Contraceptive Patch

NUPAS > Abortion Care > Contraception > Contraceptive Patch

What Is The Contraceptive Patch

A short-acting contraception with hormones.

The contraceptive patch is a small, beige patch stuck to the skin like a sticky plaster. It is replaced weekly. It releases hormones called oestrogen and progestogen which are absorbed through the skin. The contraceptive patch is also known by the brand name Evra.

The patch can be worn discreetly on your abdomen (tummy), buttocks (bum), upper arm or upper torso. It can be worn in the bath or shower and usually stays in place.

The patch should not be stuck to your breast area, or on broken or irritated skin.

How does the patch work?

The patch releases a daily dose of two hormones called oestrogen and progestogen. The hormones are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.

The patch stops your ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulating) each month. It thickens the cervical mucus (fluid around the neck of the womb) which stops sperm getting to an egg. It also makes the lining of the womb thinner. This means a fertilised egg won't attach and grow.

When can I start using the patch?

You can start using the patch straight away after an abortion. You will be protected from pregnancy immediately.

If you start the patch more than 5 days after an abortion, you will need to use additional contraception until you have taken the pill for 7 days.

Advantages, Disadvantages and Effectiveness

All contraception has different advantages, disadvantages and effectiveness. It is important to look at this when finding the right contraception for you.

What are the advantages of the patch?

Does not interrupt sex

It’s easy to use. You only need to remember to change the patch once a week

It can give you control over when your period starts

If you want to miss periods, you can keep using patches with no break

Using the patch without a break can help avoid some pre-menstrual symptoms

It can reduce period pain

Periods will usually be lighter

It can help with acne

It can help relieve symptoms of Endometriosis, PCOS and menopause

Its effectiveness is not reduced if you vomit or have diarrhoea

It protects against womb, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer

What are the disadvantages of the patch?

It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

It can be seen and is only available in a light skin tone

You need to remember to change it once a week

Can cause temporary side effects like headaches, skin problems and nausea (feeling sick)

Can cause unexpected bleeding (called breakthrough bleeding) and spotting (bleeding in between periods)

What are the risks of using the patch?

Possible side effects when first starting to use the patch include:

  • Spotting (bleeding in between periods)
  • Feeling sick
  • Sore breasts

Other possible side effects include feeling more hungry than usual. The patch can also cause changes in mood or sex drive.

In extremely rare risk of the patch is blood clots in the legs or lungs (5-12 in 10,000). Contraception clinics will check your medical history to see if this risk could affect you.

For most people, the benefits of using the patch outweigh the risks.

How effective is the patch?

With perfect use the patch is more than 99% effective. This means that less than 1 in 100 people will have an unplanned pregnancy in a year. With typical use it is 91% effective. Around 9 in 100 people using the patch for a year will become pregnant.

What makes it less effective?

  • Forgetting to change the patch after seven days
  • Not wearing the patch on the first day of a period
  • If the patch falls off and it is not re-applied, or if a new one is not put on right away
  • Taking some prescription medicines

If any of these things happen, you can get advice on emergency contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Find out more about emergency contraception here.

Protection from STIs

The patch does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We recommend that you also use condoms to protect against STIs. We offer all our patients condoms to take away with them. Get in touch if you’d like advice on the different contraception options after an abortion.

Contraception options available at NUPAS

At your abortion appointment, we will discuss contraception options with you.

Fertility can come back as soon 5 days after an abortion. This means you could get pregnant again if contraception is not used. There are lots of methods of contraception to choose from so don’t be put off if the first type isn’t quite right for you.

Find out more about contraception options available at NUPAS.

Get in touch with NUPAS

Give us a call:

United Kingdom:
0333 004 6666

Republic of Ireland:
(01) 874 0097

0044 161 4872660

Our friendly team is here to take your call