Health 101: Contraception – Pill vs Patch
If you are looking for online GP services, then Webdoctor.ie is the perfect platform for you. Not only has Dr. Catherine Corless given advice on just two of the contraceptive options available, but the team are also offering all GirlCrew members 20% off their services for any online consultation (including the Pill + Video). Simply use the coupon code “GIRLCREW” to avail of the offer.
Here at GirlCrew, we are always in favour of women taking control of their bodies and their reproductive health. These days, it seems like these values are under threat but we’re heartened to see so many of our members being active and pushing for social change. As part of that, it’s important to be informed about the options that are available for you when it comes to your sexual health.
In order to shine a little light on these choices, and to make life a little easier, we’ve partnered with Webdoctor.ie to bring you a sneaky GirlCrew discount on their services – simply use the code GirlCrew to avail of the offer. Webdoctor is leading the charge in the way Irish people can access medical services online. Their team of doctors have treated over 15,000 patients in Ireland. The site is incredibly easy to use, users select from the range of services they have and are brought through a very simple process, from consultation to prescription.
According to Webdoctor’s medical director, Dr. Catherine Corless, Webdoctor can treat the top 10 conditions treated in by a traditional face-to-face doctor such as Colds and Flu, Chest Infections, Kidney infections, Cystitis, UTIs and even stress via their innovative video consultation option where you can chat to a doctor from your smartphone or computer. The site also boasts 7 repeat prescription treatments, including the contraceptive pill and patch and STI testing, where you do not even need to see a doctor. You just fill out the questionnaire and the doctor reviews it!
Unlike your traditional doctor, there’s no need to wait or take time off work but you are afforded the same level of confidentiality, top quality qualified care, and all at a much more affordable price. Back in 2014, a study carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of Bayer Healthcare showed that a whopping 20% of Irish women were neither using contraception nor planning on getting pregnant within the year. To be honest, ladies, that’s a serious gamble. Unless you are actively planning on having a child, or are prepared to deal with pregnancy and have chosen not to use protection, it’s imperative that you are protected. When used correctly, most modern contraception is about 99% effective, which are pretty good odds. As Webdoctor offer prescriptions for both the pill and the patch, we thought we’d start there.
The contraceptive pill
The pill is a hormone based method of contraception – the combined pill contains oestrogen and progesterone, while the minipill contains progestogen only. Which is better for you is generally decided on a number of lifestyle factors including your weight, your age, if you’re a smoker etc. Both versions prevent pregnancy by releasing hormones into the body. The hormones contained in the combined pill work by preventing you ovulate. This also helps preserve your egg supply and gives you protection against Ovarian Cancer, while you are using it. The Progesterone only or minipill thickens the mucous in the neck of the womb making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg and works to prevent implantation also. However, the minipill can also prevent ovulation in up to 90+% of users. Both versions of the pill are over 99% effective, but they do not prevent the spread of STDs, so it’s generally wise to also use condoms. There are some myths surrounding weight gain and the pill but, for the most part, these have been busted. “The main reason people gain weight is because they are exercising less and usually eating a bit more” according to Dr. Corless. If you are taking any other medication or there is a history of cancer in your family then this should be discussed with your doctor and they may recommend an alternative method of contraception. Both pill types need to be taken at the same time every day, so make sure you have your reminder set.
The contraceptive patch
This is the same as the combined pill, so the same restrictions apply to it, such as smoking, migraine high BMI and blood pressure issues. The hormones primarily prevent an egg from being released. The patch itself is about the size of matchbox and is applied directly to the skin. Most doctors recommend placing it on the upper arm, buttocks, back or lower abdomen – and it should never be applied to the breast. A new patch is applied every week for three weeks and on the fourth week, you don’t apply a patch to allow for your period. Again, the patch is over 99% effective but only if used correctly; if it falls off or has been left on for over a week then there’s a high risk of pregnancy. The patch has some benefits over the pill; primarily it is not affected by vomiting or diarrhea. But, it is more expensive than pills. However, it doesn’t protect against STDs either, so condoms are recommended and, as with pills, it can be adversely affected by some medications and natural therapies, so you must advise your doctor if you are taking anything else.
As with any form of medicine there are risks to both, and it’s important that you talk through all your options with your doctor – these are merely two. At Webdoctor, the patient is empowered because they can send messages directly to their doctor from their secure patient record and the doctors will respond quickly. This is so useful as you will always have a log to look back at all the dialogue between you and your doctor. Be honest with them, and yourself, about your lifestyle and make an informed decision about which works for you. Dr. Corless says “that being informed is the safest way forward and don’t worry if it’s not plain sailing, many people will change their method of contraception over their lifetime for various reasons and this is perfectly ok”. Side effects can occur with every method, and again, if you are worried or experiencing severe problems then be sure to contact your doctor asap. These things were designed to make life easier after all. There’s nothing to be ashamed off when it comes to your health, so don’t be squeamish – just take a deep breath and ask all the questions you need to. Don’t be afraid to speak up, and you will find the right fit for you. If the recent pineapple-gate debate in GirlCrew Dublin is anything to by, we all know you are doing it anyway so you might as well be protected. To make that a little easier, Webdoctor are offering all GirlCrew members 20% off their services for any online consultation (including the Pill + Video), simply use the coupon code “GIRLCREW” to avail of the offer.
(For those who missed pineapple-gate, just Google “pineapple and sex”, but make sure your boss isn’t in the room first 😉)