Contraceptive Patch Versus the Contraceptive Pill

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If you are considering a hormonal form of contraception, then the two forms that most women choose between are the contraceptive patch and the contraceptive pill. But how do you decide which form of contraception is right for you? Well you need to know the similarities and differences of each form and understand the pros and cons that apply to each method.

What are the similarities?

The contraceptive patch and the pill are very similar in the way they affect your menstrual cycle. The combined pill and the patch contain the same hormones oestrogen and progesterone. They both stop your body from releasing an egg, thicken your cervical mucous and thin your uterus lining to reduce the chances of getting pregnant. They also both has similar success rates as both of them are 99% effective if they are used correctly. They both work on the same cycle whereby you use the pill or the patch for three weeks then have a week free where you experience a withdrawal bleed. Neither of these contraceptive methods protects you from any sexually transmitted infections so both should be used in conjunction with condoms if you are to reduce this risk. Another important factor is that both the patch and the pill are easily reversible- you just have to stop using them and your menstrual cycle will return to normal.

What are the differences?

Although they work by creating the same effects on your body, they do have some differences. One is the way by which they get the hormones into your blood stream. The pill must be taken orally and it has to travel through your digestive system to your liver where it is broken down to release the hormones. These hormones are then released into your blood stream where they can circulate. The patch, on the other hand, is stuck to your skin and releases the hormones across your skins barrier directly into the blood stream.

A major benefit of the patch is that it only needs to be dealt with once a week, which makes it a very efficient form of contraception whereas the pill has to be taken every day. The pill is forgotten more often than the patch as the patch create the ease of remembering once every 7 days instead.

The amount of hormone that you are continually exposed to differs between the two contraceptions. After you have taken the pill, your oestrogen levels are elevated and then they fall whereas with the patch you are continually exposed to a consistent level of oestrogen. This can have more harmful effects than the pill because you are exposed to 60% more oestrogen, which makes the risks of blood clots when using the patch higher than when you use the pill.  They do create similar side effects such as nausea and vomiting but the patch has a higher risk factor than the pill in certain groups.

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