FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Sometimes people are too embarrassed, too busy, or just don’t know the right questions. The questions on this page should cover a lot of aspects of what you need to know though.

THE CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH

If the contraceptive patch falls off, will I have to use a new one, and will I become pregnant?

The patch is designed to adhere to the skin for a week, but if it does become detached you need to replace it as soon as possible as it will become ineffective as birth control if more than 24 hours pass. If more than 24 hours have passed between the patch falling off and it being replaced, then additional use a back up method of contraception, such as condoms, will be required for one week.

Can the contraceptive patch come off in the shower?

The patch is very adhesive and rarely comes off. You can go in the shower, swim and exercise whilst wearing. The patch should be applied to clean, dry skin and you should avoid using any creams or lotions near a patch you’re already wearing to ensure it sticks as much as possible. The contraceptive patch works by releasing the hormones estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream.

What happens if I forget to take off my contraceptive patch at the start of my patch free week?

The patch needs to be changed on the same day each week (the patch change day) with the fourth week being patch-free, which is when a period will occur. The patch needs to be changed to ensure the right amount of hormones are released into the bloodstream, each patch can only release a certain amount. If you forget to change the patch for one or two days past the patch change day, remove the patch when you remember and apply a new patch. You will still change this patch on your next patch change day and you are still protected against pregnancy. If you are more than two days late changing the patch, you start a new four-week cycle with the new patch and will need to use a back up method of contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days. Your period may be shorter, or you may still be bleeding when you put on the next patch.

The contraceptive patch just looks a bit like a plaster, how can I tell if the patch is working?

You cannot see any change in the patch, or feel it working, but it is continuously releasing the hormones estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream. You just need to ensure you change the patch each week for three weeks, and remember to start the next cycle of patches after the fourth patch free week.

Can lotions (moisturizing lotions, tanning lotions, etc) affect the contraceptive patch?

Always apply your contraceptive patch to clean, dry skin. Do not use lotions, creams, oils, powder, or makeup on skin where you are going to put the patch or on top of or near a patch you are wearing. These products may cause the patch to fail to stick or become loose.

When I first start using the patch, how long do I need to wear the birth control patch before I am protected from pregnancy?

If the patch is not applied within the first 24 hours of your period, you must use backup contraception, such as a condom, a cervical cap or diaphragm, for the first week of patch use.

Do I have to wear the contraceptive patch in the same place all the time?

No, it may actually help to change the location a bit each week. The patch can be worn on the buttocks, stomach, back or upper arms, it must not be worn on the breasts.

Do I only need to wear the birth control patch when I have sex?

No, the contraceptive patch must be worn every day for 21 days, whether or not you have sex. Apply a new contraceptive patch on the same day of the week for 3 consecutive weeks, for a total of 21 days. You will not apply a patch during week 4.

Will I still get my period when using the contraceptive patch?

You can expect your menstrual period to begin a few days after removing the third birth control patch (during the fourth, “patch-free" week).

Breakthrough bleeding or spotting, which is bleeding that can occur between periods ranging from slight staining to a heavier flow, are side effects that may occur when you use hormonal contraceptives. Irregular bleeding may occur during the first few months of patch use but may also occur after you have been using the patch for some time. Such bleeding is temporary and usually does not indicate any serious problems. It is important to continue to use your patches on schedule. If the bleeding occurs for more than a few cycles or lasts for more than a few days, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.

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