WellSpan Home

Birth Control Hormones: The Ring

Topic Overview

What is the ring?

The ring is used to prevent pregnancy. It's a soft plastic ring that you put into your vagina. It's also called the vaginal ring.

The ring releases a regular dose of the hormones estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent pregnancy in three ways. They thicken the mucus in the cervix. This makes it hard for sperm to travel into the uterus. They thin the lining of the uterus, which makes it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. The hormones also can stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).

The ring protects against pregnancy for 1 month at a time. You wear one ring for 3 weeks in a row and then go without a ring for 1 week. During the week without the ring, you have your period. Your period may be very light.

How well does it work?

In the first year of use:footnote 1

  • When the ring is used exactly as directed, fewer than 1 woman out of 100 has an unplanned pregnancy.
  • When the ring is not used exactly as directed, 9 women out of 100 have an unplanned pregnancy.

What are the advantages?

  • The ring is more effective for preventing pregnancy than barrier methods of birth control, such as the condom or diaphragm.
  • It prevents pregnancy for up to 1 month at a time.
  • It may reduce acne, heavy bleeding and cramping, and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
  • The ring is convenient. You insert it only 1 time each month. You do not have to interrupt sex to protect against pregnancy.

What are the disadvantages?

  • The ring doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as herpes or HIV/AIDS. If you aren't sure if your sex partner might have an STI, use a condom to protect against disease.
  • The ring may cause changes in your period. You may miss periods, or you may have spotting or a little bleeding. If you miss a period, find out if you are pregnant.
  • It may cause mood changes, less interest in sex, or weight gain.
  • The ring contains estrogen. It may not be right for you if you have certain health problems or concerns.
  • You must remember to change the ring on schedule.

References

Citations

  1. Trussell J, Guthrie KA (2011). Choosing a contraceptive: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th ed., pp. 45–74. Atlanta: Ardent Media.

Credits

Current as ofSeptember 5, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×