Vaginal Ring

What is the vaginal ring? 

The ring or vaginal ring or birth control ring is a small, flexible ring that a woman inserts into her vagina.

The ring releases hormones so you don’t get pregnant. It prevents pregnancy for 1 month.

How does it work? 

The vaginal ring releases hormones so you don't get pregnant. 

The ring works in the following ways:

  • It blocks ovulation. This is the release of an egg from the ovaries. Without an egg there is no pregnancy
  • It thickens the cervical mucus. This makes it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and the fallopian tubes.
  • It thins the lining of the uterus. This makes it harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterine walls.


How is it used?

The ring is inserted into the vagina, like a tampon, within 5 days of starting your period. 

It is left in place for three weeks

At the end of the third week, the ring is removed.

Within a few days, the period should begin.

At the end of the fourth week, a new ring is inserted, regardless of whether or not the menstrual bleeding ended. 

How effective is it? 

If the ring is used perfectly, it is very effective in preventing pregnancy. 

Remember 2 things:

  1. Insert a new ring every three weeks, always on the same day of the week.
  2. If the ring is inserted later than scheduled, the risk of pregnancy increases. 

In these situations, it’s important to follow the instructions provided with the ring. Also use additional contraception such as a condom for up to a week.

Is the ring safe?

Many women use the ring without any problem. But that isn’t true for everybody. Like every medication, the ring carries some risk, and certain conditions might increase the probability of side effects.

It is therefore important to report every condition you have to your doctor. Let him or her evaluate whether the ring is the right contraceptive for you. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the vaginal ring?



The ring is very effective against pregnancy 

The ring puts contraception fully in the hands of the woman.

Generally, neither partner can feel the ring

The ring can help heavy menstrual flow less intense 

The ring might reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

You might forget to insert a new ring

The ring can cause temporary side effects such as nausea, headaches and increased appetite 

The hormone estrogen released by the ring can cause cramps, irregular periods





Where can I get it? 

You can get the vaginal ring in some private or public health clinics. Find a clinic near you in the clinic finder here (Link)

Does it offer STI protection?


The vaginal ring doesn’t offer any protection against STIs. 

 If you have sex and want protection against STIs, always use a condom. 

Also test for STIs at the beginning of the relationship. 

Avoid changing partners frequently.

Did you learn something?

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