What would our world look like if we still didn’t have any contraceptives available? Well thankfully we are not in that era anymore. Here’s one to boost up your general knowledge. Do you know what was the first ever birth control method backed by science, the first birth control pill was developed in the 1950’s. And even after this great scientific development if you are someone who is tired of popping those contraceptive pills and can't deal any longer with all it’s side effects? Well if you are worried about the failure of those condoms and are looking for some alternatives to your birth control pill, this article is for you. Here we have compiled everything that you need to know about the birth control patch with inputs from Dr Deepti Gupta, Consultant Gynaecologist, Bansal Hospital, Bhopal.
What is a birth control patch?
A new birth control or contraceptive method which comes with lesser side effects and can be used seamlessly without a surgical procedure. Birth control patches are nothing very complicated but a thin plastic beige square patch which sticks easily to your skin. These seamless patches help release hormones into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy.
How do these patches work?
These patches have a combination of estrogen and progesterone hormones which when released into the bloodstream and prevent pregnancy in the following ways.
The hormones released by the patch prevents the release of egg from the ovaries which means the process of ovulation doesn’t take place and hence if no eggs are released then there will not be anything for the sperm to fertilise. The estrogens and progesterone hormones released from the patch helps in thickening the cervical mucus lining and hence prevents the sperm from reaching the egg and hence fertilisation would not take place which will prevent pregnancy. The inner lining of the uterus also gets affected by the hormones released which prevents the implantation of the eggs.
How to use a birth control patch?
A birth control patch is easy to use and is effective but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when using these patches.
- Make sure that the spot you are going to apply your patch on (outer arm, upper arm, abdominal area and buttock) is clean and dry.
- Take the patch and press it on the area you wish to apply it on for about 10 seconds.
- These patches need to be replaced every week at the same time i.e if you used your first patch on a friday morning then the second patch is to be used on the friday morning of next week.
How well do they work?
These patches are said to be one of the most effective contraceptive methods out there with minimum side effects. Here’s what Dr Deepti Gupta, Consultant Gynaecologist, Bansal Hospital, Bhopal has to say about the effectiveness of these patches. “The contraceptive patch, when used correctly, is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. They are especially useful for women who can't remember to take an oral pill everyday. Also, even if you have vomiting or diarrhoea it does not reduce the effectiveness of the patch.”
Limitation/ Side effects of using birth control patch
Like every other contraceptive method these patches also have some side effects but the good news is that they might be less intense as compared to others. Here are some limitations and side effects of using birth control patches.
- These birth control patches can not fight Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and hence condoms are a must to protect you from such disease.
- These patches can also cause nausea, headache, sore or tender breasts, changes in your menstrual cycle, etc.
- The patch can also cause irritated skin on the area where it has been applied.
- These patches are not very effective for the people over the age of 35 or for the smokers.
- These patches can cause some common hormonal side effects such as dizziness, weakness and numbness.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do not apply these birth control patches on your breasts or any place where you have cuts or wounds.
- Do not apply any makeup or tape on the patch as it might act as a hindrance and can lower the effectiveness of the patch..
- You can take a shower or swim while wearing the patch, getting the patch wet will not change its rate of effectiveness.
- Should not be used by women who have blood clots, suffer from cancer, high blood pressure, migraine or diabetes.
- Do not smoke while wearing these patches.
Although these patches are painless and are considered to be a highly effective method for birth control with less severe side effects we would still advise you to consult your gynecologist before using them as being an expert they might be able to give you better advice by looking upon your medical history and other such factors and would be able to recommend you the best suited contraceptive method out there.
With inputs from Dr Deepti Gupta, Consultant Gynaecologist, Bansal Hospital, Bhopal
Read more Articles in Miscellaneous