth control pills release about 35 micrograms of estrogen a day, which is considered a safe amount. In high doses estrogen can be dangerous and cause side effects such as blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. Researchers have shown that the Patch exposes a woman to about 60% more estrogen than the Pill. This much higher amount of estrogen can increase the chances of these dangerous side effects.
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How Effective Is It
According to Planned Parenthood, the failure rate is less than 1 percent for women who always use the patch according to the directions. Its about 9 percent for women who dont always use the patch according to the directions.
To help increase effectiveness, change your patch at the same time on the same day each week. Decide which day and time would be easiest for you before you start using the patch.
What If It Becomes Loose Or Falls Off
Your patch must stick securely to your skin to work properly. Do not try to reapply the patch if it is no longer sticky, if it has become stuck to itself or another surface, or if it has other material stuck to it. Do not tape or wrap the patch to your skin or reapply a patch that is partially adhered to clothing.
If your patch edge lifts up:
Press down firmly on the patch with the palm of your hand for 10 seconds, making sure that the whole patch sticks to your skin. Run your fingers over the entire surface area to smooth out any wrinkles around the edges of the patch. If your patch does not stick completely, remove it and apply a new patch. Do not tape or wrap the patch to your skin or reapply a patch that is partially stuck to clothing.
If your patch has been off or partially off:
For less than 1 day, try to reapply it. If the patch does not stick completely, apply a new patch immediately. No backup contraception is needed and your Patch Change Day will stay the same.
For more than 1 day or if you are not sure for how long, you could become pregnant. To reduce this chance, apply a new patch and start a new 4-week cycle. You will now have a new Patch Change Day. Use a non-hormonal backup contraception method, such as a condom and spermicide or diaphragm and spermicide, for the first week of your new 4-week patch cycle.
If your patch becomes uncomfortable or your application site is red, painful or swollen:Change Day Adjustment:
How Long Does The Birth Control Patch Take To Work
The birth control patch starts working either immediately or within seven days, depending on the time in your menstrual cycle at which you first use it.
If you start using the patch within the first five days of your period, it will start working as soon as you apply it.
If you start using the patch more than five days after the start of your period, youll need to wait for seven days before its completely effective. During the first seven days, youll need to use a condom when you have sex to protect yourself from pregnancy.
Does It Matter Which Patch I Use From The Box
No. Each patch delivers the same amount of medication each week. Therefore, the patches can be used in any order. However, a new patch must be applied on the same day of the week for 3 consecutive weeks. The 4th week is “patch free.” This patch-free week is similar to the placebo or 4th week with birth control pills during which inactive pills or no pills are taken.
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At A Glance: Facts About The Patch
- When used correctly, the patch is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
- Each patch lasts for 1 week. You change the patch every week for 3 weeks, then have a week off without a patch.
- You don’t need to think about it every day, and it’s still effective if you’re sick or have diarrhoea.
- You can wear it in the bath, when swimming and while playing sports.
- If you have heavy or painful periods, the patch can help.
- The patch can raise your blood pressure, and some women get temporary side effects, such as headaches.
- Rarely, some women develop a blood clot when using the patch.
- The patch may protect against ovarian, womb and bowel cancer.
- It may not be suitable for women who smoke and who are 35 or over, or who weigh 90kg or more.
- The patch does not protect against sexually transmitted infections , so you may need to use condoms as well.
Uses Of Birth Control Patches
Birth control patches are a type of hormonal contraception, like the pill or the ring. They deliver a combination of estrogen and progestin through the skin.
Unlike birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, you only need to stick on a patch once a week. You will wear each patch for a week at a time and then, after three weeks, take a week off to allow a withdrawal bleed.
Birth control patches work by stopping ovulation. When the body does not produce an egg, there is no way to become pregnant.
When used perfectly, hormonal contraception is highly effective. But many people miss doses or otherwise have problems that make their contraceptives less effective. This may be particularly true for adolescents. No birth control method apart from abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.
In general, people are more likely to use a birth control patch correctly than a birth control pill. However, people who use the patch may be more likely to stop using it because of side effects.
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What Should I Do If I Take Other Medications
Certain drugs may interact with hormonal contraceptives, including the patch, to make them less effective in preventing pregnancy or cause an increase in breakthrough bleeding. Such drugs include rifampin, drugs for epilepsy such as barbituates , anticonvulsants such as topiramate , carbamazepine , phenylbutazone , certain drugs used in the treatment of HIV or AIDS and possibly some antibiotics. Pregnancies and breakthrough bleeding have been reported by users of combination birth control pills who also use some form of St. John’s Wort.
As with all prescription products, you should notify your medical provider of any other medications you are taking. We encourage users to use back-up contraceptive, such as a condom and spermicide, when you take drugs that can make the patch less effective.
Might I Want To Have A Biological Child In The Future
One of your first considerations might be to determine whether you want permanent or temporary birth control. In other words, you should consider whether you want to conceive any children. This is a decision that will affect the rest of your life and can be made only after thinking it through carefully.
If you are not sure about the future even though you know how you feel now, a temporary method is a better choice. If you are young, have few or no children, are choosing sterilization because your partner wants it, or think it will solve money or relationship problems, you may regret your decision later.
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