The Vaginal Ring
An Informative Contraceptive Guide for Secondary Students
What is the Vaginal Ring?
The vaginal ring is small, flexible ring that can be inserted in the vagina once a month to prevent pregnancy. It was approved by the FDA in 2001.
This contraceptive works similar to a birth control pill, as it continuously releases the same low dose of hormones as the pill. These two hormones are estrogen and progestin and they prevent pregnancy in two main ways: they keep the eggs from leaving the ovaries and they also make the cervical mucus thicker in order to prevent the sperm from meeting the egg.
How does it work?
The ring is used in a 4-week cycle. It should be kept it in your vagina for 3 weeks (21 days) and then it should be removed for a 1 week (7 day) break. You will most likely get your period when you remove it during this week.
Using the Vaginal Ring
To use the ring, you need to start of by squeezing the ring between your thumb and index finger. Then, gently push it into your vagina with your index finger until it feels comfortable. When you first begin using the ring, use back-up birth control (like a condom) for the first seven days after you insert the vaginal ring.
If the ring happens to fall out and you are not able to put it back within three hours, replace it and also use another birth control method as well (such as condoms) until the ring has been in place for seven days in a row.
The ring should be removed and inserted on the same day and at the same time of the week.
How effective is the ring?
When used correctly, the vaginal ring has been shown to be 98% effective.
Less than 1 out 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always use vaginal ring as directed.
About 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant if they don’t always use the vaginal ring as directed.
Some medicines and supplements also make the vaginal ring less effective. These include:
- - The antibiotic rifampin (other antibiotics do not make the ring less effective)
- - The antifungal griseofulvin
- - Certain HIV medicines
- - Certain anti-seizure medicine
- - St.John’s wort
Advantages of the Ring
The ring is simple and convenient to use and it has many advantages:
1. You do not need to think about birth control prevention before having sex.
2. The ring is simple and convenient to use, allowing privacy. Most users and their partners do not feel the ring during sex.
3. Women will have shorter and lighter periods while they are using the ring.
It is important to note that the The Vaginal Ring does not protect any HIV infection (AIDS) or any other sexually transmitted infections.
Disadvantages of the Ring
1. Does not protect against STIs, including HIV
2. Some women may experience short-term side effects and long-term side effects. Short term effects include bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, nausea, and vomiting. On the other hand, the more long-lasting side effects are that the ring may cause increased vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation, blood clots, or infection.
3. The hormones in the vaginal ring may change a woman by causing less sexual desire.
How can you get a Vaginal Ring?
You need a prescription to get the vaginal ring. Make sure that you discuss your medical history with your health care provider to ensure that the ring is right for you. It can be purchased at pharmacies and is available at family planning centers. It is sold under the brand name NuvaRing and costs up to a maximum of $80/month.
Important Safety Information
Have more questions or concerns?
For more information, please visit the NuvaRing website or watch the video below!
List of Sources