The contraception ring looks simple and functional, but there’s more to it than that. It's made from a soft, flexible plastic and, once inserted, it slowly releases a progestin and estrogen into the body. The hormones stop the ovaries from releasing eggs, and thicken the cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to move. You wear it for 3 weeks then you remove it, take a week off, and then put a new ring in.
The ring sits up against your vaginal wall, so putting it in is just the same as inserting a tampon. After washing your hands you simply squeeze it and push it inside your vagina until it's sitting against the side of your vaginal wall. Once it is comfortably in position, that's it for 3 weeks. At the end of 3 weeks you take it out and have a week off – in this week your period should start. Then after a week of not wearing the ring, you simply start the routine again.
You should use another form of contraception if the ring falls out and stays out for more than 3 hours before you reinsert it. If the ring falls out and is out for less than 3 hours, simply reinsert it and continue as normal. Once the ring has been in place for 7 consecutive days, it is effective again. If you're unsure about how to properly use the ring, consult your doctor or nurse.
How it measures up
EFFICACY WITH PERFECT USE
The ring is self-administered with a prescription, and if used perfectly and on a perfect routine, it is a very effective method of contraception.View ’Typical’ Use Efficacy Rate
EFFICACY WITH TYPICAL USE
The ring is self-administered with a prescription, and it requires proper placement and routine tracking to work most effectively. We're all human and we all make mistakes, but even with typical use the ring is very effective.View ’Perfect’ Use Efficacy Rate
Yes. The ring releases a low dose of progestin and estrogen.
Ease of Use
The ring needs to be left in placed in the vagina for 3 weeks. It is removed during the fourth week, before being replaced at the start of another 4-week cycle.
The ring may cause temporary irregular bleeding, and some contraceptive rings can stop menstruation altogether.
The ring can slip or accidentally come out of the vagina during sexual intercourse, when removing a tampon, or during bowel movements. If the ring falls out, it should be rinsed with water and replaced as soon as possible. If it has been out of the vagina for fewer than three hours, you should still be protected against pregnancy. If it has been out for more than three hours, another method of contraception such as condoms, should be used for the next seven days. The ring must stay in for at least seven days after being out for longer than three hours; this may mean that you wear it for more than 21 days in total that month. Following this, a ring-free one-week interval can occur before the next ring is placed. Please read the Patient Information Leaflet for further information.
If you leave the ring in your vagina for up to four weeks, you will be protected from pregnancy. Remove the ring immediately, and replace it with a new ring after seven days. If you leave the ring in your vagina for longer than four weeks, remove it immediately and use a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant. Then, replace it with a new ring and use another method of contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days. In this case you may experience irregular menstrual bleeding. If you are still worried, speak with your doctor or nurse immediately.
During sexual intercourse, your partner may feel the ring in the vagina.
No. Once placed in the vagina, there is no risk of the ring being pushed too far up or getting lost. However, if you experience pain during or after placing the ring, or if you cannot find it in your vagina, consult your doctor or nurse immediately.
Using tampons will not reduce the contraceptive efficacy of the ring. Position the ring before you place a tampon, and pay particular attention when removing a tampon to make sure you don't accidentally pull the ring out. If this should occur, simply rinse the ring with water and immediately re-position it.
Yes, they’re the same. There are different versions, but they all release hormones into your body that prevent pregnancy.
Use of contraceptive rings can cause weight gain in some women. The amount of weight gained varies by individual.
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Doctors and scientists have been researching this method.
The amount of time the ring is worn during one cycle.
Chance of pregnancy when used perfectly.
- It can stay in place for up to three weeks.
- It requires careful tracking of the number of weeks it has been used.
- Some women experience vaginal discharge, discomfort, headaches, mood swings, weight gain and disrupted periods.
- It does not protect against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
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Seek out an appointment with your doctor or nurse for further support that meets your needs.