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The contraceptive patch, is a small beige 5cm by 5cm patch that is applied to the skin like a plaster. It prevents pregnancy by releasing two hormones through the skin; oestrogen and progestogen which are similar to those produced naturally in women’s ovaries.
The patch, is a small beige 5cm by 5cm patch that is applied to the skin like a plaster and prevents pregnancy by releasing oestrogen and progestogen through the skin. Read more
You only have to replace the patch once a week
Can help make bleeds lighter and more regular, and reduce period pains
It doesn’t protect you against STIs
It can be seen
The contraceptive patch is available free of charge from a range of services including contraceptive clinics, your GP and Brook. Find your nearest using our find a service tool. Read more
The contraceptive patch works to prevent the sperm reaching the egg and fertilising it. It prevents pregnancy by interrupting this process in three ways:
The contraceptive patch is available free of charge from a range of services including contraceptive clinics, your GP and Brook. Find your nearest using our find a service tool.
Contraception and sexual health services such as Brook are free and confidential, including for people under the age of 16. Health professionals work to strict guidelines and won’t tell anyone else about your visit unless they believe you’re at serious risk of immediate harm. Find out more about Brook’s confidentiality policy.
When you go to get the patch, an appointment will typically include:
When you first start the patch you will usually be given a three month supply. Follow up appointments and reviews can be up to every 12 months.
The brand that is currently available in the UK is Evra.
You will not be required to have an internal or breast examination for the patch.
Patches can be worn discreetly on most areas of the body, including the upper arm, shoulder or buttocks, but should not be applied to the breasts or to broken or irritated skin.
Avoid placing the patch anywhere that may be rubbed by tight clothing, and change the position of each patch to help reduce the chance of skin irritation. You should also avoid covering the patch with body cream or lotions, as these may cause it to become loose.
You can start the patch at any time in your menstrual cycle. If you put the first one on in the first five days of your period, you will be protected against pregnancy straight away.
If you start using it after day five of your period, you need to use a barrier method of contraception (such as condoms) for the first seven days.
If you have a short menstrual cycle, where your period normally comes every 23 days or less, you will need to start taking the patch in the first four days to be immediately protected (because you might ovulate early).
The patch should stay on as it is very sticky. However, if it does fall off, what you need to do depends on how long it has been off.
This depends on where you are in the four-week patch cycle, and how long you have forgotten to take the patch off or put on a new one.
During your patch-free week most women will have a bleed. This is called a ‘withdrawal bleed’ and it can start at any point during the seven-day break. This bleeding is brought on by the reduction in hormones, from not wearing a patch during the seven-day break.
You should start using your next patch on time whether or not you are still bleeding.
You can miss out the patch-free week by using another patch straight away. This isn’t harmful and you will still be protected against pregnancy. Sometimes you will still get bleeding.
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