Birth control spotlight: The patch

The best sticky situation you'll ever have

It sticks to you. It auto-magically sends hormones through your skin. It keeps you from getting pregnant. What else is there to know about the patch? Lots.

Like it only comes in one color. (Hello, beige.) It doesn’t work well for women who weigh more than 198 lbs. And you have never, ever seen anything this sticky. Not a bandaid. Not a toddler covered in Kool-Aid and candy. Not gum in your hair. Nothing sticks like this and that’s good because the sticky stuff is vital to the whole use-the-patch-and-don’t-get-pregnant thing.

The patch is also 99% effective with perfect use or 91% effective with typical use. You have to change it every week.

More patch basics:

  • Ortho Evra is the official name for the once-a-week birth control patch.
  • It can go on your upper outer arm, upper torso, butt, or stomach, but don’t even think about attaching it to your breasts. (It doesn’t work when you attach it to the girls.)
  • To get it, you need to see your physician or a health center for a prescription.
  • It costs about $55 per month, but you may be able to get the patch for free.
  • We consider it a great method for spontaneity. (Which some women say increases pleasure as well as the pregnancy prevention.)
  • It may clear up acne and reduce menstrual cramps. For all side effects—good and bad—you can read about the patch on Bedsider.
  • Body lotion, oil, creamy soaps, and powder can make the patch less sticky; so don’t use any of that stuff near it.
  • Don’t flush your patch! That sends hormones into our water system, which is bad for land dwellers and sea creatures. It’s much safer to fold the patch in half and place it in the trash.

Watch our Real Stories videos to hear what women and men think about using the patch or browse our patch FAQs when you need to find an answer fast.

So, we are very fond of the patch. It doesn’t beat the IUD in terms of effectiveness and convenience, but it’s close and worth checking out for sure. Oh, and like the IUD, the patch does not protect against STIs, so please keep condoms around for extra protection. We want you healthy and happy.


P.S. Become a Bedsider Insider and get perks for things like using birth control or flirting with your crush. Sign in and go to your account to get started.

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.