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Our bottom line

The ring is an effective form of combination birth control that's inserted and kept inside the vagina, releasing low doses of hormones over 3 weeks – but prevents pregnancy for a whole month. It's very effective if used correctly and may have fewer side effects since it contains lower doses of hormones.

Quick facts about Ring
  • Method class: Hormonal
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available
  • Hormone status: Progestin-only
People’s experience with Ring

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  • You only have to remember to replace the ring once a month. Otherwise, you don't have to worry about birth control at all.
  • Periods usually become much shorter and lighter after the first few months of use.
  • You can use the ring continuously (without the break on the 4th week) to get rid of your period altogether.
  • Usually won't get in the way of spontaneity.
  • Pills with estrogen can help clear up acne.
  • Fertility typically returns 2-4 weeks after removing the ring.
What’s the failure rate?
of people using this method got pregnant in a year

This method is ranked 7 out of 17 birth control methods listed. The lower the number, the better.Source

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  • You'll have to be comfortable with your body since you insert and take the ring out on your own.
  • Some people say their partners can feel the ring when having sex. You can always take the ring out during sex – just remember to put it back in within 3 hours and don't remove it more than once every 24 hours.
  • If the ring is out of your body for more than 3 hours, use backup contraception.
  • (Low) possibility of accidentally falling out during tampon removal, sex, or just going to the bathroom.
  • Works immediately if taken within the first 24 hours of your period, otherwise you'll have to use backup birth control during the following week.
  • May not be suitable for new moms who are breastfeeding as it contains estrogen which lowers milk production.
  • Does not protect against STDs.
  • May be less effective for women taking Grifulvin V (Griseofulvin), Rifadin (Rifampin), certain HIV medications, certain anti-seizure medicines or St. John's Wort.
  • May cause complications and not be suitable for women who are on prolonged bed rest, who smoke and are 35+, have certain blood-clotting disorders, certain heart conditions, lupus, high blood pressure, serious diabetes, liver disease or complications after an organ transplant. Talk to your doctor about using the ring.
How it works

Low doses of hormones estrogen and progestin are released into your body over 3 weeks, working together to prevent ovulation and thicken the cervical mucus so sperm cannot reach the egg. The ring works on a 28-day cycle so you have to keep it intact for 3 weeks, then either take a break for 1 week before inserting a new one or replace it immediately to completely skip your period.

Quick facts about Ring
  • Method class: Hormonal
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available
  • Hormone status: Progestin-only
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Side effect rates for Ring

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These are side effects of Ring (All) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.