Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

Contraceptive Patch: How It Works and Changes Your Cycle

Contraceptive patch side effects, advantages, and disadvantages are quite clear — they’re similar to those of other hormonal birth control methods. Let’s dive into how it actually works and how it might change your menstrual cycle.

What is a contraceptive patch?

The contraceptive patch is a very thin and smooth adhesive tape, which is securely attached to the skin on a body area easily reached by you (the lower abdomen, buttock, shoulder blade, or the outer part of the shoulder).

Despite its unusual form, contraceptive patch effectiveness is 99.4%.

It doesn’t interfere with daily activities, and it doesn’t come off upon contact with water.

The patch contains a combination of hormones, which is why it stops ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, making it less permeable for the sperm.

Hormones are absorbed into the blood through the skin bypassing the stomach, so this method is suitable for people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases.

One patch is effective for 7 days, after which it must be replaced. After three weeks, it is necessary to take a week-long break.

Menstrual cycle using a contraceptive patch

Hormone fluctuations, mature follicle formation, ovulation, and endometrium build-up that take place during a menstrual cycle, are all aimed at conception.

If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the process is reset by menstruation, and then it starts again.

When a woman applies a contraceptive patch, her natural menstrual cycle is interrupted.

The synthetic hormones mimic the effect of naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone, but their levels are stable and don’t fluctuate, as they do during a regular cycle.

As a result, follicle development and ovulation don’t occur, and there is no mid-cycle hormone peak. Therefore, when using the patch, the menstrual cycle stops, but the term “hormonal contraceptive cycle” can be used instead.

Menstrual-like bleeding, which occurs every month when the patch is removed, is actually not a real period. It’s the body’s response to changes in the hormone level. If the patch is not removed, the level will stay the same and menstrual-like bleeding will not occur.

Thus, we can say that the conventional periods come to a halt.

Try Flo today