What Is a Vaginal Ring?
How Does the Vaginal Ring Work?
Cyclic use. Insert it and leave it in place it for 3 weeks, then remove it for 1 week, during which you have a period. If you use NuvaRing, you’ll put a new ring in at the end of week 4. If you use Annovera, you’ll use the same device for a year. Remove, wash, and store it during your period.
Continuous use. Leave the ring in for 4 weeks, then put a new one in. This is what’s called an off-label use. Your doctor might suggest it if you want fewer days of bleeding and maximum protection.
How to Use a Vaginal Ring
It’s similar to using a tampon. Follow these steps:
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Lie down with your knees bent, squat, or stand with one leg on a chair.
- Open the foil and remove the ring. If you use disposable rings, you can save the foil to throw the ring away in later.
- Hold the ring between your thumb and index finger.
- Pinch the sides together so they touch in the center.
- Insert the ring as far into your vagina as it will go.
- NuvaRing makes a tampon-like applicator you can order to make inserting it easier. Or you can put the ring in an empty tampon applicator.
How Effective Is a Vaginal Ring?
The vaginal ring prevents pregnancy 96%-99% of the time when you use it correctly. That means only 1 to 4 women out of 100 who use it would accidentally get pregnant.
Side Effects of the Vaginal Ring
The most common ones are:
Who Shouldn’t Use the Vaginal Ring?
This product isn’t a good option if you:
- Have a history of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke
- Have breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancers
- Are pregnant or think you might be
- Are older than 35 and smoke cigarettes
- Have hepatitis or liver problems
- Have high blood pressure that isn’t controlled
Women who have migraines should talk with their doctor.
Vaginal Ring Risks
You might be more likely to get:
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Toxic shock syndrome
Vaginal Rink Advantages
The ring gets high marks for:
- Ease of use
- Not having to interrupt sex to put it in
- Privacy -- it’s your choice to tell your partner
- Potential to ease menstrual cramps and acne
- Bone-strengthening effects