The vaginal ring is a small flexible ring that contains the hormones estrogen and progestogen. It is inserted into the vagina by the woman and is kept in place for three weeks; it is then removed for a one-week break. Following the week break, a new vaginal ring is inserted.
Make sure you follow the packet instructions very carefully because if you forget to change the ring you may not be fully protected and you could get pregnant.
With “perfect use” the ring is over 99% effective meaning that less than 1 woman in 100 will become pregnant in a year.1
Because with every day “typical use” many women sometimes don’t use it correctly, up to 9 women out of 100 in one year will become pregnant.1
- It only has to be changed once every four weeks
- It may make your periods more regular and lighter
- It may reduce cramping
- Your fertility (ability to become pregnant) will quickly return to normal when you stop using the ring
- It can cause similar hormonal type side effects as you would experience with the combined pill e.g. mood swings, changed in sex drive, headaches, bloating or bleeding problems
- You may experience vaginal irritation, discomfort or discharge
- Some women and/or their partners may be able to feel the ring during sex
- It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
You can get the vaginal ring from a doctor, Family Planning Clinic or Well Woman Clinic. Your doctor will write a prescription for the ring and you then bring this to a Pharmacy where you can buy it. For Medical Card patients the vaginal ring is available on the GMS (General Medical Services).