Options to the birth control patch

Q: I am currently on the patch birth control. I was so excited with the invention of this method because I forgot way too often to take the pill.

However, I just heard the patch is way more risky. Is this true? And if so, do you recommend a specific pill instead?

Signed, No More Patch?

A: You are right for being concerned. A recently released study says that the patch exposes women to significantly higher doses of hormones, which may create a greater risk for blood clots and other serious side effects.

Before deciding which birth control method would be best, think about how committed you are to scheduled doses.

It seems that you are forgetful. The mini-pill needs to be taken at the same time each day. A back-up method of birth control is needed if you take the pill more than three hours late.

There are also extended cycle pills, brand name Seasonale. But you still need to make the commitment to take them daily.

You could look into using the “ring.” Nuva-Ring is 99 per cent effective and requires monthly dosing. You put the ring in around your cervix and leave it in for three weeks, then take it out for the forth week to allow your period to take place.

But it can also cause side effects such as irritation and local erosion and you need to learn how to put it in.