First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, testing, treatment, and additional resources
Home > Health Library > Birth Control Hormones: The Patch
The patch is used to prevent pregnancy. It looks like a bandage. You put it on the skin of your belly, rear end (buttocks), upper arm, or upper body (but not on a breast).
The patch releases a regular dose of the hormones estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent pregnancy in three ways. They thicken the mucus in the cervix. This makes it hard for sperm to travel into the uterus. They thin the lining of the uterus, which makes it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. The hormones also can stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
The patch provides birth control for 1 month at a time. You change the patch once a week for 3 weeks and then go without a patch for 1 week. During this week, you have your period. Your period may be very light. You also may use the patch continuously, without stopping for a week each month. With this method, you won't have your period.
In the first year of use:
Be sure to tell your doctor about any health problems you have or medicines you take. Your doctor can help you choose the birth control method that is right for you.
Current as of:
November 22, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: November 22, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.