The vaginal ring is a hormonal birth control (contraceptive) device for women. It's a flexible, latex-free plastic ring that's inserted into the vagina. It contains the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are released over a three-week period. You wear the vaginal ring for three weeks, and then remove it — allowing menstruation to occur — and then insert a new ring after a week.
Similar to combination birth control pills, the vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your body. The hormones suppress ovulation — keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg.
The hormones in a vaginal ring might also:
There are two vaginal ring hormonal contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration and available in the United States: NuvaRing and Annovera. To use these products, you'll need a prescription from your health care provider.
A vaginal ring is a contraceptive device that contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. A vaginal ring is a flexible, latex-free ring that's inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy.
Vaginal rings help prevent pregnancy. Among various benefits, they:
Vaginal rings aren't appropriate for everyone. Your health care provider may discourage use of vaginal rings if you:
Vaginal rings also aren't recommended if you have certain health conditions, including:
In addition, tell your health care provider if you smoke or have:
About 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant in a typical year of using a vaginal ring. The vaginal ring doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.
Vaginal rings are generally very well-tolerated, but possible side effects include:
Call your health care provider right away if you have:
Your health care provider will review your medical history and check your blood pressure. Talk to your health care provider about any medications you're taking, including nonprescription and herbal products.
Your health care provider will determine the appropriate timing for you to start using a vaginal ring based on your menstrual cycle and your previous birth control method. You may need to take a pregnancy test and use a nonhormonal backup method of contraception for one week when you start using a vaginal ring.
A backup method of contraception may not be necessary if you previously used combination birth control pills or the skin patch (Xulane), and you insert a vaginal ring on any day up to the day you would have started your new pack of pills or applied a new skin patch.
To insert a vaginal ring:
To remove a vaginal ring:
If the vaginal ring accidentally falls out, rinse the ring with cool or warm — not hot — water and reinsert it within two hours for Annovera or three hours for NuvaRing.
If the vaginal ring remains outside of your vagina for longer than two (for Annovera) or three (for NuvaRing) hours:
Or, if you used the vaginal ring continuously for at least seven days prior to expulsion, you can:
Your doctor will probably recommend that you check regularly to make sure the vaginal ring is in place, for example, before and after intercourse. If a ring breaks, discard it and use a new ring.
You can use a tampon while using a vaginal ring. But don't use a diaphragm as a backup method of birth control while using a vaginal ring because the ring can interfere with the placement of the diaphragm.
Your health care provider might recommend an annual blood pressure check while you use the vaginal ring.
A vaginal ring is a contraceptive device that contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. A vaginal ring is inserted deep into the vagina. The exact placement of the vaginal ring in the vagina doesn't change its effectiveness.