The hormone patch looks like a 2” x 2” band aid. This is a unique female contraceptive method that works in a similar manner as a birth control pill. The difference is that here, the skin actively absorbs the hormonal dosage. Experts say that the absorption is almost 60% higher compared to the birth control pills. This translates in to about 35ug of the essential estrogen hormone. Like all other female contraceptive methods, it is important that the hormonal patch is used properly in order to receive the maximum benefit in the effective prevention of accidental or unwanted pregnancies. The onus primarily lies on the health care practitioner who has to prescribe the patch after taking into due consideration conditions like irregular periods, cramps suffered by some women during periods and/or endometriosis.
How Does the Hormonal Patch Work?
The patch constitutes of two female hormones namely, estrogen and progestin. The patch needs to be placed on the skin whereby, the hormones get absorbed automatically through the pores of the skin. It enters the blood stream of the woman and makes its way to the pituitary gland. It causes the suppression of the pituitary gland that in turn prevents the ovaries from the usual release of the eggs. When the eggs are not released, pregnancy is naturally avoided.
The patch also renders an impact on the uterus of the woman. It brings about an alteration in the lining of the uterus and the mucus that is present inside the cervix. When the constitution of the cervical mucus changes, fertilisation is prevented as the sperms are not able to reach the egg.
How Much is it Effective?
As said earlier, the effectiveness is dependent on its correct usage. Researchers have found it to be 99% effective. However, there are certain points that one needs to be understood. It has been found that women who have over 2000 pound body weight may not obtain the desired results from this female contraceptive option. They need to consult the health care provider for appropriate options.
Which Part of the Body is Best for the Patch?
There is no hard and fast rule and the patch can be worn on any part of the body. Women prefer to wear it on the skin of their buttocks, abdomen or the upper back or outside part of her upper arm. It needs to be left there for seven days. And the location of the patch can be changed every week.
How is it Worn?
- The process is just like one would wear a band aid. The area on the skin where the patch will be worn must be clean and dry. There should not be any left-over lotion or cream on that spot.
- The foil package should be opened in hygienic conditions.
- The patch is enveloped in a clear plastic that needs to be removed with dry hands.
- The patch then needs to be firmly pressed on the skin for 10 seconds so that it sticks properly.
How is the Patch Removed?
- One corner of the patch should be lifted and gently pulled back till it gets detached from the skin.
- While throwing it away, one must be particular in folding it into half so that the patch sticks to itself. This is because; there is still some residue hormones left behind in that patch.
- The skin might have a bit of sticky adhesive that can be removed by rubbing some baby oil with a cotton pad.
Side Effects of Hormone Patch
In some cases, there can be instances of irregular menstruation, tenderness in breast, cramps, headache, and nausea or skin irritation. In most cases, these are just the initial symptoms that go away after a continued usage as the body adapts to the estrogen hormone supply.
Patches cannot be used on women who have a history of acute migraine attacks, high BP and blood clot problems.