Renaissance Women's Group – Austin OBGYN

The Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring is a very effective vaginal hormonal contraceptive

The vaginal ring is a flexible, thin plastic ring that you insert into your vagina. This method is very effective; about 1 in 100 women get pregnant each year if they are using the vaginal ring perfectly every time, and about 9 in 100 get pregnant with average use.

How does the vaginal ring work?

Like all hormonal methods, the vaginal ring works by releasing hormones into the body—in this case, both estrogen and progesterone. These hormones suppress ovulation, which is when the ovaries release eggs. The hormones also cause cervical mucus to get thicker, preventing sperm from entering the uterus.

Is it difficult to use?

Our Austin obgyns will thoroughly explain how to use the vaginal ring. To insert, you simply squeeze the device between your index finger and thumb and place it in your vagina where it will remain for 21 days. During the seven days that you have the ring removed, you will menstruate, and then you insert a new vaginal ring. You may choose not to have a period and wear the device continuously, simply inserting a new ring every 21 days.

What are the benefits to this hormonal contraceptive?

Many women find the vaginal ring comfortable and easy to use and insert. They also appreciate the fact that it is easy to remove without any effects on their fertility if they want to start a family. There are other benefits, too.

  • No specialized fitting necessary
  • No need to remember to take a pill each day
  • Allows for spontaneous sexual intercourse with no interruptions for insertion
  • Less risk for irregular bleeding than occurs with oral combined hormonal contraceptives
  • May have less risk for side effects than other hormonal methods that deliver larger doses of hormones to the body

What are the possible side effects?

Most women tolerate the vaginal ring very well, but some do experience side effects, including: bleeding or spotting between periods; vaginal irritation and/or infection; an increase in vaginal secretions; headache; nausea; breast tenderness; and a slightly increased risk for blood clots in the legs.

Important do’s and don’ts

  • Don’t rely on the vaginal ring for protection against sexually transmitted infections—it does not offer any.
  • Don’t use a diaphragm in addition to the ring.
  • Do insert a new vaginal ring if your ring breaks.
  • Do reinsert the ring if it is dislodged, but not broken.

Our Austin, Bastrop and Cedar Park obgyns can help you find a contraceptive to suit your needs

If you are interested in the vaginal ring or another method of contraception, contact us.