The Contraceptive Patch

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The contraceptive patch resembles a very thin, beige plaster around the size of a matchbox. It can be applied anywhere on the body except on the breasts. It releases progestogen & oestrogen into the bloodstream and is 99% effective if used properly.
A new patch is applied every week for three weeks. On the fourth week no patch is applied, to allow for a period.

Benefits of choosing the Patch

  • Does not interrupt sex
  • It is considered easier to remember changing the patch weekly for three weeks
  • The patch is a highly reversible method of contraception
  • It is a very effective method when used correctly
  • It is easy to use
  • It helps to reduce heavy or painful periods
  • It may prevent pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Unlike the pill, it is not affected by vomiting or diarrhoea
  • It may protect against cancer of the ovary and cancer of the body of the uterus (womb)

Disadvantages of choosing the Patch

  • The patch is very visible when worn.
  • It costs more than the pill.
  • Some medication can reduce how effective the patch is therefore its recommended that another
    method should be used if taking medication.
  • Unsuitable for woman who have a history of high blood pressure.
  • Do not protect against STIs.
  • Unsuitable for woman who smoke and are 35+.
  • Unsuitable for women who are breastfeeding.
  • Only available by prescription.
  • Less effective for  people over 198 pounds (HSE, 2016).
  • It may fall off without you noticing

Can I decorate the patch?

No. This is not recommended.

You should also avoid covering the patch with body cream or lotions, such as sun tan lotion. This may cause the patch to become loose.

For more information on the patch or any other contraceptive method, click on any of the link below.

Irish Family Planning Association.  


NHS- The Patch