Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

The patch, pill and ring are birth control methods made with the hormones estrogen and progestin. They are similar to hormones found in the body and they prevent you from getting pregnant in two ways:

  • They stop the eggs from leaving the ovaries.
  • They make cervical mucas thicker, so it's harder for sperm to reach the eggs.

Before getting the patch, pill or ring, it's important to know the most common benefits, risks and side effects of these methods as well as your other birth control options.

What are the benefits of the patch, pill and ring?

There's nothing you have to do before sex to make these methods work. The ability to get pregnant comes back quickly after pausing their use. These methods can also protect you from the following health conditions:

  • Acne
  • Anemia (iron poor blood)
  • Bad cramps
  • Bone thinning
  • Cancer of the ovaries
  • Cancer of the uterus
  • Cysts in the breasts and ovaries
  • Heavy periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Pregnancy in the tubes, also known as an ectopic pregancy
  • PMS
  • Serious infection in the ovaries, tubes and uterus

How well do the patch, pill and ring work?

For every 100 people who use the patch, pill or ring perfectly (use it correctly and every single time they have sex) for a year, only one will get pregnant. For every 100 people who do not use them perfectly, about nine will get pregnant.

What are the risks of the patch, pill or ring?

People on the patch, pill or ring have a slightly greater risk of rare, serious problems that can cause damage to the lungs, hear or brain. These problems include:

  • Blood clots that start in the legs and go to the lungs
  • Heart attack
  • LIver tumors
  • Stroke

The more a person is at risk for heart disease and stroke, the greater the chances are of having these health problems while using the patch, pill or ring. The risks also increase if you:

  • Are older than 35
  • Smoke
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a family history of blood clots
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Have had a strong, heart attack or angina
  • Are very overweight

What are some of the birth control side effects of the patch, pill or ring?

While using these types of birth control, you may have the following side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) - usually clears up in two or three months
  • Sore breasts - usually clears up in two or three months
  • Irregular bleeding - including early or late periods, spotting between periods or no periods
  • Some using the patch notice sore skin where the patch goes on
  • Some using the ring notice more vaginal wetness

Can I use the patch, pill or ring?

People with certain health problems can't use the patch, pill or ring. Speak with your doctor or nurse about your risk and health issues. It will help you decide if the patch, pill or ring is right for you. If you can't use these methods, you can take a look at the other methods of birth control.

What are my other options?

THere are many other methods of birth control. We will offer you information about them and answer your questions at your appointment. You can schedule your appointment online and even speak with a doctor online by video.

What else do I need to know about the patch, pill and ring?

Read the package insert that comes with your birth control pack. The information may be different from ours. Let us know if you have questions.

What medications are affected by birth control?

All of these methods

  • May not work quite as well for people who are taking certain other medications including herbals like St. John's wort and some used for tuberculosis, seizures, mental health issues or HIV/AIDS.
  • May affect other medications you take. Always tell your doctor or nurse about your prescriptions.
  • Do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The patch and the pill may not work quite as well for people who are overweight.

Your health is very important to use. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us. We are happy to help.

Call us right away at 314-531-7526 if you have any of the following:

  • Sudden back/jaw pain along with nausea, sweating, or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Achy soreness in the leg
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe pain in the belly
  • A sudden very bad headache
  • Headaches that are different, worse, or happen more often than usual
  • Aura - seeing bright, falshing zigzags, usually before a very bad headache
  • Unusually heavy bleeding from the vagina

Planned Parenthood Direct

Get birth control and UTI treatment right from your phone. With PP Direct, simply answer a few questions and a clinician will get back to you within one business day. Pick up your prescription at your local pharmacy, or have your pills mailed to you. It's that simple!

Learn More