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Contraceptive patches

The contraceptive patch is a sticky patch (rather like a nicotine patch), which delivers hormones (both oestrogen and progestogen) into your body through your skin. You can stick it anywhere on your skin, so it's easily to conceal if you want to. 

The main way the contraceptive patch works is by stopping egg release from the ovaries, but it also thickens the mucus at the neck of the womb (making it harder for sperm to get through) and thins the lining of the womb (making it harder for a fertilised egg to implant). So it's pretty clever but remember, it offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.

How long does it last?

Each patch lasts one week. You stick it to your skin and leave it there for a week (it’s ok to wear it in bed, swimming or in the bath), then you change it for a new one. After three weeks you have a week off without a patch.

If you forget to replace the patch at the right time or stop using it then you could get pregnant.

How effective is it?

When used correctly, the patch is more than 99% effective. This means that fewer than 1 woman in 100 who use the patch will get pregnant in 1 year.

Where can I get it?

The patch is available from your GP, or sexual health clinic.

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For more information call  0800 22 44 88 or use our sexual health service finder to look for help in your area.