Vaginal Contraceptive Ring
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What Is A Vaginal Contraceptive Ring?


A vaginal ring is a hormonal contraceptive (birth control) device for women. It’s a flexible, latex-free plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina. A vaginal ring comprises the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are released over a period of 3 weeks. A vaginal ring is worn for 3 weeks and then removed — paving way for menstruation to occur. A new ring is then inserted after a week.

Types of a vaginal ring

  • Combined hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring: The combined hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring is also known as NuvaRing. It is a flexible plastic (ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer) ring, which releases a low dose of progestin and oestrogen over 3 weeks.
  • Progesterone only vaginal ring: A progesterone vaginal contraceptive ring has also been developed. It is precisely made for use during breastfeeding as it does not affect milk production.

How vaginal ring works?

A vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by steadily releasing hormones oestrogen and progesterone into the body, which suppresses ovulation — thereby keeping the ovaries from releasing an egg.

The hormones contained in a vaginal ring might also:

Vaginal ring use 

A vaginal ring use is very simple. To insert it:

  • Wash the hands with soap and water.
  • Remove the ring from the foil packet and save the packet.
  • Squeeze the sides of the ring together to make it narrow and insert the ring into the vagina.

Removal of a vaginal ring

To remove a vaginal ring:

  • Hook the index finger under the edge of the ring or grasp the ring between the index finger and middle finger, and pull it out gently.
  • Place the used ring back into the original foil packet and discard. Don’t flush.
  • Wait for one week before inserting a new ring. 

Advantages of a vaginal ring.

Some of the benefits of a vaginal ring include:

  • Ease of use.
  • Safety.
  • Effectiveness.
  • Doesn’t interrupt sex.
  • Likely to ease menstrual cramps and acne.
  • It has some bone-strengthening effects.
  • There are fewer side effects than oral contraceptives.
  • Periods will likely be shorter and lighter.


How effective is the vaginal ring used? 

A vaginal ring use prevents pregnancy at a rate of 96%-99% when used correctly.

Does a vaginal contraceptive ring have side effects?

There are a couple of side effects to vaginal ring use:

  • Headache.
  • Weight gain.
  • Nausea.
  • Breast tenderness.
  • Vaginal irritation.

Is a vaginal contraceptive ring for everyone? 

Vaginal ring use is not suitable for everyone. A vaginal contraceptive ring should be avoided by the following set of persons:

  • Those with a history of blood clots, heart attack or stroke.
  • Women suffering from breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancers.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Above 35 years and smoke cigarettes.
  • With hepatitis or liver problems.
  • Have uncontrolled high blood pressure.
  • Have diabetes with complications related to blood vessels.
  • Have migraines with aura.
  • Are experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding.

What are the risks of using a vaginal contraceptive ring? 

A vaginal ring use comes with certain complications, for instance:

  • Blood clots.
  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Toxic shock syndrome.
  • Vaginal infection.
  • Increased vaginal discharge.
  • Depression.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhoea.

Why is a vaginal contraceptive ring needed?

A vaginal contraceptive ring helps to prevent pregnancy.

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