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The Patch

The patch is a thin, beige piece of plastic that looks like a square Band-Aid. It's a little less than two inches across, and comes in one, and only one, color (Beige). You stick the patch on your skin and it gives off hormones that prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. Ortho Evra is the medical name, but most people just call it the patch.

Details

Less effort than the pill
If you're the kind of person who would have trouble remembering to take a pill every day, the patch might be a good option. You only need to remember to do something once a week.

You should weigh less than 198 pounds
The patch is less effective if you weigh more than 198. (Random number, right?) So take that into consideration.

Predictable periods
If you're the type of gal who feels comforted by getting her period every month — and by not having random spotting in between — then this might just be the choice for you.

Smokers older than 35, beware
If you’re older than 35, smoking on the patch increases your risk of certain side effects. And if you’re younger, why not quit now and save yourself the trouble? For help with quitting, visit www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits .

The pregnancy question
You'll be able to get pregnant right after going off the patch. So don't take any chances. If you're not ready for a baby, protect yourself with another method right away.

Side Effects

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone's different, so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.

The Positive
Positive “side effects”? You bet.

  • Easy to use — it's like sticking on a Band Aid
  • You don’t have to stop and do anything before sex.
  • Might give you more regular, lighter periods
  • May clear up acne
  • Can reduce menstrual cramps and PMS
  • Offers protection against some nasty health problems, like endometrial and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease

The Negative
Everyone worries about negative side effects, but for most women, they're not a problem. Remember, you're introducing hormones into your body, so it can take a few months to adjust. Give it time.

Things that will probably go away after two or three months:

  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Things that may last longer:

  • Irritation where the patch sits on your skin

If you still feel uncomfortable after three months, switch methods and stay protected. You're worth it.

*For a very small number of women, there are risks of serious side effects.

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