Birth Control 101 is a multi-part series covering everything you need to know about birth control. It has all the details you need to make the best decision for your body, like how each method works, the pros and cons, effectiveness, cost and where to get them. After we’re done, you’ll basically be an expert, and you’ll definitely be able to make an informed decision about how to stay safe when you’re having sex.
This segment covers everything you need to know about the Birth Control Ring.
Check out our Birth Control 101 section for details on every birth control method, and Birth Control Basics for a quick and dirty overview.
What is it?
Also called NuvaRing (its brand name), the ring is a monthly hormonal method of birth control. It is a small, flexible ring about two inches in diameter (about the size of a bracelet) that is placed in the vagina.
How does it work?
You insert the ring into your vaginal canal, like you would insert a tampon. It releases the same hormones as the pill and patch, progestin and estrogen, continuously and at a lower dose for three weeks. After the third week, you remove it, and get your period. Then, you insert a new ring, and the cycle starts over. There is no wrong placement, and you cannot feel the ring once it is inside of you. If there is any discomfort, you can shift or reinsert it. You can keep the ring in during sex, and it will not fall out or hurt you. If it does hurt or fall out, the ring can be removed for up to three hours. The ring cannot get lost inside you, and is easy to remove.
- The ring has a continuous release of low-dose of hormones, which means all the benefits of the pill and the patch with fewer side effects. If you have trouble with higher doses of hormones, your body will probably respond better to this low-dose option. Also, the ring releases hormones where it counts the most, so other parts of your body are less effected.
- The ring is easier to remember than the pill and the patch. Just put it in once a month, mark the change date on your calendar, and never think about it until then! No alarms, reminders, or carrying it in your purse.
- Easy to use. The ring goes in easy and comfortably, rarely falls out, and you can keep it in during sex. It’s basically fool proof.
- Although it’s easy to insert, some women may feel uncomfortable getting up close and personal with their lady bits. If you have trouble inserting tampons or just don’t want to get all up in there, you probably won’t want to use the ring.
- In rare cases, women may experience vaginal irritation, infection, and increased discharge.
$15 to $80 monthly, with a prescription.
Where to Get It
Visit your doctor, gynecologist, or a health or family planning clinic (like Planned Parenthood) to get a prescription.
Don’t stop there… learn more about the other methods so you can find the perfect fit! Check out these articles in our Birth Control 101 series.
Birth Control 101: The Basics of Birth Control
Birth Control 101: The Pill
Birth Control 101: The Patch
Birth Control 101: The Ring
Birth Control 101: The Shot
Birth Control 101: The Implant
Birth Control 101: Hormonal and Copper IUDs
Birth Control 101: Male Condoms
Birth Control 101: Cervical Cap
Birth Control 101: Diaphragm
Birth Control 101: The Sponge
Birth Control 101: Spermicide
Birth Control 101: Pull Out Method
Birth Control 101: Emergency Contraception (Plan B)
Common Birth Control Myths
“Birth Control Methods.” Bedsider Birth Control Support Network. Bedsider, n.d. Web. 27 July 2013.
“Birth Control Methods.” Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2013. Web. 27 Jul. 2013.
Hoxworth, Laura. “Forms of Birth Control You Might Want to Try (Beyond the Pill).” Her Campus. Her Campus Media, 7 Jan. 2011. Web. 27 July 2013.
Levin, Sammie. “The Pill, The Shot, IUD’s & More: How To Figure Out Which Type of Birth Control Is Right For You.” Her Campus. Her Campus Media, 21 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 July 2013.
Taylor, Andrea. “We Asked an Expert: Which Birth Control Is Best?” Kinkly, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 July 2013.
“The Ultimate Guide to Safer Sex.” Greatist, n.d. Web. 27 July 2013.
“Types of Contraception.” Advocates for Youth, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 27 July 2013.