What is the vaginal contraceptive ring?

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The contraceptive vaginal ring is one of the newest contraceptive methods, it has been on the market since 2002, and it is increasingly used by women. It is a ring made of a very flexible plastic approximately 5.4 cm in diameter and about 4 mm thick and its use is open to women of all ages.

It is very easy to insert the ring into the vagina where it remains for 3 weeks. The hormone levels contained in the monthly ring are very low but sufficient to prevent ovulation from the first day of use, as long as the woman starts on the correct day of her menstrual cycle. These hormones are similar to those used in oral contraceptive pills. The vaginal ring is very comfortable and does not prevent the woman from doing any physical activity, including sex.

More and more women choose to use the contraceptive ring instead of other traditional methods such as the pill. Thus, among women who choose hormonal contraceptive treatments, 46% choose the vaginal ring over the daily pill (39%) or the weekly patch (15%), according to a study carried out by the Contraception Study Circle in Spain.

How does the vaginal contraceptive ring work?

The ring is only available in some countries by prescription from your doctor. Once you get your prescription, you can easily insert the ring yourself. The contraceptive ring is designed to protect you from getting pregnant for four weeks. The ring remains in the vagina for three weeks and is then removed for a period of one week to give rise to the period of cyclical bleeding. A new ring must be inserted every month.

How to put the vaginal contraceptive ring?

  • The exact position of the ring in the vagina is not crucial, as long as you feel comfortable it will be in the correct position and will produce the hormones necessary for contraception. To ensure that you are adequately protected, the ring should never be out of the vagina for more than three hours during the three-week period.
  • After insertion, the contraceptive ring remains in place for three consecutive weeks, after which it must be removed and rest for a week, in which the rule will appear; after seven days without a contraceptive, a new one should be inserted.
  • Removing it is even easier, since it is enough to curve the index finger over the edge of the ring and gently pull out. Although it is not common for it to happen, in case it is expelled spontaneously (for example, during sexual intercourse) it should be rinsed only with cold or lukewarm water and reinserted within three hours, to ensure that the woman continues protected.

The pros and cons of the vaginal contraceptive ring

  1. The specific advantages of the vaginal contraceptive ring over other methods are:
  2. You don’t have to continually think about your birth control from day to day.
  3. It’s easy to use.
  4. Contains very low dose of hormones.
  5. It is placed once a month
  6. Attention: The vaginal ring is 98% to 99% effective as a method of birth control. However, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and infections in the female reproductive system.

Does the vaginal contraceptive ring cause side effects?

Occasionally, during the use of the ring, side effects may occur that also occur during the use of the pill. As with other contraceptives, the hormones contained in the ring can also increase the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke, especially in women who smoke.

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