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Home > Health Library > Birth Control: How to Use 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. It gives you a regular dose of the hormones estrogen and progestin.
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 this week, you have your period. Or you may use the ring continuously. This means you don't take the ring out for a week each month. With this method, you won't have your period.
Talk to your doctor about what day to start using a vaginal hormonal ring. Usually, a ring is started during one of the first 5 days of the menstrual cycle. The ring is replaced with a new one every 4 weeks.
The vaginal ring is a highly effective method of birth control when it is used exactly as directed. The ring failure rate is the same as that of birth control pills.
Note the day that you insert a new vaginal ring, then follow these steps.
The ring can't be inserted the wrong way. It's not a barrier contraceptive, so its exact position in the vagina isn't critical for it to work. The ring is left in place during sexual intercourse.
If you forget and leave the ring in place for more than 4 weeks, remove it and use a barrier method of birth control (such as a condom) until a new ring has been in place for 7 days. Discuss this with your doctor. You may need a pregnancy test.
If a vaginal ring slips out and it is out of your vagina for less than 3 hours, you are still protected from pregnancy. You can rinse the ring and insert it again.
If a ring is out of your vagina for more than 3 hours, you may not be protected from pregnancy. Rinse and reinsert the ring. But use an extra method of birth control until the ring has been back in your vagina for 7 days in a row.
If you lose a vaginal ring, insert a new ring as soon as you can. Follow the same schedule as described above.
When you start using the vaginal ring depends on what method of birth control you were using before.
For the first cycle of using the vaginal ring, use an extra method of birth control for the first 7 days of ring use.
Use an extra method of birth control for the first 7 days of ring use.
Current as of:
November 22, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: November 22, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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