Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > Birth Control: How to Use the Vaginal Ring
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.
Talk to your doctor about what day to start using the
ring. Usually, a ring is started during one of the first 5 days of the
See a picture of the
vaginal hormonal ring.
The ring cannot be incorrectly inserted. Its exact position in the
vagina is not critical for it to work because the ring is not a barrier
contraceptive. The ring is left in place during sexual intercourse. It is
replaced with a new one every 4 weeks.
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. A pregnancy test may be recommended.
Insertion and removal of the ring is similar to using a diaphragm,
except the ring is left in place for 3 weeks. Simply use your fingers to tuck
it into your vagina and later to hook or grasp it and pull it out.
If a vaginal ring slips out and it is out of your vagina for less
than 3 hours, you are still protected from pregnancy. The ring can be rinsed
If a ring is out of the 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 possible
and follow the same schedule as described above.
When you start using the vaginal ring depends
on what contraceptive method 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
May 3, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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