In recent years one of the advancements in the technology of contraceptive methods has included the development of the birth control patch to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. This is something that has been very beneficial for people who have difficulty remembering to take the pill on a daily basis. The patch is about one and a half inches square and it adheres to the skin for up to a week at a time. While it is attached to the skin it releases hormones transdermally through the skin and into the bloodstream. These hormones are designed to keep your menstrual cycle in a state that it will prevent you from getting pregnant when engaging in intercourse.
The hormones that are released by the birth control patch include a combination of progesterone and estrogen. This mixture has been specifically designed to help keep you from ovulating. This is an important step in contraception. The reason for this is that when you ovulate an egg is then put out by the ovaries. From here it travels to your uterus in preparation for it to be fertilized. The goal of the patch is to keep this egg from being released at all. This is because if the egg is not present then there is nothing to be fertilized and therefore you cannot get pregnant.
Besides preventing the egg from entering the uterus, the birth control patch also works to make sure that sperm cannot reach an egg should one be accidentally released. It can do this because the hormones that are present in the patch work to increase the amount of cervical mucus so that this mucus can act as a barrier to prevent the entry of any unwanted sperm into the uterus. On top of this there is even a third method of contraception as the hormones make it difficult for the egg to attach to the wall of the uterus, and if it cannot be anchored to the uterine wall it will not develop even if it is fertilized.
Unlike the pills, the birth control patch is used on a weekly basis. You would want to make sure that you attach the patch to your skin on the Sunday after your menstrual cycle. This is not a certain date, but most commonly doctors recommend that you start on a Sunday because it is the beginning of the week and is therefore a little easier to keep track of if you are trying to stay on a set schedule. If it is easier for you to remember to change out the patch on a Monday or Tuesday, then you will want to choose one of these days instead. Then, you will need to ensure you change out the patch every week for three weeks in a row. On the fourth week you will then go without the patch in order to have your monthly menstrual cycle. During this week you will want to make sure that you use back up contraception methods during intercourse as you are not going to be protected by the hormones.
It is recommended that you put the birth control patch on in one of four different areas: the buttocks, the upper arms, the upper torso, and the abdomen. In truth the patch can be placed in almost anywhere on the body except for the breasts or the pads of your feet or hands. Since the patch does release hormones it is important that you will want to make sure that you talk to your doctor if you have any problems or concerns when you are taking the medication to prevent any potential hazards down the road.