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Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring is a hormonal contraception method. It’s a flexible, transparent plastic ring that you insert deep into your vagina. It releases low doses of hormones similar to those contained in the birth control pill, preventing ovulation.

You need to wear the ring for 21 days, then take it out for 7 days to have your period. Then you put a new ring in. The vaginal ring can be prescribed by a specialized nurse for a 6-month period or by your doctor.

How do I use the vaginal ring?

To use a vaginal ring, you have to insert it into your vagina with your fingers. After washing your hands, find a comfortable position. Fold the ring in two, hold it between your fingers, and slide it into your vagina. If you want, you may find it easier to do this with a tampon applicator (removing the tampon first).

The exact position of the ring inside your vagina isn’t important since the hormones it releases are what have the contraceptive effect. If you feel some discomfort after inserting it, try to push it up farther. You don’t have to worry that you might push it too far or lose it, since your vagina is a closed space without another exit.

👍 Advantages

  • The vaginal ring is 98% or 99% effective if you use it the right way.
  • Its effect is reversible, meaning that you’ll soon become fertile again when you stop using it.
  • Sex is possible at any time, or almost.
  • The ring may make your periods more regular, lighter, and less painful.
  • You have less risk of forgetting it than the pill since it’s always there.

👎 Disadvantages

  • You might forget to insert a new ring after you’ve taken it out for 7 days. If that happens, click here to find out what to do.
  • You need to know your body well and develop a certain skill at inserting the ring into your vagina.
  • The ring doesn’t protect you against blood-borne and sexually transmissible infections (BBSTIs).
  • You need to have enough money to buy it every month, as it costs $25 a month. However, it may be covered by your provincial health insurance or private insurance.
  • The ring can have side-effects similar to those of the pill. The most frequent ones are headaches, nausea, vaginal discharge, vaginal infection, and weight gain. If symptoms appear, consult your doctor or a pharmacist.
  • For medical reasons, the vaginal ring is not recommended for women who aren’t able to take birth control pills.
  • Its effectiveness can decrease if you use it at the same time as certain medications and/or natural products. Ask your doctor, a nurse, or your pharmacist.
  • Avoid cigarettes! They don’t mix well with the ring: the combination can damage your health.

Don’t forget that you can get pregnant even when you’re menstruating. Although the risk of pregnancy is very low, it’s better to avoid having sex during the week when you’re not wearing the ring.