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Orhto Evra vs. Oral Contraceptives: Similarities and Differences

Speaking about similarities and differences between Ortho Evra (which is the only birth control method in the form of skin patch for today) and common oral contraceptive pills, I would mark out two aspects of the issue: structural and functional. Thus, structurally skin patch is a completely different type of birth control in comparison to daily pills for oral administration. I do not think that the difference in appearances of skin patch and pills requires detailed description. I would only say that a patch differs from pill approximately the same way as a phone booth differs from a cell phone.

Ortho Evra is a square patch with each side of about 4.5 cm, which is designed to stick to the skin. Birth control pills are produced in different colors and forms, but in general, they look like other pills, so it is not possible to mix up pills and skin patches.

On the functional level, the differences between Ortho Evra patch and oral birth control pills are not so distinct. However, this does not mean that there are no differences at all or that those differences are not important.

Of course, Ortho Evra patch and oral pills work as contraceptives. Their main goal is to prevent the unwanted pregnancy. By the way, the principles and even tools for reaching that goal are identical. Both skin patches and traditional pills contain two hormones: progestin and estrogen. These hormones help a woman avoid pregnancy by preventing ovulation (an egg is not released by one of the ovaries for fertilization), by thickening cervical mucus (so that sperm cannot enter the uterus), and by changing the uterus inner lining (so that a fertilized egg cannot attach to the uterus to start growing).

All the differences between patch and pills stem from the method of administering the working agents into a female organism. Skin patch delivers hormones through one’s skin. Of course, when using a skin patch, it takes more time for the sufficient amount of hormones to enter the blood stream. That is why the concentration of hormones in patches is higher in comparison to daily birth control pills.

This fact gives us both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, higher concentration makes a skin patch work for 7 days, while oral pills should be taken every single day in order to maintain the level of hormones in blood necessary for pregnancy prevention. On the other hand, higher concentration theoretically increases the risks of side effects.

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That is why there is no formula to calculate which type of contraception is best for a particular person. While daily pills seem to be safer, using skin patch is definitely much more convenient. Taking pills demands strong self-discipline, as well as good memory to take pills every day        at the same time. Skin patch is applied once a week and ensures the same level of pregnancy protection as the pills, taken daily.

After all, it should be said that there is no big difference in efficiency of skin patch contraceptives and daily pills. However, the slight difference exists in the issues of safety and potential side effects. And finally, there is a big difference in the way of using these two types of contraceptives. So, the final choice is only up to you and your doctor.


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