A flexible ring that fits inside the vagina and releases a constant dose of combined hormones in to the bloodstream through the vaginal wall. The Vaginal Ring works by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation). It also thickens the mucus from your cervix. This makes it difficult for a sperm to move through it and reach an egg and makes the lining of the uterus (womb) thinner so it is less likely to accept a fertilised egg.
- you don’t have to think about it every day – you only use one ring a month
- it doesn’t interrupt sex
- it is easy to insert and remove
- unlike the pill, the hormones do not need to be absorbed by the stomach, so the ring is not affected if you vomit or have diarrhoea
- bleeding will usually become more regular, lighter and less painful
- it may help with premenstrual symptoms
- it may reduce the risk of cancer of the ovary, uterus and colon
- it may reduce the risk of fibroids, ovarian cysts and non-cancerous breast disease.
- Some women may not feel comfortable inserting and removing it.
- You may get temporary side effects at first including increased vaginal discharge, headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood changes.
- Breakthrough bleeding and spotting (unexpected vaginal bleeding on days you are using the ring) may occur in the first few months of ring use (see I am bleeding on the days when I am using the vaginal ring, what should I do?).
- The vaginal ring does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections, so you may need to use condoms as well.