The vaginal ring is a method of contraception.
The vaginal ring is a thin, flexible ring made from plastic. It contains the same 2 hormones as the contraceptive pill.
These hormones prevent ovulation. They also make it more difficult for sperm cells to reach the mucous membrane of the cervix. The sperm cells will then have difficulties reaching the uterus, where the egg cell is located. The hormones also interfere with the implantation of an egg cell.
How to use a vaginal ring
Use a vaginal ring as follows:
- Squeeze the ring.
- Insert the ring deep into the vagina. You can insert the ring from various positions, for instance by standing with 1 leg raised, lying down or squatting.
- Put 1 finger inside the vagina and push the ring deep into the vagina. The ring should sit comfortably. The exact position in the vagina is not important.
- The ring stays in place when having sexual intercourse. You can remove the vaginal ring during sexual intercourse, but you need to insert it again within 3 hours.
- To remove the ring, put your finger into your vagina and hook it through the ring. Gently pull the ring out.
- Use the ring continuously for 3 weeks. Remove the ring on the same day of the week as you inserted it (for instance, Wednesday). Then throw the ring in a bin.
- For the next 7 days (1 week), you do not use the vaginal ring. This week, you will start to bleed (menstrual period). You are also protected in this week.
- After 7 days insert a new ring, even if you are still bleeding.
- Repeat the previous steps.
The vaginal ring is very reliable if used correctly. Around 9 in 100 women get pregnant when they use the vaginal ring for 1 year.
The vaginal ring is not reliable, or is less reliable, if:
- You are taking certain medicines such as St John’s Wort. Tell your doctor you are using the vaginal ring. He will take this into account when prescribing medicines.
- You forget to insert the vaginal ring after the 7-day break, or if you forget to change it; Or if you forget to replace the vaginal ring;
- You lose the vaginal ring during sexual intercourse and do not insert it again within 3 hours.
The vaginal ring can be used for up to 4 months from the day you bought it in a pharmacy.
Does not affect your health
The vaginal ring does not make you less fertile. If you want to get pregnant, you just remove the vaginal ring.
During the first months of using the vaginal ring, you may have side-effects like headaches, vaginal infections and nausea. These effects usually disappear on their own. If they do not disappear, consult a doctor.
Your menstrual periods often become less heavy and less painful.
No protection against STIs and HIV
Buying the vaginal ring
You need a prescription from a doctor to buy the vaginal ring. Without a prescription you cannot buy the vaginal ring. You can buy the vaginal ring in a pharmacy only. Ask a healthcare professional for more information.
Some health insurance funds repay part of the costs for contraception. Ask your health insurance fund about this.
You also have to pay a personal contribution for the visit to the doctor. Some people have a right to increased reimbursement or urgent medical care. Below are the addresses where you can see a doctor for free.