Ortho Evra, or the birth control patch, is a hormonal birth control method delivered via a dermal patch. The patch delivers a measured dose of both estrogen and progesterone to the body. Each patch is worn for one week for three consecutive weeks, then a week is skipped to allow for a menstrual period. Hormonal birth control, like Ortho Evra, may cause a number of side effects, including a lowered libido.
The hormones in the birth control patch work in three distinct ways. First, the patch prevents ovulation from occurring. This is the primary means of pregnancy prevention; however, should it fail, the patch also causes a thickening of cervical fluid and a thinning of the uterine lining to contribute to the contraceptive effect, according to Planned Parenthood. If you are particularly sensitive to estrogen, you should be aware that the Ortho Evra patch delivers significantly more estrogen than oral contraceptive pills, according to the manufacturer of Ortho Evra, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
According to Epigee, hormonal birth control, including Ortho Evra, can inhibit sex drive in several ways. Decreased libido is common, but some women may also experience decreased sexual enjoyment or lubrication. A January 2006 study by Claudia Panzer published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that hormonal birth control had a long-term effect on libido in some cases.
A variety of factors can effect libido, including your Ortho Evra patch. Consider your relationship dynamics, stress levels and general mood before blaming your birth control method, especially if the change in your libido occurred long after you started using the birth control patch. That said, you should be aware that changes in sex drive occur with hormonal contraceptives, due to reduced levels of testosterone and higher levels of sex-hormone binding globulin in the body.
If you believe that the Ortho Evra patch is causing a low libido, you may want to choose another contraceptive. A low dose multiphasic birth control pill may cause fewer sexual side effects. For some women, low libido is a consistent side effect with all forms of hormonal birth control.
Ortho Evra is a reliable and easy-to-use contraceptive option but does have a number of potential side effects other than lower libido. High levels of estrogen link Ortho Evra to a higher risk of stroke, blood clots and other significant complications, according to the manufacturer. Smokers should not use Ortho Evra.
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