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The vaginal ring is a method of hormonal birth control. It is also known by its brand name, NuvaRing. The FDA approved the vaginal ring for use in 2001.NuvaRing is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy. It is made out of plastic and contains the synthetic hormones estrogen and progestin. The ring is about two inches in diameter. It is left in for three weeks at a time.
The vaginal ring is one of the highly effective methods with approximately nine in one hundred women becoming pregnant in one year’s typical use.
The vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by continuously releasing hormones which are absorbed into the bloodstream. These hormones—estrogen and progestin—prevent ovulation. With no egg release pregnancy cannot occur. Estrogen and progestin also thicken the cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from passing through.
The vaginal ring works in the same way as monophasic birth control pills.. These are combined hormonal contraceptives where the same dose is taken throughout your cycle.
You need a prescription to use the vaginal ring. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the best birth control option for you. You should plan to start using the vaginal ring as soon as you obtain it, if you do not believe that you are pregnant. Use a back-up method until the ring has been in place for seven days.
The ring is very simple to use.
It is important that you remove or insert the ring on the same day of the week. For example, if you insert a new ring on Monday, you should remove it on that same day of the week three weeks later.
If the ring falls out, rinse it off and put it back in. If the ring is out of your vagina for longer than three hours, use backup contraception. The ring may fall out when you:
When used properly, the vaginal ring is very effective. According to Planned Parenthood, less than one out of 100 women who use the ring properly will get pregnant. The failure rate is nine percent for women who do not consistently use the ring as directed.
In addition to incorrect use, certain drugs can reduce the efficacy of the ring. These include:
If you use any of these drugs, or misuse the ring, it is a good idea to use a backup form of contraception.
The vaginal ring offers many of the same benefits as birth control pills. Benefits include:
Some women use the ring and other hormonal contraceptives to control when they get their period. They can shift their periods when they remove the ring. Some women use the ring continuously to avoid having periods at all.
Overall, the vaginal ring is very safe and effective. Its primary disadvantage is that it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
The ring can also cause side effects in some women. The most common complaints are:
Most side effects usually go away in a few cycles.
If you stop using the ring, your periods should return to normal within a few months.
All hormonal birth control carries a slightly increased risk of blood clotting, although the risk doesn’t differ between pill, patches, or ring. This can lead to:
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors. Smokers over the age of 25 and other high risk women should not use estrogen-containing contraceptives.
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Published on: Jul 29, 2014on: Dec 20, 2016
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