OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson describes how a contraceptive patch can prevent pregnancy by delivering a continuous amount of hormones into a woman’s blood stream.
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Travis Stork: Time for Everyday Health from A to Z segment. Today's letter is B for birth control. Most people know about the birth control pill, but recently we've been getting a lot of questions asking how it compares, Lisa, to the birth control patch. Lisa Masterson: Well, actually they are very, very similar and this is a great option for women, especially if they have nausea or some other problems and also if they have a problem with taking a pill everyday. Basically, the birth control patch has the same hormones as in the birth control pill, estrogen and progesterone. Basically, it is attached either to your buttocks, your shoulder, your upper torso, except for your breast, your back, and as you can see it's sort of like a little larger than a stamp size. It has an adhesive to it. So it can stay on. Sometimes it gets a little dirty around the edges, but it can stay on for a week. You change it every week. So that's the beauty of it. You don't have to remember to take it everyday like a pill and it's just as effective. With perfect use 99% effective. Also, don't take it the week that you're going to have your periods. So you take it three weeks straight, you change the patch every week for three weeks and then you don't have a patch for a week. So you can have your period. So it's a great option for women who don't want to take a pill everyday who don't want things like shots and things that last for so long or vaginal things. Travis Stork: You've got to make sure you stay on top of it. It would be very easy to, well, okay, I've been wearing it for a week. You've got to remind yourself maybe with some sort of alarm on your phone every week. Lisa Masterson: Exactly! But it's a good chance for women again who have nausea with pills, because it doesn't go through the liver, the first pass that has exact same risk factors as a birth control pill. You don't want to take it if you smoke and you're over 35, if you have undiagnosed bleeding disorders or bleeding clot disorder. So again it's same risk and also some of the same side effects. Again, nausea, headache, breast tenderness that you might have with the birth control pill. But one of the special things again if you have an allergy to adhesive tape like if you have an allergy to band aid then obviously that's going to prevent you from using this type of birth control. But again it's a great alternative to have in our options for birth control. Travis Stork: Yeah. To each their own when it comes to birth controls. Why not try it for women who don't tolerate pills? Thank you, Dr. Lisa. Lisa Masterson: You're welcome! Travis Stork: For more information, you go to thedoctorstv.com or you can visit everydayhealth.com.