Inserting The Vaginal Ring
The Vaginal Ring sits quite high up in your vagina, but it doesn’t need to be inserted by a doctor. You insert the ring yourself by folding it and sliding it into your vagina, sliding it up into place until it feels comfortable. Always do this with clean hands. It may take a little bit to adjust to this method, but it is relatively easy to learn. Once in place, the Vaginal Ring simply needs to be left for 21 days. After this time, you remove the ring by hooking your index finger under the rim, or holding the rim between two fingers, and gently pulling it out.
Remember, the ring should only be taken out after 21 days of use. If you take it out, or it falls out, before this time is up, you need to insert it as soon as possible. If it has been outside of the vagina for more than 24 hours, it might not be effective anymore.
What’s Good About The Vaginal Ring?
There are a number of clear advantages to using the Vaginal Ring as a contraception, including:
- Not having to worry about vomiting or diarrhoea impacting the hormones as they are not digested
- Being less likely to experience bleeding between periods compared to the pill
- Not having to remember to take an oral contraceptive every day, or use a condom during sex for pregnancy protection (a condom is still a good idea to prevent against STIs and STDs).
What’s Not So Good About It?
Of course, no contraceptive is without its own issues, and the Vaginal Ring does have some concerns and side effects that potential users should be aware of. These include:
- Possible side effects like nausea, breast tenderness and soreness, headaches and bleeding
- Potentially serious complications like blood clots, heart attacks and strokes, which are rare and occur at around the same rate as for women taking the pill.
The Vaginal Ring is also not suitable for all users. You should talk to your health provider about your suitability to use the Vaginal Ring. If you are breastfeeding, aged over 35 years, smoke, take certain medications and natural remedies including St John’s wort, have ever had deep vein thrombosis, a heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, liver disorder, certain kinds of migraines or unexplained vaginal bleeding.
How Effective Is It?
The Vaginal Ring is quite effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly. In fact, when used exactly as directed it is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy.
The ring will not prevent pregnancy if you are more than 24 hours late in putting in a new ring after your seven-day break, or your ring has fallen out and you do not replace it within 24 hours.
Remember, the Vaginal Ring does not protect against STIs. If you need to protect yourself against these infections, the barrier method is the only way to do so.