The patch is:
- Over 99% effective when you use the method correctly every time
- Over 91% effective when you don’t always use the method correctly
What is it?
A patch is similar to a small plaster of 4cm by 5cm. Each patch lasts for 1 week; you put a new patch on every week for 3 weeks (21 days) in a row without a break, then you may be told to wait for a few days, up to 7 days before putting on a new patch.
This advice will depend on your doctor's instructions.
How does it work?
The patch releases the artificial form of the hormones - oestrogen and progesterone - into your body.
It works by:
- stopping ovulation (an egg being released from your ovaries)
- thickening the mucus at the neck of the womb (uterus) so it is difficult for sperm to enter the womb
- thinning the lining of the womb and this prevents a fertilised egg from settling (implanting) in the womb
It is important that you talk to a doctor who will assess what contraceptive option is best for you.
- It does not interrupt sex.
- It may be easier to remember to use than taking a pill everyday.
- Its effectiveness may be reduced by taking certain medications.
- Is not suitable for you if you are obese.
- It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- It may not be suitable if you are breastfeeding. Check with your doctor.
- It is not advised if you smoke and are over 35.