The vaginal ring is a thin, colorless, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks and is then removed for one week while the woman has her period. Low doses of estrogen and progestin are continuously released from the ring, which is replaced monthly. Like birth control pills, the vaginal ring is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, though its effectiveness decreases if used improperly.
Advantages of the ring include:
Only needs to be changed once a month
Is easy to insert and remove
Does not require a visit to the doctor for insertion or removal
Does not interrupt sexual activity
May have less spotting or irregular bleeding compared with birth control pills
Certain drugs, such as antibiotics, antiseizure drugs,
(TB) medicines, and migraine medicines can affect the effectiveness of the vaginal ring. The herb St. John's Wort can also interfere with effectiveness of this ring. Talk to your doctor about all of the medicines and supplements you are taking.
If any of the following symptoms occur while you are wearing the vaginal ring, contact your doctor immediately:
Severe abdominal pain or headaches
Chest pain or shortness of breath
Severe leg or arm pain or numbness
Do not use the vaginal ring if you might be pregnant or are breastfeeding. It is also not recommended for women with the following health concerns:
Storing the ring—The ring should be stored at room temperature (no more than 77°F) and away from direct sunlight.
Taking the ring out—If the ring slips out of the vagina, simply wash it off with cold to lukewarm water (not hot) and reinsert it. The ring can be taken out during sex as long as it is not out for more than three hours. In which case, a back up method of birth control should be used for seven days.
Pricing—The ring costs about $30 to $40 at the pharmacy.
Switching from other forms of birth control—You can switch directly to a vaginal ring from other hormonal methods of birth control. Talk to your doctor for details.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a