The Patch

WHAT IS IT?

The hormonal contraceptive patch may be referred to by its brand name, EVRA patch, or simply as ‘the patch’. It is a thin, beige, flexible, square patch you wear on your body. It contains two hormones (estrogen and progestin), and works to prevent pregnancy in the same way that the birth control pill does. The patch does not protect against STIs. We always recommend the use of a condom with the patch to reduce the risk of STIs and increase pregnancy protection.

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The patch is worn on the body (buttock, abdomen, upper torso (but not your breasts), or on the outside of your upper arm). Once a week, for three weeks, the user takes off the old patch and applies a new patch. Then the user goes 1 week (7 days) without a patch. Usually the user starts their period within a few days of taking the patch off. At the end of the patch-free week, the user applies a new patch to begin a new cycle.

Each week, the EVRA patch continuously delivers hormones through the skin and into the bloodstream for a full 7 days to prevent pregnancy.Once you apply the patch to your body, these hormones are continuously transferred through your skin and into your bloodstream, where they prevent pregnancy in two ways. First, they prevent ovaries from releasing eggs. Second, they thicken the mucous in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to enter your uterus.

 

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

If used perfectly, the patch is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy. Based on average use (e.g. not applying it properly), it is 92% effective. The EVRA patch does NOT offer any protection against STIs.

 

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF USING THE PATCH?

ADVANTAGES:

  • a reversible and highly effective birth control method
  • once-a-week regimen; no daily contraceptive routine required
  • simple and easy to use
  • may regulate menstrual cycle
  • does not interfere with intercourse
  • expected to provide other benefits similar to oral contraceptives (such as resistance to acne), although further research is needed in this area

DISADVANTAGES:

  • contains hormones
  • may cause irregular bleeding or spotting
  • may cause breast sensitivity or headache
  • does not protect against STIs
  • patch may detach from skin (less than 2%)
  • may cause skin irritation at application site

 

HOW WOULD I KNOW IF I WAS HAVING A SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEM RELATED TO THE PATCH?

Call your doctor immediately or go to the nearest medical treatment centre if you have any of the following:

A – Abdominal pain, severe
C – Chest pain (severe); cough; or shortness of breath
H – Headaches (severe) or increased frequency or intensity of headache, dizziness, weakness, or numbness
E – Eye problems: vision loss of blurring, speech problems
S – Severe leg pain in calf or thigh

 

HOW TO BOOK AND PREPARE YOURSELF FOR AN APPOINTMENT?

Booking an appointment with us is easy! Give us a call at 902.455.9656 ext. 0. You will be speaking with either a volunteer or an medical administrator. We cannot book appointments over email or Facebook. You cannot book an appointment for someone else, even if they are your partner or child. We will need to speak with them directly. To book, we will need your full name, birth date, phone number, and a very brief reason for your visit. That’s it! The person on the phone will outline anything you need to know to prepare for your appointment. For most general appointments, we run very short waitlists! While this is not a guarantee, we can often book you in the same or next week from the day you call.

Make sure you bring your valid provincial health card with you to your appointment. Clients without health cards are subject to doctors and lab fees.

Are you a youth? You do not need parental consent for any of our appointments.

Don’t have access to or lost your health card? You are entitled to your health card information! Call MSI toll-free at 1-800-563-8880 (in Nova Scotia) or at 902-496-7008 from Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. We require the number and the expiry date. Another tip: take a picture of your card! You will never lose it again!