How Does The Patch Prevent Pregnancy

Can I Take The Pill While Breastfeeding

Contraceptive patch: how does it work?

The combination birth control pill contains estrogen, which can decrease milk production. If you are breastfeeding, your healthcare provider may recommend taking the progestin-only pill instead. However, some women may use estrogen-containing pills once milk supply is fully established, and a womans risk of blood clots is minimized.

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How Effective Is The Patch For Pregnancy Prevention

When used perfectly the Patch is up to 99% effective. This means that 1 out of 100 women using the Patch may get pregnant. The Patch is as effective as other forms of hormonal contraceptives including the pill. However, if the Patch is not used 100% correctly, 100% of the time the effectiveness of the Patch is greatly reduced.

It is also important to remember that while the Patch can be very effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy it offers no protection against STDs including HIV. If you think you are at risk of getting an STD you will need to take the necessary precautions to avoid both STDs and pregnancy.

Birth Control Patch Dosage

Each birth control patch is available in only one dose. This is why they are restricted to people below a certain weight. Above that weight, the patch may be less effective:

  • Xulane contains 35 micrograms ethinyl estradiol and 150 mcg norelgestromin. It may be less effective in people over 198 lbs .
  • Twirla contains 30 mcg ethinyl estradiol and 120 mcg levonorgestrel. It is less effective in people with a BMI of over 25 kg/m2.

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How Do You Get The Patch

You’ll need a doctor’s prescription for the patch. In the U.S.. There are two avaialble, one is sold under the name Xulane and used to be sold under the brand name Ortho Evra. The other is newer and called Twirla. Under federal law, all health plans must cover most contraceptives without copays or deductibles.

Check the details of your plan to see if it includes the patch. It shouldnât be more than about $85 a month if you pay out of pocket. Depending on your income, you also may get the patch for free from your local public health clinic or a Planned Parenthood health center.

How Can I Get The Patch For Free


Theres a good chance you can get low-cost or free birth control patches if you have health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act , most insurance plans must cover all methods of birth control with little or no cost to you, including the patch. Your health insurance provider can tell you how much it will cost, and your nurse or doctor may also be able to help you get your birth control covered. Learn more about health insurance and affordable birth control.

If you dont have health insurance, youve still got options. Depending on your income and documentation status in the U.S., you could qualify for Medicaid or other government programs that can help you pay for birth control and other health care.

Planned Parenthood works to provide the services you need, whether or not you have insurance. Most Planned Parenthood health centers accept Medicaid and health insurance. And many charge less depending on your income. Contact your local Planned Parenthood health center for more information.

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Does The Patch Protect Against Stds

Nope. The patch is really good at preventing pregnancy, but it wont protect you from sexually transmitted infections.Using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chances of getting or spreading STDs. Condoms also protect against pregnancy so using condoms and the patch together gives you awesome pregnancy-preventing power.

How To Start The Patch

  • If you decide, along with your clinician, that the patch is right for you, they will write you a prescription. You can purchase your patches at a pharmacy or at PPTs Health Services .
  • If you start the patch within the first 5 days of getting your period, you are protected from pregnancy right away.
  • If you start the patch 6 or more days after getting your period, you are not protected from pregnancy until you have been using the patch for a full week. To avoid pregnancy during this time, use a back-up method of birth control like condoms or spermicides.
  • A clinician may recommend that you use a back-up method of birth control for a longer period of time when you start the patch.
  • Some people like to start the patch on the first Sunday following the start of their period, whether they are still bleeding or not. This will likely keep you from getting future periods on the weekend.

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What To Do If You Forget To Put A Patch On After The Patch

Put on a new patch as soon as you remember. This is the beginning of your new patch cycle. You’ll now have a new day of the week as your start day and change day.

If you’re more than 24 hours late sticking on the patch , you may not be protected against pregnancy and will need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days.

See a GP or nurse for advice if you’ve had unprotected sex in the patch-free interval, as you may need emergency contraception.

How To Get The Xulane Birth Control Patch

The Patch: Birth Control 101

After discussing the pros and cons of the patch with your healthcare provider, he or she will write you a prescription. Xulane is covered by most insurance plans, but it can cost up to $150 for a pack of three without insuranceunless youre using discount programs like SingleCare.

Heres a full breakdown of what getting birth control without insurance will cost, including the visit to your healthcare provider. You can also visit a health center like Planned Parenthood that will work with you depending on your income.

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Success And Failure Rates Of Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are 99 percent effective with perfect use, which means taking the pill at the same time every day without missing a dose. Typical use is how most women take the pill, and then its about 91 percent effective. Both combined oral contraceptives and progestin-only pills have a typical failure rate of 9 percent.

Many women accidentally miss a dose or forget to start a new pack of pills. When that happens, the chances for an accidental pregnancy go up.

What Are The Disadvantages Unique To The Patch

  • Skin irritation and 1-2% experience partial or complete detachment of the Patch
  • Patch may be less effective for women over 198 lbs.
  • Only one formula and color are available at this time.

Like Birth Control Pills & other options, the patch does not protect against the transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV . Use latex condoms for increased protection against the transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV .

  • You may be exposed to approximately 60% more estrogen as compared to taking the pill. Why? Birth Control Pills go through the digestive system and are diluted not so for the hormones in the Patch.

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How Well Does The Birth Control Patch Work

Ongoing studies suggest the birth control patch is as effective as the birth control pill. That means that about 9 out of 100 couples will have an unintended pregnancy during the first year of use. Of course, the chance of getting pregnant depends on whether you use the patch correctly. Delaying or missing a weekly application or removing a patch too early lowers its effectiveness and increases the chance of pregnancy.

For girls who weigh more than 198 pounds , the contraceptive patch may be less effective in preventing pregnancy.

In general, how well each type of birth control method works depends on a lot of things. These include whether a person has any health conditions or is taking any medicines that might interfere with the patch. How effective the patch is at preventing pregnancy also depends on whether the method chosen is convenient and whether the person remembers to use it correctly all the time.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Patch

Birth Control Patches


  • it’s very easy to use and doesn’t interrupt sex
  • unlike the combined oral contraceptive pill, you don’t have to think about it every day you only have to remember to change it once a week
  • the hormones from the patch aren’t absorbed by the stomach, so it still works if you’re sick or have diarrhoea
  • it can make your periods more regular, lighter and less painful
  • it can help with premenstrual symptoms
  • it may reduce the risk of ovarian, womb and bowel cancer


  • it can cause skin irritation, itching and soreness
  • it doesn’t protect you against STIs, so you may need to use condoms as well
  • some women get mild temporary side effects when they first start using the patch, such as headaches, sickness , breast tenderness and mood changes this usually settles down after a few months
  • bleeding between periods and spotting is common in the first few cycles of using the patch this is nothing to worry about if you’re using it properly and you’ll still be protected against pregnancy
  • some medicines can make the patch less effective see a GP, nurse or pharmacist for advice
  • you need to remember to change it every week, so if it would be easier to use a method that you don’t have to think about you may want to consider the implant or intrauterine device

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What Are The Contraindications For Hormonal Birth Control

While most women can safely use hormonal birth control methods, the following conditions are contraindications for using them .

  • Being older than 35 years and suffering from migraine headaches or smoking more than 15 cigarettes per day
  • Suffering from migraine headaches accompanied by an aura
  • Having a history of blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Suffering from high blood pressure
  • Suffering from diabetes for more than 20 years
  • Having high triglycerides

Are There Any Medications That Reduce The Effect Of The Patch

Yes, there are some medications and supplements which may reduce the effectiveness of the birth control patch. Some of them include antibiotics like Rifampin, Rifampicin, and Rifamate and a few anti-seizure medicines. Also, hormonal contraceptives may lessen the potency of other drugs. You should always inform your doctor about the patch when required.

You also need to tell the doctor prescribing the patch about other medications and supplements that you take. Mostly, medications, including routine antibiotics, will not reduce the effectiveness of the patch. However, if you are required to take medication which may interfere with the contraceptive action, then you can opt for an alternate method of contraception.

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Where Do I Put It

Choose a place on your body to put the Patch: your upper outer arm, abdomen, buttock or upper torso in a place where it won’t be rubbed by tight clothing for example, do not place the Patch at the waistband of your clothing. Do not put the Patch on your breasts, on cut or irritated skin, or in the same location as the previous Patch.

The Patch Vs The Implant

What should I do if my birth control patch falls off?

Another form of hormonal birth control, the contraceptive implant, is a tiny plastic rod thats inserted just under the skin of the upper arm by a doctor or other healthcare professional.

It slowly releases a progestin hormone into the body and lasts up to 5 years before needing to be replaced.

Like the IUD, the implant is more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, which means its more effective than the patch. Plus, you dont have to think about it each day or week.

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Contraindications To Use A Birth Control Patch

Birth control patches are not suitable for all women. All hormonal contraceptives containing estrogens, such as birth control pills, rings, and patches, are not recommended for women who are obese with BMI 35 kg/m2 and/or smokers and are 35 years or older. Smoking, obesity and age factors could increase the risk of estrogen-related issues.

The use of a birth control patch is also contraindicated if you have or had any of the following health conditions .

  • Breast cancer
  • Sudden back pain or jaw pain with sweating, nausea, and breathing problems
  • Aura such as seeing zigzag lines and flashes of light

You may also contact healthcare professionals or health centers if you have any concerns or health issues during the use of the patch.

What Is A Birth Control Patch

A birth control patch is a patch which can be stuck to your body to help you in preventing pregnancy.

The Ortho Evra birth control patch has been recently replaced by a Xulane patch due to a change in the manufacturing company.

Please note that there are other birth control methods also available like vaginal patches and birth control pills. If you are looking for an effective birth control option, it is advisable to speak to your doctor who will prescribe the birth control patch which is most suitable for you.

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How Do I Put On The Birth Control Patch

Its easy to use the Xulane patch or Twirla patch: just stick a new patch to clean, dry skin. You can put Xulane or Twirla on your belly, buttocks , or back. You can also put Xulane on your upper outer arm.

  • Always check the expiration date before putting on a new patch.

  • If youre using Xulane, open the foil pouch by tearing along the top and side, then peel the foil open. Take the patch off the foil and peel half of the clear plastic off the patch.

  • If youre using Twirla, tear open the foil pouch and pull the patch out. Peel the bigger piece of the clear plastic off the patch.

  • Hold the patch by the side that still has the other piece of clear plastic on it. Try not to touch the sticky part with your fingers.

  • Place that sticky half of the patch on your belly, buttocks , or back. Xulane can also go on your upper outer arm.

  • Pull off the other piece of the clear plastic and press the whole patch to your skin.

  • Hold the patch in place against your skin with the palm of your hand for 10 seconds.

Once you open a pouch, put the patch on immediately. Pick a spot where it can lie flat and smooth, and wont rub against the waistband or seams of your clothes. Dont put your new patch on the exact same spot as your last patch.

When you take your old patch off, fold it in half so it sticks together, seal it in a plastic bag, and throw it in the trash. Make sure kids or pets cant get to it, and dont flush it down the toilet.

What If I Decide To Get Pregnant What Should I Do

The Patch

If you decide to get pregnant, then you have to just stop using the birth control patch. The fertility returns as soon as the patch is removed, typically within a few weeks. In some cases, it may take a few months as well.

After discontinuing with the birth control patch, you may start using a condom. It is advisable to wait for one menstrual cycle before you start trying to conceive.

It is important that you consult your doctor before you start trying.

You should also have some dosage of folic acid every day, at least one month in advance before you start trying to conceive.

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Getting Contraception During Coronavirus

If you need contraception, call your GP surgery or a sexual health clinic as soon as possible. Only go in person if you’re told to.

It can take longer to get contraception at the moment and some types are not widely available.

You may only be able to get a contraceptive patch if you’ve had your blood pressure and weight checked in the last 12 months.

If you cannot get a contraceptive patch, you may be advised to use the progestogen-only pill or condoms for now.

How Does Birth Control Stop Ovulation

Hormonal birth control prevents ovulation by inhibiting the signal that triggers the two key hormones that are involved in ovulation: follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone . These two hormones will begin to be produced if your body notices a shortage of estrogen and progesterone.

Hormonal birth control provides just enough synthetic estrogen and progesterone hormones to prevent the stimulation of FSH and LH production.

  • Normally, the hypothalamus in your brain detects when your estrogen levels are low, typically during the first days of your menstrual cycle.
  • During certain phases of your menstrual cycle, your hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone . This is the hormone that signals the pituitary gland in your brain to make FSH and LH.
  • Since birth control prevents the hypothalamic message from being sent to your pituitary gland, the pituitary gland does not produce FSH. Without the release of FSH, there is no signal to trigger the growth and development of egg follicles in the ovaries.
  • Ovulation normally takes place in response to a surge of LH that triggers an egg to be is released from the ovary. With hormonal birth control, there is no LH surge, so the egg’s release is not activated and ovulation does not take place.

Hormonal birth control basically keeps you in the same phase of your menstrual cycle on a continuous basis, skipping the release of GnRH and preventing ovulation from taking place.

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