The birth control skin patch contains medicine that prevents pregnancy. The birth control patch is one of the most reliable forms of birth control. It’s as effective as birth control pills. For every 1000 women who use the patch exactly as instructed for a year, 3 women may get pregnant during that time. The chance for pregnancy is higher if you don’t carefully follow the instructions for using the patch.
The patch must be prescribed by your healthcare provider. The brand name of the patch is Ortho Evra.
The patch contains man-made forms of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. They are the same hormones used in birth control pills. The hormones are on the sticky side of the patch. You can wear the patch on the buttocks, belly, upper body (front or back, except the breasts), or upper outer arm. When a patch is on your skin, the hormones move through the skin and into your bloodstream.
The hormones keep the ovaries from releasing eggs. If the ovaries don’t release eggs, you cannot get pregnant. The hormones also cause a thickening of the mucus on the cervix and change the lining of the uterus. These changes also help prevent pregnancy.
When you use the birth control patch, your periods are regular and usually lighter. Menstrual cramps may not be as painful. The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may not be as bothersome.
If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.