A form of contraception you may have never heard of is the ring. The ring has a diameter of 54mm and is 4mm thick. It looks like this: Contraceptive ring. The ring bends and is not rigid so it is easy to insert.
How to insert it
When you get the ring you also get a booklet which shows some positions for how to put it in. You should put it as high as possible in your vagina so it is just under your cervix, when inserted you shouldn’t be able to feel it. When having sex, your partner shouldn’t be able to feel the ring, and if he can it shouldn’t feel unpleasant. If however you and your partner really don’t like it then you can take it out during sex then put it back afterwards. To take it out you just put a finger up your vagina and hook it on the ring then pull. Putting in and taking it out should not hurt.
What does it do?
The ring releases two hormones: oestrogen and progesterone, the same as the pill. This prevents you from releasing an egg (ovulating) and makes it tricky for sperm to get to an egg. Also it thins the womb lining, making it less likely that an egg will implant if released.
Things you may want to know
As it is so similar to the combined pill A LOT of the symptoms are the same. (If used correctly) the ring is more than 99% effective, which means that less than one out of a hundred women that use the ring will get pregnant in one year. Like the pill, the ring may help PMS, make your periods lighter and less painful. Some people have temporary side effects like more discharge, tender boobs and headaches. However these shouldn’t last long and if they do you should go back to your GP/clinic. Unlike the pill the ring is still effective after vomiting and diarrhoea. Occasionally the ring may come out on its own, this is fine don’t worry about it just rinse the ring and put it back in.
The ring can cause more serious side effects, these are rare but you should read the booklet and speak to your GP/clinic nurse about these if you have any particular worries.
What to expect when you receive the ring
When you first go to the GP or clinic, they will want to check your blood pressure and possibly your height and weight. Also they may ask you if you smoke and other questions about things like that which could affect your health if you start taking the ring. Then they go to a special fridge to get your rings. In the UK the only brand of ring is the Nuva ring, as far as I am aware anyway. Like the pill you get three rings in a packet to start with and then after three months you go back to talk to the doctor/nurse about your experience and see if you want to carry on.
Like the pill you keep the ring in for 21 days, then take it out for a seven week break. If you want to know how all the hormones work you can look at my post about the combined pill as it is the same (I’ll link at the bottom). Also you can run rings together like you can with the pill.
Why choose the ring?
Well, the reason many people choose to use the ring over other methods is because it is something you don’t need to think about very often but it isn’t permanent like the IUD, IUS or implant.
If you are on the pill but you struggle to take it everyday then the ring is something you could consider.
Have a great day! Xx
Combined Pill post: The combined Pill