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Vaginal ring

Information on contraception.

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Remember that the age of sexual consent in the republic of Ireland is 17 and the age of sexual consent in Northern Ireland is 16.

The vaginal ring does NOT protect against sexual infections.
This is a small, clear plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks each month. During this time, the ring releases a low dose of hormones that prevent pregnancy by stopping the release of a mature egg (ovulation). The hormones also thicken cervical fluid, so that the sperm cannot reach an egg if one is released. Finally, the ring thins the lining of the womb to prevent implantation (the fertilised egg settling into the womb).

After three weeks, you remove the ring to make way for a menstrual period. This is followed by one week without the vaginal ring before a new ring is inserted for another three weeks.

Advantages of the vaginal ring:

  • You don't have to remember to use it every day. Good for women who forget to take the pill each day.
  • It doesn't have to be fitted by a doctor.
  • If you are vomiting or have diarrhoea it doesn't affect the contraceptive, unlike the pill. You can wear it when swimming, exercising or showering.
  • It has the same advantages as the combined contraceptive pill.
  • It doesn’t interrupt sex in any way.
  • Some women find that it helps to ease their PMS and that it makes their periods lighter and less painful.


  • It doesn't protect against sexual infections.
  • You need to feel comfortable about inserting the ring in your vagina.
  • May include side affects such as headaches, weight gain, nausea, irregular periods, vaginal infections, mood changes and stomach pain.
  • The vaginal ring is more expensive than the contraceptive pill.
  • Is prescription only.
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Published February 6th, 2013
Last updated October 9th, 2014
Tags contraception
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