Birth Control

All About the Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring is a simple and convenient hormonal contraception option that prevents pregnancy effectively and only requires once monthly upkeep. If you'd like to learn more about the vaginal ring, read on to find out.

What Is the Vaginal Ring?

The vaginal ring is a small and flexible plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month. Much like a tampon, you can't feel it once it's in. It's a hormonal contraception option that slowly releases hormones into the body. These hormones are absorbed through the vagina and stop ovulation.

How Does it Work?

The vaginal ring works by releasing estrogen and progestin into the highly absorbent vaginal tissue. The tissue uptakes the hormones, and the hormones stop ovulation and thicken the vaginal mucous. The lack of ovulation prevents the presence of an egg that can be fertilized, and the thickened cervical mucus deters sperm from meeting the egg should an egg be present.

How Effective is It?

The vaginal ring is 99% effective in theory, but about 91% effective in practical settings.

The ring is inserted once monthly and removed after 3 weeks. Delays in application or changing out the ring can hamper effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.

Further, the ring is a hormonal contraceptive, and therefore affected by certain medications. When using the vaginal ring to prevent pregnancy, make sure to keep track of all other medicines that you are taking and discuss any new medications with your medical provider. Upon the prescription of any new medications, make sure to inform your provider of your usage of the vaginal birth control ring.

How Frequently Do I Have to Take it?

The vaginal ring is inserted once a month and removed after 3 weeks. You can choose to have your periods on the ring or not. If you would like to get your period, you can keep the ring in for three weeks and take it out for the last week. If you would not like to get your period, you can keep the ring in for four weeks and replace it immediately.

To insert the ring, use clean hands to squeeze the ring and gently insert it high enough into the vagina so that you cannot feel it. Removal is equally simple. Use clean hands to hook the ring and pull it out.

What Are the Side Effects?

The vaginal ring can cause itching, nausea, discharge, headache and more. The important thing is to talk to your health care provider about all of your existing medical conditions and lifestyle choices.

You should avoid using the ring and other estrogen based birth control methods if you are over 35 years old and a smoker, or if you have certain preexisting health conditions. Speak to your health care provider to choose the birth control method that is best for you.

Why Should I Pick the Vaginal Ring?

The vaginal ring only needs to be inserted once a month and is a great option for women who do not want to ingest hormonal pills every day or change out patches every week. It's convenient and 91% effective when used typically and 99% effective when used perfectly.

In comparison to other birth control methods, the vaginal ring is the preferred option for those who don't want to commit a lot of effort into maintaining their birth control. Once it is applied, it can be left alone for a 3-4 weeks. It does not to be removed for sexual activity or other physical activity.

What Next?

If you think that the vaginal ring might be the right option for you, then you it's time to speak to a trained medical professional.

If you would like a quick, convenient, and online consultation with one of our trained medical professionals, you can sign up through this form.

Our clinicians will review your medical history and read your questions and concerns before helping you make the birth control decision that is right for you. To learn more about our services, you can read our FAQ here.

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