How does it work?

The patch sticks to your skin and releases hormones (estrogen and progestogen) which are similar to the hormones women naturally produce.  A new patch is required each week for three weeks out of four, the fourth week is patch free.

The main way the patch works is to stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).  It also thickens the mucus in the cervix preventing sperm reaching the egg and thins the lining of the uterus so it is less likely to accept a fertilised egg.

What are the advantages?

  • The patch is over 99% effective if used according to instructions
  • It isn’t affected by vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Your period may become more regular, lighter and less painful

Are there any disadvantages?

  • It can be seen
  • It may cause skin irritation
  • Some women may experience temporary side effects including headaches, nausea, mood changes, breast tenderness and irregular bleeding
  • The patch does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections so you may need to use condoms too

Where can I get it?

The patch is available from your GP practice or local sexual health clinic