Vaginal ring

Anyone who thinks that a vaginal ring is intimate jewellery or a piercing is fundamentally wrong. A vaginal ring is a hormonal contraceptive that is inserted into the vagina and worn invisibly for weeks. The vaginal ring is also known as a contraceptive ring or under the brand names NuvaRing and Circlet. It has a diameter of 5.5 centimetres and a thickness of four millimetres and is made of soft, flexible plastic. The hormones oestrogen and progestogen are continuously released through the ring via the mucous membrane into the bloodstream, which prevents monthly ovulation. Like the other hormonal contraceptives, the pill, the hormonal coil and the contraceptive sticks, the contraceptive ring is therefore primarily an ovulation inhibitor. In addition, this variant thickens the mucus in the cervix, which makes it more difficult for sperm to pass through the cervix. In addition, the lining of the uterus is thinned so that a fertilized egg is less likely to implant. The vaginal ring can be inserted at any time during the menstrual cycle as long as there is no pregnancy. Inserting the ring is quick and easy, like inserting a tampon. The ring is pushed up to the cervix.

Normally, the vaginal ring is then worn for 21 days and then removed for a seven-day ring-free break. Similar to the pill, there is also protection against pregnancy during the ring break. During this time, there is usually bleeding, which is usually lighter than normal menstrual bleeding. After the one-week break, a new ring is inserted for another 21 days. Protection against pregnancy is guaranteed immediately if the ring is inserted during the first five days of the menstrual cycle. Protection with vaginal ring contraception is very high, with a Pearl Index of 0.25 – 1.18. This means that less than one woman in a hundred who use vaginal ring contraception for a year will get pregnant unplanned. While the ring is in the vagina, the wearer can have sex normally and also use tampons. It is possible that the ring can be felt by one of the partners during sex. However, this is harmless and not painful because the ring is quite elastic and soft.

One advantage of the vaginal ring is that you can have spontaneous sex. It is not necessary to take the pill every day, which has led to many unplanned pregnancies. You only need to think about contraception twice per cycle. Once to remove the ring and a week later to insert a new one. This makes the vaginal ring a popular and discreet contraceptive, especially for young women. In Germany, vaginal rings, like other hormonal contraceptives, require a prescription. The same side effects can occur as with the pill or the hormonal IUD. These include headaches and nausea, for example. Contraception with the vaginal ring costs between €15 and €20 per month. The vaginal ring does not protect against contracting infectious diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. To practice safe sex, the use of a condom or femidom is essential.

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