The contraceptive vaginal ring is a flexible, transparent and plastic ring. It is placed in the vagina where it releases two hormones – estrogen and progestogen. It is left in place for three weeks and taken out for the remaining week each month, hence prevents you from getting pregnant. The vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by continuously releasing synthetic estrogen and progestin. These hormones are absorbed into your bloodstream. They prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs to be fertilized and reduce the chances of getting pregnant. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
How does the vaginal ring works?
Like other methods of birth control, ring releases hormones. The hormones in the ring are the same hormones as in the birth control pills that reduce the chance of getting pregnant.
The hormones in the ring work by:
1- Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with the sperm.
2- Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.
What is the effectiveness of vaginal ring?
Effectiveness is an important and common concern when choosing a birth control or contraception method. The vaginal ring is very effective. It works best and keeps it in place for three weeks, takes it out for one week, and then inserts a new ring to reduce the chances of getting pregnant.
1- Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always use the ring as directed.
2- About 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don’t always use the ring as directed.
What are the advantages of the vaginal ring?
Using the vaginal ring is safe, simple, and convenient. There is nothing to do right before having sex as it simply prevents you from getting pregnant.
These health benefits may include some protection against:
1- Bone thinning
2- Bad menstrual cramps
3- Breast growths that are not cancer
4- Cysts in the breasts and ovaries
5- Ectopic pregnancy
6- Endometrial and ovarian cancers
7- Heavy and/or irregular periods
8- Iron deficiency anemia
9- Pelvic inflammatory disease, which often leads to infertility when left untreated
10- Premenstrual symptoms, including headaches and depression
11- Serious infection in the ovaries, tubes, and uterus
How to use the vaginal ring?
Most women find that ring is very easy to use. Insert one new ring into your vagina and keep it in place for three weeks in a row. Then remove it for one week — three weeks in, one week out. Insert a new ring after one week.
Here are some more specific details about using the ring:
1- Store your unused rings at room temperature and out of direct sunlight
2- Check the expiration date of each ring package before insertion
3- Wash your hands with soap and water
4- Use your fingers to press the sides of the ring together.
5- Gently push the ring into your vagina
6- The exact position of the ring doesn’t matter
7- There’s no need to remove the ring during vaginal intercourse
8- Remove it in three weeks on the same day of the week that it was inserted
9- Hook your finger under the forward rim and gently pull it out of the vagina
10- Wrap it up in the original foil wrapper, and throw it out in the trash- do not flush. Used rings still contain some hormones
11- After one week without the ring, insert a new one- on the same day of the week that the previous one was inserted in your last cycle
What are the disadvantages of the vaginal ring?
Some women may have undesirable side effects while using the ring. But many women adjust to it with few or no problems.
1- It may increase vaginal discharge
2- It doesn’t protect against STDs
3- A new lump in your breast
4- A sudden very bad headache
5- Achy soreness in the leg
6- Bad headache
7- bad pain in your abdomen or chest
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