A Guide to Birth Control Patch Placement

Amisha Jain
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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birth control patch placement

The birth control patch has emerged as a convenient and effective contraceptive option.

It is especially sought out by women seeking a hassle-free method of preventing unwanted pregnancy. 

It is useful, especially for those who can not remember to take the pill every day.

However, the placement of the patch plays a crucial role in its efficacy and overall performance. 

Here, we will discuss the optimal birth control patch placement, considering factors such as absorption rates, skin compatibility, and user adherence.

So keep on reading!

Where to put birth control patch

One of the primary considerations when discussing the birth control patch is its absorption rate, which is directly influenced by its placement on the body. 

The selection of the right placement for the birth control patch is crucial for its efficacy. 

The patch is designed for transdermal delivery, releasing hormones directly through the skin to prevent ovulation. 

While the options for placement are diverse, certain areas of the body have proven to be more effective than others.

These include:

Upper outer arm

The upper outer arm is a commonly recommended site for birth control patch placement. 

This area offers a good balance of skin characteristics, with a sufficient blood supply and relatively fewer variations in skin thickness. 

When placed on the upper outer arm, the patch remains discreet and is less likely to be subject to friction or constant movement, ensuring optimal hormone absorption.

Buttocks

Another widely accepted location is the buttocks. 

This area provides ample space for the patch and is less visible, offering a discreet option for women who prefer to keep their contraceptive methods private. 

The skin on the buttocks is generally well-suited for sustained hormone release, minimizing the risk of patch displacement and ensuring consistent absorption.

Fact:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth control patches are very effective in preventing pregnancy, with a typical failure rate of about 7%.

Abdomen

estrogen patch placementSource: recep-bg_from_Getty_Images
Birth control patch (abdominal area)

The abdominal area, specifically the lower abdomen, is also considered suitable for patch placement. 

This site is convenient for many women, allowing for easy self-application. 

However, factors such as clothing friction and body movement should be taken into account to avoid compromising adhesion and absorption.

Upper chest (avoiding breast)

The upper chest, except the breasts, can also be considered as an alternative site for birth control patch placement. 

This area may be more comfortable for individuals with skin sensitivities or those who experience irritation on other body parts. 

However, healthcare providers should consider individual variations and preferences when recommending this placement.

Considerations while placing birth control patch

Placing a birth control patch correctly is crucial for ensuring its effectiveness and minimizing potential issues. 

Here are key considerations to keep in mind while placing a birth control patch:

  • Select an appropriate placement site: Consider optimal placement sites such as the upper outer arm, buttocks, abdomen, or upper chest, excluding the breasts. Take into account factors like skin sensitivity, visibility, and lifestyle when choosing the location for the patch 
  • Rotate patch placement: To minimize skin irritation and ensure consistent hormone absorption, rotate the placement of the patch with each application. Avoid placing consecutive patches on the same spot
  • Avoid areas with breakouts: Do not place the patch on areas of the skin with cuts, wounds, or rashes. Applying the patch to compromised skin can lead to discomfort and may affect adhesion
  • Follow the prescribed schedule: Adhere to the prescribed schedule for changing the patch. The usual schedule includes a weekly change of the patch for 3 weeks, followed by 1 week without the patch. Changing it at the same time on scheduled days is crucial for maintaining a consistent level of hormones and preventing unintended pregnancy
  • Be mindful of clothing friction: Consider daily activities and clothing choices to minimize friction on the patch. Areas subject to constant movement or rubbing against tight clothing may compromise adhesion and efficacy
Recommended Article
Learn more about how to get these patches online.
Read How to Get a Birth Control Patch Online Easily for details.

Factors that impact the choice of patch placement

Discontinue use if you encounter Itchy skinSource: shisuka
Sensitive skin

The choice of birth control patch placement is influenced by various factors.

Healthcare providers work closely with individuals to determine the most suitable placement, taking the following factors into consideration:

  • Skin sensitivity: Some individuals may experience discomfort in response to the adhesive or hormonal components of the patch. In such cases, healthcare providers may recommend alternative placement sites that are less likely to cause skin reactions
  • Lifestyle factors: An individual’s lifestyle and daily activities can influence the placement of a patch. For those engaged in activities with frequent body movement, placement on areas like the upper outer arm may be more practical, as it is less likely to be subject to friction or displacement
  • Visibility: Women who prioritize discreet contraceptive methods may prefer placement on body areas easily covered by clothing, such as the buttocks or lower abdomen
  • Body weight and BMI: Body weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) can affect hormone absorption rates. Studies suggest that women with higher BMIs may experience variations in hormone levels when using the patch
  • Previous patch experience: If a particular placement site has been uncomfortable in the past, healthcare providers may suggest alternative sites to enhance user satisfaction and adherence

Conclusion

The efficacy of birth control patches rests on the selection of placement sites.

The most commonly recommended parts of applying a patch include the upper outer arm, buttocks, abdomen, and upper chest (excluding breasts).

Factors such as skin sensitivity, body weight, lifestyle factors, and how discreet you want to be with the birth control method typically impact the choice of placement.

Additionally, the importance put on rotation, avoiding inflamed regions, following schedules, and being mindful of clothing friction highlights the careful technique needed to apply birth control patches successfully.

This approach empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive health, promoting a sense of autonomy and well-being.

Warning:
Do not use a birth control patch without consulting a doctor first. These patches might cause side effects, including nausea, menstrual cramps, or rashes on the application site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best place to put the birth control patch?

The upper outer arm and buttocks are commonly recommended for birth control patch placement. These areas offer optimal hormone absorption due to sufficient blood supply, discreetness, and minimal friction, ensuring effective contraception. Other suggested areas include the abdomen and upper chest, excluding the breasts.

What is the correct way to use the contraceptive patch?

Apply the birth control patch to clean and dry skin, rotating between recommended sites like the upper outer arm, buttocks, abdomen, and upper chest. It is typically changed weekly for three weeks, followed by a patch-free week to maintain hormonal consistency. Seek guidance from a healthcare professional for a better understanding.

Can I put my patch on my thigh?

While the thigh is not a typical recommendation, some patches may allow application to the upper thigh. Generally, these patches can be applied to most areas as long as the skin there is clean, dry, and not hairy. However, consult with your healthcare provider to make sure it won’t impact the efficacy.

Do I have to put my birth control patch in the same spot every time?

No, you don’t have to put the birth control patch in the same spot every time. It’s advisable to rotate the birth control patch to different locations during each application to minimize skin irritation. Avoid placing patches consecutively on the same spot to ensure effectiveness and user comfort.

Citations:
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