Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring is a flexible ring made of soft plastic to be placed inside the vagina. It is made to release hormones like progesterone and estrogen in the blood in an appropriate dose in order to prevent pregnancy. 

Important Facts about Vaginal Ring

  • 1. The vaginal ring has more than 99% effectivity if used correctly. 
  • 2. Sex activities can be continued while using the vaginal ring
  • 3. No worries for the entire month 
  • 4. Still works if you are sick

Working of Vaginal Ring:

The vaginal ring is made in such a way that it steadily releases the required amount of hormones called estrogen and progesterone in the blood vessels that help in preventing the release of an egg every month. 

The hormones released from the vaginal ring also cause the thickening of cervical mucus to create difficulty for sperm to travel through the cervix. There is another strategy wherein the womb lining becomes so thick that it becomes unsuitable for the implantation of the fertilized egg. 

Guide to Using a Vaginal Ring

A vaginal ring can be used at any time of the menstrual cycle if a woman is not pregnant. 

There is a standard method of using the vaginal ring wherein it has to be kept inside the vagina for 21 days, and then there is a ring-free 7-day period in which it has to be removed. In a ring-free 7-day period, the woman has no chance of getting pregnant. Following the ring-free 7-day period, the new vaginal ring should be placed for another 21 days.

Note: A woman can also choose to have no ring-free period that will also be as safe as the standard procedure of using the vaginal ring.

It is advised to get proper doctor consultation to choose the best time for using the vaginal ring for contraception. They will provide you with instructions on how to use the vaginal ring. 

Steps to insert the Vaginal Ring:

  • 1. Wash and clean your hands before touching the ring
  • 2. Gently squeeze the vaginal ring using your thumb and a finger 
  • 3. Start inserting the tip of the ring inside the vagina and push it until it gets fits comfortably 

Steps to remove the vaginal ring:

  • 1. Wash your hands thoroughly 
  • 2. Put clean fingers inside the vagina to get hold of the edge of the vaginal ring.
  • 3. Slowly take out the vaginal ring and throw it in the bag provided.

Note: Do not flush the vaginal ring in the toilet 

Vaginal Ring Pros and Cons

Pros of a vaginal ring 

Cons of a vaginal ring

Easy for the user

Some women might not be comfortable with its use

Help in case of sickness as well

There may be slight blood spots

Sexual activity is not disrupted

There is no protection against STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)

Pre-menstrual symptoms are eased

Certain medicine might decrease their effectivity

Side Effects of a Vaginal Ring 

Some women can face temporary side effects like 

  • 1. Vaginal discharge 
  • 2. Headaches
  • 3. Nausea
  • 4. Mood swings
  • 5. Depression
  • 6. Vaginal irritation
  • 7. Irregular bleeding
  • 8. Breast tenderness

Vaginal Ring Cost

The cost of a vaginal ring ranges between ₹500- ₹2000. There may be different rates at clinics and hospitals meant for health and family planning. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the vaginal ring work?

The vaginal ring works by slowly releasing the hormones like progesterone and estrogens in adequate amounts. The hormones in the bloodstream prevent the release of the ovum (or egg). Also, the hormones help in thickening the cervical mucus, which makes the movement of sperm difficult through the cervix. 

Furthermore, the lining of the womb (or uterus becomes thin and unsuitable for the implantation of a fertilized egg.

What to do if you forget to take out the ring after 21 days?

Do not worry if you forget to take out the vaginal ring after 21 days. It is advised to take out the ring and put in a new one or go for the 7-day ring-free period. Women may or may not need additional contraception like condoms. 

What should I do if my vaginal ring comes out by itself?

There is always a possibility that the vaginal ring may come out of its place. This can happen if it is not placed properly or during sex. Some of the steps that can be taken in this condition can be:

  • 1. Rinse the vaginal ring with lukewarm warm and place it properly 
  • 2. Another fresh vaginal ring can also be inserted as soon as possible
  • 3. There would be no need for additional contraception if the ring were in place properly for the previous 7 days.

Who can use the vaginal ring, and who cannot?

Generally, women who are not pregnant can use the vaginal ring with advice from their gynaecologists. 

For some women, a vaginal ring won’t be suitable if 

  • 1. They are older than 35 years
  • 2. They are chain smokers
  • 3. They have a blood clot in any blood vessel
  • 4. They have cardiac problems like high blood pressure
  • 5. They have migraine
  • 6. They have breast cancer 
  • 7. They have complicated diabetes
  • 8. They are obese or overweight

Is the vaginal ring a good birth control?

The vaginal ring is highly effective and is considered a good method of birth control. It has a lot of advantages, like flexibility and affordability, that make it a much better contraceptive method. 

How long is the vaginal ring left in place?

According to the standard procedure, a vaginal ring is used almost for 21 days, followed by a 7-day ring-free period. After the 7-day period, a new vagina ring is placed for another 21 days. 

Can you get pregnant on the vaginal ring?

The vaginal ring is 99% effective if it is used perfectly with the instructions provided by the doctors. There are numerous cases in which women are unable to use the vgainal rings perfectly, thereby decreasing their effectivity, and therefore, it is estimated that 7 out of 100 women get pregnant each year. 

What are the side effects of vaginal ring birth control?

There are a few side effects of using a vaginal ring:

  • 1. Formation of Blood clots

There are rare chances that some women may develop blood clots in veins or arteries. It is advised that if a woman previously has blood clots in the blood vessels must not use the vaginal rings.

  • 2. Cancer

According to the research, women who use vaginal rings are at greater risk of developing cervical cancer or breast cancer. But the risk reduces as the women stop using the vaginal ring. The reason behind such a finding is the extra levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body.

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