family planning

Vaginal ring - Birth Control Method to Avoid Unwanted Pregnancy

  • 4.7 (8 Votes)
  • 13202 views

Vaginal ring is one of the birth control methods which has proven success rate in avoiding unwanted pregnancy. The effectiveness of vaginal ring is worth appreciating. Benefits of vaginal ring includes prevention of endometrial cancer, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

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. 

birth control methods, birth control

The hormones in the ring work by:

  • Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with the sperm.
  • 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.

  • Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always use the ring as directed.
  • 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. 

contraception, birth control

These health benefits may include some protection against: 

  • Bone thinning
  • Bad menstrual cramps
  • Breast growths that are not cancer
  • Cysts in the breasts and ovaries
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometrial and ovarian cancers
  • Heavy and/or irregular periods
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, which often leads to infertility when left untreated
  • Premenstrual symptoms, including headaches and depression
  • 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:

  • Store your unused rings at room temperature and out of direct sunlight
  • Check the expiration date of each ring package before insertion
  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Use your fingers to press the sides of the ring together.
  • Gently push the ring into your vagina
  • The exact position of the ring doesn’t matter
  • There’s no need to remove the ring during vaginal intercourse
  • Remove it in three weeks on the same day of the week that it was inserted
  • Hook your finger under the forward rim and gently pull it out of the vagina
  • Wrap it up in the original foil wrapper, and throw it out in the trash- do not flush. Used rings still contain some hormones
  • 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?

birth control, contraception

Some women may have undesirable side effects while using the ring. But many women adjust to it with few or no problems.

  • It may increase vaginal discharge
  • It doesn’t protect against STDs
  • A new lump in your breast
  • A sudden very bad headache
  • Achy soreness in the leg  
  • A bad headache 
  • Bad pain in your abdomen or chest 

To know about home remedies and natural ways to avoid pregnancy please read our article on Avoid Pregnancy Naturally. In case you are avoiding pregnancy for 3 to 5 year then maybe you can explore the use of Copper T as a better mechanism.

Dr. Srilatha Gorthi

About The Author

Laparoscopic Surgeon, Gynecologic Surgeon Dr. Srilatha Gorthi
Hyderabad

Dr. Srilatha Gorthi is an infertility specialist and laparoscopy surgeon located in Hyderabad. Her area of expertise lies in the field of Gynae diseases and conditions, and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). She provides a number of services that comprise of In vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), ICSI, TESA, MESA, Gynae Hysteroscopy, Laparoscopy, treatment of Ovarian Cysts, Endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroids, Polyps and so on. Dr. Srilatha Gorthi practices at The Birthplace Hospital, Revive Multi Specialty Clinics and Fertility Centre, and The Birthplace Clinic and has a rich experience of more than 18 years. Dr. Gorthi has won 9 Gold Medals in MBBS.She is a reputed member of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), European society of Gynaecological Endoscopy and British Medical Association, UK, and British Fertility Society. You can get her information at www.elawoman.com

8 Comments

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Ruchi Gale

I have heavy cramps after using a vaginal ring, Please suggest some risk-free painkillers.

Oct. 11, 2018, 10:45 a.m. 4.5

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Ankita Ghosh

Thanks for sharing knowledge! Really helpful.

Aug. 31, 2018, 7:16 p.m. 5.0

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Hansita Rana

I am using vaginal rings for 2 years and it works great. Where my sister doesn't use it as directed, and she got pregnant too easily. Be sure about them before using it.

June 11, 2018, 9:04 a.m. 4.5

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Dolly

It's good to have birth control patches than vaginal rings. Both of them don't avoid the chances of having STDs. And patches are cheaper and easy going than vaginal rings. And I prefer using them.

Jan. 1, 2018, midnight 4.5

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Bandana Jha

A new lump generated in breast posses the chances of having breast cancer. Avoid vaginal rings if you observe any of this side effects.

Dec. 9, 2017, 10:55 a.m. 4.5

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Ericka Grigsby

I took contraception after my marriage. I usually feel nauseous every time. I think its not working for me.

Aug. 27, 2017, 11:51 a.m. 4.5

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Amar Singh

Depo provera is also one of the birth control methods and it is widely used by women these days. It's an injection which needs to be taken once in a month. It is given in leg muscles or buttocks.

Aug. 27, 2017, 11:48 a.m. 5.0

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Dana Moultrie

It may take some time to get back to normal periods after stopping oral contraceptive pills. One should not panic and stay calm.

Aug. 27, 2017, 11:33 a.m. 5.0

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