How effective is it.
Over 99 per cent effective if used according to instructions. Less than one woman in 100 will get pregnant in a year.
How does it work.
A small patch is stuck on the skin and releases two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.
It stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching an egg, and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilised egg implanting.
What are the advantages.
- You do not have to think about it every day.
- It is not affected if you vomit or have diarrhoea.
- Can make periods regular, lighter and less painful.
- It improves acne for some women.
- When you stop using the patch your fertility will return to normal.
What are the disadvantages.
- Not suitable for very overweight women or smokers over 35 years.
- Low risk of serious side-effects such as blood clots, breast and cervical cancer.
- Can be temporary side-effects such as headaches, nausea, mood changes and breast tenderness.
- Possible skin irriation at site of patch.
Anything else I should know.
- May be seen.
- A new patch is used each week for three weeks out of four.
- Some medicines can make it less effective.
- Breakthrough bleeding and spotting is common in the first few months.