The contraceptive patch is a small, thin, beige coloured patch,
nearly 5cm x 5cm in size. You stick it on your skin and it releases
two hormones - oestrogen and progestogen.
You can get the patch free of charge from:
- your GP if they provide a contraceptive service
- another GP rather than your own if you prefer
- your local Sandyford Clinic
You will need to talk to your GP or the doctor or nurse at the
clinic to see if the patch is the right method of contraception for
you. They will ask you about your family's medical history and any
illness or operations you have had. For some reasons the patch may
not be the best option for you.
The advantages of the patch are:
- You don't have to think about it every day; you only have to
remember to replace the patch once each week
- It is easy to use
- Unlike the pill, the hormones do not need to be absorbed by the
stomach, so the patch is not affected if you vomit or have
- The patch does not interfere with having sex in any way.
- It usually makes your periods regular, lighter and less
The disadvantages of the patch are:
- It can be seen.
- For a few women it can cause skin irritation.
- You may get some temporary side effects when
you first start using the patch, these should stop within a few
months. They can include headaches, feeling sick, breast
tenderness, mood swings or your appetite may be increased.
- The patch may increase your blood pressure.
- Does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections,
so you may need to use condoms as well.
- Breakthrough bleeding (unexpected vaginal bleeding on pill
taking days) sometimes called a spotting can occur in the first
months of patch use.
Can anything make the patch less
Some medications including some complementary medicines, can
make your contraception less effective, always tell your doctor,
dentist or chemist.
The patch protects you from pregnancy but not sexually
transmitted infections. You must also use condoms to help protect
against most infections.
Help, information and support:
If you have any concerns or questions about the patch speak to
You can find out more about using the patch at a Sandyford Clinic