Breast HealthContraceptionOur Gyno Health

How to Apply Your Contraceptive Patches

There are two contraceptive patches in the US available: Xulane patch and the Twirla patch

1.Do not place the patch on your breasts. But you can wear on your belly, your butt, or your back

2. Contraceptive patches may be safer than an oral contraception, with respect to your liver function, for instance blood clotting factors are not usually significantly affected, but they are less likely to increase with a patch than with oral contraceptive pills. The liver function is is not affected by where you place your patch.

3. . When you take a patch off, you need to place one the same day, just not on the same spot that you just removed a patch.

4. There probably is no research that tells us what the blood level of hormone is going to be based on where the patch is placed. The hormone is taken up by the skin, not specifically by fat, muscle, nor bone. For most medicated patch wearers (contraceptive patches included) there may not be a lot of difference between an abdomen, or thigh or arm (other than how much stickiness it has), or a lot of differences that will make changes to the effectiveness or to the numbers of your side effects. When very precise studies are done there is a bit less absorption is usually the abdomen, relative to the place like the buttock. This probably has to do with the amount of fat, the way the patch lays, all sorts of variables.

5. Detachment, or literally not sticking to the skin properly, of the patches occurs about 5% of the time, and doesn’t seem to relate to where it is placed.

6. You can move a patch and generally it will still stick well in it’s new spot

7. If you have not skipped more than 2 days of patch, you probably are still protected against pregnancy, if you find it has come off and you weren’t sure when.

8. Try to find a spot that doesn’t regularly rub on your bathing suit, yoga pants waist band, or that you rub against, such as with piercings or jewelry.

9. Patch users, like oral contraceptive users, may get breast discomfort, although typically they have less breast discomfort than women not on any hormones. Location of the patch has no effect on the amount of breast fullness, discomfort, nor tenderness.

10. One thing researchers also point out, when it comes to knowing exactly which spot would be best: The intra-subject steroid level variability is very high. One researcher is testing contraceptive patch that is like an earring! Your natural hormone levels may be different than another patch user’s contraceptive hormone’s levels. So if you have questions, come in to ask us!


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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