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The Disadvantages of Using Skin Patches

The Disadvantages of Using Skin Patches The Disadvantages of Using Skin Patches

Birth control patches work by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus and possibly thinning the uterine lining. Like birth control pills, patches create raised levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body in order to create these effects. While the patch may be a more convenient form of birth control than the pill and it may lessen the side effects some women experience from birth control shots, it also has some risks. The Mayo Clinic's website notes that the patch produces higher levels of estrogen in the body than birth control pills, so you may experience more severe side effects.

Hormonal Side Effects

The hormonal changes caused by the patch vary from woman to woman. You may find these side effects severe or they may remain negligible and unnoticed. A common side effect of the patch is continued spotting and breakthrough bleeding during the first few months of use. These effects will resemble a mild period. You may also experience mood changes as your hormone levels are affected by the patch. Headaches are another common side effect. These symptoms should all fade within the first few months of use. If they persist, consult your doctor right away.

Allergic Reactions

You may have a skin allergy to the materials in your contraceptive patch. If you are allergic, you will notice irritation, itching and possible changes in skin color where it touches the patch. According to, these symptoms may indicate an increased sensitivity to the contraceptive patch, which may heighten your susceptibility to other side effects.

Weight Change notes that you may experience weight gain when you use the patch. You may also lose weight on the patch, but this effect is not as common as weight gain. The birth control patch affects your body's levels of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can influence the levels of other hormones in your body. They may also boost or diminish the functions of glands and organs that produce hormones or contribute to your metabolism. Any of these factors, or some combination of them, can have a notable impact on your weight.

Risk of Blood Clots lists blood clots and related circulatory problems as an uncommon but serious concern for patch users. In rare cases, you may develop blood clots in your legs or your lungs. Left untreated, these can cause chronic heart disease, high blood pressure and risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have persistent pain in your calf, this may be a symptom of a blood clot. Chronic sharp chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing blood may indicate a clot in your lungs. You are at a higher risk of blood clots if you use the patch over the age of 35, or if you use tobacco while on the patch.

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