Birth control and you: The vaginal ring
LIKE many other birth control methods, the vaginal ring prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into the body. The most popular vaginal ring is the NuvaRing, which is inserted deep into the vagina to prevent ovulation.
The NuvaRing is inserted in the vagina like a tampon for a three-week period and then removed for one week, at which time the user would be able to have her menstrual period. It is then re-inserted on day seven.
The vaginal ring is held firmly in place by the muscles during sex or physical activities.
However, in the event of accidental expulsion which does happen, it can be rinsed with cool or lukewarm water and reinserted.
It is also important for you to be careful while removing tampons to ensure that the NuvaRing is not accidentally pulled out, and it is advised that you insert the ring before you insert your tampon.
The ring is made from flexible plastic and releases a low dose of progestin and oestrogen, which are the same hormones found in the combination birth control pills.
Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Charles Rockhead believes it is a very effective method to prevent pregnancy when used the right way.
"It makes the mucus very thick and unfriendly to sperm penetration," he said.
Although NuvaRing is very effective, the use of certain medications such as antibiotics and anti-seizure medicines can affect its viability.
Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of using this form of birth control:
1. A woman's ability to become pregnant returns quickly when use of the ring is stopped.
2. The ring can be inserted without the assistance of a medical professional.
3. It allows you to have a regular menstrual period, although your period might be shorter.
4. It helps to decrease the appearance of acne and helps protect against ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease.
5. No one has to know that it has been inserted, so it does not interrupt sex.
1. It is not recommended for those who have high blood pressure.
2. It may cause vaginal discharge and irritability.
3. It sometimes leads to weight gain.
4. NuvaRing does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
5. You may experience nausea, headaches and slight sensitivity in the first few months of using it.