Contraception is used by women for a number of reasons, from preventing pregnancy to regulating their period.
Recent figures from Statista have shown that 86 percent of women rely on birth control methods.
But a doctor has warned how the hot weather can interfere with certain types of contraception, including the patch and the vaginal ring.
The chemicals found in contraception are sensitive to heat, and when these are stored in high and low temperatures they can become less effective.
As temperatures remain high, Dr Francis Yarless, GP and medical director of The Lowdown, has shared her top tips on how to look after your contraception.
According to the NHS, the patch is more than 99 percent effective when used correctly.
The patch releases a daily dose or hormones through the skin into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy.
It comes in the form of a thin, beige plaster that is worn for seven days, and changed on the eighth.
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Similar to the combined pill, it contains the hormones oestrogen and progestogen.
Due to the adhesive nature of the patch, users are at risk of sweating it off during high temperatures.
Although it is designed to be water-resistant, Dr Yarlett has urged women to check their patch daily when the weather's hot.
She told The Sun: “If there is any rippling or any part of the patch that is coming off make sure you change it to a new one.”
The contraceptive pill
As one of the most popular forms of contraception, the pill can prevent pregnancy by up to 99 percent.
However, taking the pill at irregular times, or missing it occasionally, can impact its effectiveness.
Dr Yarlett warns that this can drop even further if your pill is not stored correctly.
She explained: “We know that extreme heat can affect chemical compounds, therefore it is always a good idea to keep the pill in a cool dry place and avoid extreme temperature changes.
“I often recommend storing somewhere you see regularly to make sure you take it on time! For example, in a cool bathroom, next to your toothbrush.”
The GP advised that the ideal temperature to store contraceptive pills is around 20C, as it can only survive in higher and lower temperatures for a short period of time.
You should avoid storing pills in temperatures higher than 30C or lower than 15C for long periods.
Some combined pills have their own specific instructions about storage, for example Ovranette and Marvelon should not be stored above 25C.
Meanwhile, the popular pill Yasmin should not be stored above 30C.
Always check your pill for instructions, and if the room temperature rises above 30C, don’t be tempted to put it in the fridge.
Instead, opt for a cool dry cupboard until the room cools down.
Keeping your pill in its original packaging can help protect it from moisture and heat, added Dr Yarlett.
Condoms are the best way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Recent figures have shown that only around 27 percent of women in the UK choose condoms as their main form of contraception.
They can be easily broken or damaged, which can put you at risk of unplanned pregnancy, warns Dr Yarlett.
She said: “Condoms should always be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, where they can’t be pierced or damaged.
“Always check the expiration date too! It’s important to know that oil-based lubricants can also damage latex condoms, causing them to rip and make them less/ineffective.”
The vaginal ring
Similar to the patch and the pill, the vaginal ring is more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
It is a small, flexible ring that is placed inside your vagina, and releases hormones into your body.
The ring is designed to work when exposed to body temperature – which is 37C.
When temperatures rise above or below 37C, the ring can start releasing hormones and make it less effective when you use it.
Dr Yarlett said: “There's no real evidence around this, however medications may alter due to the effect of heat on chemical compounds, so it’s best to keep them out of the heat.”
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