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Vaginal Ring: Is This Birth Control Method Right For Me?

Vaginal Ring: Is This Birth Control Method Right For Me?

One of the most important aspects of sex education is contraception. There are approximately 15 different contraceptive methods. The placement of a vaginal ring is often recommended as one of the easiest and most effective approaches among various others.

What is a vaginal ring?

A vaginal ring is a soft, thin, and transparent plastic ring that contains estrogen and progestogen – the natural human hormones that prevent fertilization by inhibiting ovulation (egg production within the woman’s body), thinning out the lining of the womb, and thickening the cervical mucus. Thus, it hinders the egg implantation and creates a barrier to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

vaginal ring

The amount of hormones included in the vaginal ring lasts for 4 weeks. In order to use the ring, women must insert it into their vaginas and let it be for 3 weeks (21 days). During this time, the ring will release hormones into a woman’s systemic circulation. The vaginal ring should be discarded afterward as women do not need to use it in the fourth week. The vaginal ring has only 1 size, but it can fit most women.

Benefits of a vaginal ring

  • High efficiency: the success rate of a vaginal ring is 99.7% when used perfectly (used according to the instructions every time) and 91% when not used correctly as per the given instructions.
  • High sexual pleasure: male partners hardly ever notice its presence during sexual intercourse
  • A good option for those who often forget to take daily doses of birth control or feel uncomfortable taking shots or using contraceptive implants, IUS or IUD.
  • Using this birth-control ring reduces the chances of getting ovarian cysts, fibroids, and non-cancerous breast disease.
  • It can lead to shorter, more regular, and lighter menstruation in many cases
  • The hormones released by the vaginal ring helps women build stronger bones and reduces acne.

Possible drawbacks

  • Expulsion (the ring comes out by itself): it may happen during sex or when you are constipated
  • Unscheduled bleeding
  • Vaginal irritation
  • Headaches, nausea, and vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes
  • Unlike condoms, the vaginal ring does not provide any protection against STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)

Who should refrain from using this birth control method?

Vaginal rings can increase certain health risks such as a heart attack, stroke, blood clots in lungs, heart or brain if it is used by women who:

  • Smoke or have smoked as a habit in the previous years
  • Are overweight
  • Have diabetes or high blood cholesterol
  • Have heart or circulatory diseases such as high blood pressure
  • Have certain inherited blood-clotting disorders
  • Have family members who have one or more of the above medical conditions
  • Are 35 years or older: But if you have none of the above, then you can still use a vaginal ring until you reach 50 years of age.

How to use a vaginal ring

Using this birth-control ring is a simple process.

  • Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Keep the packet with you once you remove the ring from that foil packet.
  • Now, insert the ring inside your vagina. Squeeze the ring for easier insertion.
  • After 21 days, remove the ring using your finger by hooking it onto the edge of the ring. Pull it out gently. Ensure that your hands are clean while you are doing this.
  • Put this used ring in its packet and throw it away.
  • Keep replacing the vaginal ring every 3 weeks but wait for a week before you insert a new one.

Though the vaginal ring is one of the most common birth control methods, you should see your doctor if you start seeing any pregnancy symptoms, sudden chills or fever, heavy or long-lasting vaginal bleeding, experience pain during sex, your skin or eyes turning pale yellow and various other troubles which seem abnormal or painful.

Choose the best birth control method that suits your body. If you think this ring is the perfect one for you, discuss it with your doctor and then take the best, next steps.

Learn more about contraception, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Jun 29
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel