I was wondering what is a vaginal ring? Is it like the birth control shot or birth control pill?
Ohhh, I love birth control questions!
The vaginal ring is a type of birth control. Although it prevents pregnancy like the birth control shot and birth control pill, it is used differently.
The vaginal ring (brand name: NuvaRing) is a ring that is inserted into the vagina (using your fingers) and sits right around the cervix (the opening to the uterus). It is worn for 3 weeks and taken out (again, using your fingers) for 1 week (the week it is out is the week you would have your period – which may not last the entire 7 days). After the week it is left out, a new one is put in.
You shouldn’t be able to feel the vaginal ring once it is inserted. If it can be felt it means it probably has not been inserted far enough. Some women keep the vaginal ring in during sex (which is totally okay) and some women prefer to take it out (also totally okay). However, it must be put back in within 3 hours! If it is left out longer than 3 hours, a backup method (like condoms) should be used for a week.
Many people ask how does a little plastic ring prevent pregnancy. Well, the vaginal ring releases a small amount of hormones that tells the ovaries not to release an egg (it is called ovulation when the ovary releases an egg). No egg = nothing to be fertilized = no pregnancy!
It is important to keep in mind that the vaginal ring does not protect against STD’s or HIV. Other than not having any kind of sex at all, condoms are the best way to protect yourself against STD’s and HIV.
You can also check out Bedsider for more information!
In happiness & health,
Reviewed by Grace Shih, MD
Thanks to NuvaRing for this awesome photo!