Not a Fan of Pill Popping? Try Using the Birth Control Ring
You want to take control of your sexual health and wellness, but you know you’re going to forget to take the Pill at the same time every day, or you have trouble swallowing pills. If this sounds like you, and you’re comfortable enough with your body to insert a device into your vagina, the vagina ring may be a good choice for you. Not all women should use a vaginal ring, especially if your wellbeing is affected by blood clots, severe high blood pressure, certain types of cancers, certain types of migraine headaches, or diabetes with certain complications. However, if that’s not the case, and you’d like to know more about this form of birth control, read on!
The birth control ring is a soft, flexible and doughnut-shaped, with a diameter of about two inches. You insert it into your vagina, and the ring slowly releases hormones though the vaginal wall and into your blood stream. Generally speaking, hormones are chemicals the body makes to control organ function, and the ones released by the ring – oestrogen and progesterone – affect your ovaries and uterus in order to prevent pregnancy. The combination of hormones stops the ovulation process, or the release of an egg from your ovaries during your monthly cycle. The ring also thickens the mucus around your cervix, making it difficult for the sperm to enter your uterus. Plus, the ring can sometime affect the lining in your uterus, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall and enable a baby to develop.
Much in the same way that you would use the birth control pill or the patch, you insert the ring based on your monthly cycle. Just like inserting a tampon, you place the ring inside your vagina on the first day of your cycle, or before day five of your cycle. You leave it there for three weeks and, on the same day of the week as you inserted the ring and at about the same time of day, you remove it. Your period should start a few days later and, at the end of the fourth week, you insert a new ring and restart the process. Again, you should insert the new ring on the same day, and roughly at the same time, as you have done previously. Moreover, you should place the new ring on that day even if you’re still on your period.
The hormones in the ring don’t kick in straightaway, which means you should use another form of birth control, such as a condom, for the first seven days. After this, you won’t need to use the ring to prevent pregnancy, but continuing to use condoms will protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Because the ring is not a barrier method of birth control, it’s not critical that you place the ring in the exact right position, as long as you can wear it comfortably. If the ring does not feel comfortable, you can push it further back or remove it and try inserting it again. Once it is in place, most girls do not feel the ring. You can leave it there during exercise, swimming, bathing and intercourse, and it’s unlikely that it will fall out. However, if it does, you can simply rinse it under cold water and reinsert it, as long as you do so within three hours. If you reinsert the ring outside of this timeframe, you’ll need to use an additional method of birth control until the ring has been in for another seven days.
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