What is the hormonal contraceptive ring?
The hormonal contraceptive ring is a hormonal contraceptive that contains both estrogen and progestin. You insert the ring into your vagina close to your cervix where it remains for 3 consecutive weeks. The ring slowly releases progestin and estrogen, when it comes into contact with your vaginal fluid, which prevents pregnancy. During the fourth week, the ring is removed for menstruation.
How does the hormonal contraceptive ring work?
Similar to other hormonal methods of contraception (e.g. patch, pill, injection), the contraceptive ring works in 3 ways:
• It stops your ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation)
• It changes the lining of your uterus, making it thinner and more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant
• It makes changes the texture of your cervical fluid, which creates a barrier for sperm to enter the uterus.
How effective is the hormonal contraceptive ring?
The hormonal contraceptive ring is approximately 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, when used perfectly.
* The hormonal contraceptive ring does not protect against sexually transmitted infections *
How do I use the hormonal contraceptive ring?
• Read the instructions that come along with the hormonal contraceptive ring.
• Insert the ring on the first day of your period
• If you are switching from another hormonal method of contraception, insert the ring on the day you would start your new pill pack, first contraceptive patch or injectible contraceptive.
• Remove the ring after 3 weeks and do not insert a new one for the next week. (You should have your period during this ring free week.)
• Insert a new ring at the end of the ring free week.
• Find a comfortable position i.e. stand with one foot up on a chair or sit with knees apart, or lie down
• Squeeze the hormonal contraceptive ring between your thumb and index finger
• Gently insert the ring into your vagina. The exact position of the ring is not important for the ring to work.
• If the ring can be felt, simply slide the ring further into your vagina
• The muscles of your vagina should keep the ring securely in place
• Put a finger into your vagina and pull the hormonal contraceptive ring out
What can be the advantages of the hormonal contraceptive ring?
• Contains a lower dosage of hormones than other combined hormonal contraceptives. Because of this many women experience fewer side effects.
• Does not interrupt sex
• Inserted only once a month
• Does not require partner’s involvement
• Might help with heavy bleeding and cramping during periods
• Very effective in preventing pregnancy
What can be the disadvantages of the hormonal contraceptive ring?
• You need a prescription
• If you are not comfortable inserting objects into your vagina, this may not be the best method of contraception for you.
• There is a chance it may slip out of the vagina. If this happens, rinse the ring in lukewarm water and reinsert it.
• If the ring is out of the vagina for more than 3 hours, it may not be immediately effective. You should use a backup method of contraception such as condoms and spermicide for the next 7 days.
• You may experience side effects such as: headache, breast tenderness and spotting.
• Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
How can I get the hormonal contraceptive ring?
The hormonal contraceptive ring is available at pharmacies with a prescription from a doctor.
How much does the hormonal contraceptive ring cost?
Pharmacy: Approximately $30/month. The cost may vary, depending on the individual pharmacy.
Sexual Health Centre (179 Clarence Street in Ottawa) $10
May be fully or partially covered by many insurance plans.