All you need to know about the vaginal ring


Here’s the lowdown on this contraception.


Dr Gregory Petro says unintended pregnancies among adults occur as a result of people not using contraception, or the ineffective use of it.

What is it?

It’s a soft plastic ring that you place into the vagina once a month. It’s left in place for three weeks and taken out for a week. Once inserted, the ring slowly releases two artificial hormones (oestrogen and progestogen) that prevent pregnancy. The hormones are the same as those used in the Pill, but at a lower dose.

How does it work?

It stops the release of an egg by the ovary (ovulation) and makes the mucus at the opening of the uterus thicker so sperm can’t get through and changing the lining of the uterus so a fertilised egg can’t take hold.

How do I get it?

You need a prescription from a doctor to get it at the pharmacy.

What are the benefits?

  • Periods become more regular, shorter, lighter and less painful.
  • The timing of bleeding can be controlled.
  • It usually improves acne.
  • The ring contains a lower dose of hormones than the Pill and so side effects can be reduced.
  • The hormones are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. They don’t go through the stomach and so are not affected by vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • You don’t have to remember to take a pill every day.

Additional information Shine SA

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