How does it work?

It delivers hormones (oestrogen and progestogen) into your body through your skin. It contains the same hormones as the combined pill, and it works in the same way. This means that it prevents ovulation (the release of an egg). It thickens cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to travel through the cervix. It also thins the womb lining, making it less likely that a fertilised egg will implant there.

Each patch lasts for one week. You change the patch every week for three weeks, then have a week off without a patch. You can wear the patch in the bath, in the swimming pool and while playing sports.

Possible side effects

  • some medicines may make it less effective
  • breakthrough bleeding and spotting is common in the first few months.

Where do I get it?

Visit your nearest sexual health clinic or your GP surgery.