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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Birth Control Hormones: The Patch
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The patch is used to prevent pregnancy. It looks like a bandage and is put on the skin of your belly, rear end (buttocks), upper arm, or upper body (but not on a breast).
The patch releases a regular dose of the hormones estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent pregnancy in three ways. They thicken the mucus in the cervix. This makes it hard for sperm to travel into the uterus. They thin the lining of the uterus, which makes it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. The hormones also can stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
The patch provides birth control for 1 month at a time. You change the patch once a week for 3 weeks and then go without a patch for 1 week. During the week without the patch, you have your period. Your period may be very light.
In the first year of use:footnote 1
Be sure to tell your doctor about any health problems you have or medicines you take. He or she can help you choose the birth control method that is right for you.
Trussell J, Guthrie KA (2011). Choosing a contraceptive: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th ed., pp. 45–74. Atlanta: Ardent Media.
Current as of:
February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineRebecca Sue Uranga
Current as of: February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rebecca Sue Uranga
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