A contraceptive patch is a sticky patch. It delivers hormones into your body through your skin. In the UK the patch's brand name is Evra.
What are the benefits of using a patch?
- It is more than 99 per cent effective if used correctly.
- It is very easy to use and does not interrupt sex.
- It can help with premenstrual symptoms.
- Each patch lasts for one week. You change the patch every week for three weeks, then have a week off without a patch.
- You don't need to think about it every day and it's still effective if you vomit or have diarrhoea.
- You can wear the patch in the bath, in the swimming pool and while playing sports.
Things to consider
- It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
- If you have heavy periods or painful periods the patch can help.
- It can increase blood pressure,.
- It can cause skin irritation, itching and soreness.
- Some women get mild temporary side effects when they first start using the patch.
- Bleeding between periods (breakthrough bleeding) and spotting (very light, irregular bleeding) is common in the first few cycles of using the patch.
- Some women develop a blood clot when using the patch but this is rare.
- It may protect against ovarian cancer, womb cancer and colon cancer.
- It may not be suitable for women who smoke and who are 35 or over, or who weigh 90kg (14 stone) or more.
Where can I get more information?
The Family Planning Association provides a range of helpful information.
My contraception tool
The FPA has developed an interactive tool that can help you find out which methods of contraception may be best for you.
The tool asks questions about your health, lifestyle and contraceptive preferences. All your answers are completely confidential and can't be linked back to you. The tool is available on their website.