Birth Control Patch

What is it?

The birth control patch is a reversible and safe birth control method that has the shape of a small sticker, strong enough to stay attached to the body when showering or swimming. It releases hormones to prevent an egg from being released and thickens the mucus on your cervix to prevent sperm from reaching an egg.

There are two brands of birth control patches available in the United States, the Xulane patch and the Twirla patch.

Does it prevent STIs?

No. While the patch is an effective way to prevent pregnancy, it doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using condoms or internal condoms and combining these with the patch is a great way to prevent diseases and pregnancy at the same time.

How do you use it?

  1. Stick the patch on your skin on the back, upper arm, or hip. The patch lasts for 7 days.

  2. At the end of the 7 days, remove the patch, throw it away and put a new one on a different place on the body.

  3. After three weeks (three patches), you remove the patch and leave it off for 1 week. This is the week you will have your period.

  4. When the week is done you have to put a new patch on.

  5. Repeat this cycle or 3 weeks on and 1 week off, changing the places of your body where you stick the patch.

If someone misses putting on a new patch or does it late, they should use a backup method like a condom or use emergency contraception if they have had sex that could result in a pregnancy.

Is it right for you?

Many people find it to be a great method! They like that the patch is not inside their genitals and that it can help with heavy or painful periods while keeping on having their period. Another benefit of the patch is that if someone wants to stop using it, they can remove it by themselves – without the assistance of a health provider.

Keep in mind that it’s not safe to smoke while using the patch because it can increase the chance of someone having a stroke. If someone wants to stop using the patch but still wants to prevent pregnancy, they can stop applying it themselves, and select a different birth control method.

Talking with a health provider is a great place to start. It can also be helpful to talk with friends or trusted adults in your life. Everyone is different, what works best for one person might not be what works best for you.

Where do you get it?

If you are in Pueblo, Colorado, contact the Family Planning Clinic from Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.

English: Call (719) 583-4380. Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
Español: Llama (719) 583-4376. Lunes a viernes 8:00 AM a 4:30 PM. 

If you are somewhere else in the United States you can find other resources here.

Go Ask Tara

Go Ask Tara is on a mission to provide sex education and help the youth of Colorado prevent pregnancy and STIs.