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ContraceptiveRing
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Buy your contraceptive ring online

If you’re looking for birth control that’s low maintenance, the contraceptive ring could be just the one. You only need to replace it monthly, so it’s not a daily treatment like pills, or a weekly thing like the patch. 

Talk to us to get birth control recommendations from our experts. Choose your treatment and order your contraceptive ring online. 

Here’s what's included in the price:
Consultation
Answer a few questions about your health so we can get to know you better.
Free 24h delivery
Your treatment delivered in secure packaging, the very next day.
Aftercare
We’ll check in with you regularly to see how your treatment is going.
This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.
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    Ring: Here's what we've got.
    Individual NuvaRing

    Nuvaring

    Ethinylestradiol/Etonogestrel

    Small, flexible ring. Sits in the vagina and works like the pill. Only needs changing once a month.

    • Starting from £62.00

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    Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.

    What is the contraceptive ring?

    The vaginal ring is a hormonal birth control method, like the pill or the patch. It’s a combined method containing both progestogen and oestrogen hormones, and it protects you from becoming pregnant unexpectedly. 

    The ring is inserted into the vagina. It’s worn for three weeks out of every four, and the ring-free week is when you have your period. Because it requires so little effort to protect you, it’s a great option for women who don’t want to fuss with a pill every day. 

    You can’t use a diaphragm, cervical cap or female condom while using the ring, but condoms, menstrual cups and tampons are perfectly fine. 

    How does the contraceptive ring work?

    The vaginal ring works in the same way as the combined birth control pill: by releasing hormones into your body. But instead of every day, like the pill, the hormones in the ring are steadily released into your bloodstream every three weeks.

    The ring protects you from becoming pregnant by stopping ovulation (that’s when an egg is released from the ovary). Pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, which becomes thicker every month, to make itself more inviting to an egg to embed there. 

    By stopping an egg from being released, the ring makes pregnancy less likely. It also changes the mucus in your cervix, so it’s more difficult for sperm to reach an egg. 

    The hormones in the ring also stop the uterine lining from getting thicker, so the egg can’t attach to it easily. This last bit is what makes periods lighter for women who take hormonal birth control. 

    What are the advantages of using the vaginal contraceptive ring? 

    One of the biggest advantages for women who use the ring is that it requires the least amount of effort. Because it only has to be inserted once a month, kept in for three weeks and then taken out, you don’t have to worry about it every day. This gives it an edge over the pill.

    Depending on when you insert the ring, it will work straight away. So you’ll be protected from becoming pregnant as soon as you’ve put it in. It won’t interrupt sex, and once you learn how to use it, it’s pretty easy to take out and put in. 

    With the pill, your protection is lowered if you vomit or have diarrhoea whilst taking it. Because the ring doesn’t involve your digestive system at all, being sick won’t impact how effective it is. 

    The vaginal ring can also help with premenstrual symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps and mood swings, and the periods you’ll have while using it should become lighter and easier to manage. 

    Medically reviewed by
    Dr Daniel Atkinson
    GP Clinical Lead
    on August 02, 2022.
    Meet Daniel
    Daniel
    This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

    How we source info.

    When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.

    How effective is the contraceptive ring?

    As a method of birth control, the vaginal ring is one of the most effective available. When it’s used ‘perfectly’, it’s more than 99% effective. But when it’s used typically (making the occasional mistake, such as inserting it late), the effectiveness drops slightly to around 91% — which is still higher than typical use for condoms. 

    When to start using the vaginal ring

    When to insert the vaginal ring depends on whether you’re already using hormonal birth control or not. 

    If you aren’t currently on hormonal birth control, you’ll insert the ring on the first day of your period. You’ll be protected straight away. If you wait to insert the ring between days two and five of your period, though, you should use condoms for the following week as your protection won’t start immediately. Whenever you’re using additional protection, don’t use a second hormonal method. Just use condoms.  

    If you’ve been taking the combined pill, insert the ring the day after taking any pill in the pack. 

    If you’re switching from the patch, insert the ring on the day you remove the patch. You should avoid any gaps in your protection. 

    If you’ve been getting the depo shot, you can insert the ring up to 15 weeks after your last injection. 

    You should let our clinician know if you’re switching from another birth control method during your consultation. 

    How to insert the vaginal birth control ring

    Before you use the ring for the first time, it’s helpful to see a sexual health nurse in person so they can show you how to insert it properly. You’ll easily be able to do it yourself after that (or if you’ve had the ring before and already know the ropes), but it’s good to get a little help the first time to make sure you’re doing it correctly. 

    Always double-check the expiration date on your ring before you use it. Then, wash your hands and get into a comfortable position. You can try lying down, squatting or standing with one leg lifted up and balanced on a chair. Take the ring out of its packaging, hold it between your thumb and forefinger, squeeze it and push it up into your vagina using your index finger. 

    When you’ve got it in place, you shouldn’t feel it. If you can, or if it feels uncomfortable, you might need to push it in a little more.

    After the ring has been in for three weeks, it’s time to take it out. You should change the ring on the same day of the week that you inserted it.

    To take the ring out, insert your index finger into your vagina and hook it around the ring. Once you’ve hooked your finger around the rim, you should be able to pull the ring out. Taking the ring out should be a straightforward, easy process. If you have any problems getting the ring out, you should see your GP or sexual health nurse right away. 

    Throw the ring away, but don’t flush it down the toilet. Some brands like the NuvaRing come with a foil pouch you can use for disposal.

    Are there any other contraceptive rings available besides NuvaRing?

    Annovera is FDA approved, so it’s a licensed option in the U.S., but it’s not available in the UK. So the only vaginal ring that you can get in the UK is NuvaRing.


    Monthly birth control isn’t working for me. What else can I try?

    If you’ve tried the vaginal ring and it’s not for you, contraceptive pills are an option. You take them on a daily basis, and then usually take a seven day break from them before starting to use them again. Or if you’d prefer not to have to remember to take a pill each day, there’s the contraceptive injection, which you get every three months. 

    Another alternative is the IUD (intrauterine device), or the ‘coil’ as it’s sometimes known. It’s inserted into your womb by a doctor or nurse, and depending on the type of IUD, it stops you from getting pregnant for five to 10 years.

    Is it easy to switch back to the pill from the ring?

    Yes. Normally you’ll start your new pill the day after removing your ring. It’s a good idea to use a condom for the first week after switching back, just to make sure you’re definitely protected.

    All you need to do is sign in to your Treated account and send us a message. We can discuss switching back to the pill with you and help you find the right one for you.   

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    FAQ: Contraceptive ring

    Have something specific you want to know? Search our info below, or ask our experts a question if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

    Birth control ring side effects

    Answer:
    Like any hormonal birth control, you can get side effects with the contraceptive ring. Most of the time, these will go away on their own after a couple of months, when your body has had a chance to get used to the new hormone levels.

    The common side effects are:

    • feeling nauseous

    • thrush

    • discomfort in your vagina

    • itching or secretion from your vagina

    • feeling depressed

    • headaches or migraines

    • reduced sex drive

    • acne

    • painful breasts

    • pelvic pain

    • period pain

    • weight gain

    • the ring falling out


    These side effects shouldn’t interfere too much with your day-to-day life, although they can be a bit unpleasant. If you find that they persist and are causing you discomfort, get in touch with us.

    You can get side effects which are more serious too. If these occur, you will need immediate medical attention. Take the ring out and go to hospital if you:

    • develop signs of a blood clot (persistent leg pain, shortness of breath, severe pain in your chest)

    • experience toxic shock syndrome (sudden high fever, a rash that looks like sunburn, aching muscles)

    • develop an allergic reaction to the pill (swelling in your tongue, face and throat that makes it hard to breathe or swallow)

    • experience liver problems

    • develop gallbladder issues

    • experience high blood pressure


    Serious side effects are rare. But it’s important to get help if you notice any of the above.

    Can the contraceptive ring interact with other medications?

    Answer:
    Yes. If you’re taking other medications while using the ring, it could impact the effectiveness of your birth control and may cause unexpected bleeding.

    It’s important to let us know during consultation if you’re using other medications so we can help you know whether the ring is safe for you to use.

    The ring can interact with:

    • epilepsy medication

    • treatment for tuberculosis

    • HIV medicine

    • Hepatitis C treatment

    • Griseofulvin for infectious diseases

    • St John’s wort

    • medication to treat high blood pressure

    Does a contraceptive ring work immediately?

    Answer:
    It can, but it depends on when you insert the ring. Putting the ring in on the first day of your period will ensure you’re protected from becoming pregnant.

    If you’re switching from another form of hormonal birth control, you need to make sure you don’t have any coverage gaps before starting the ring. Leaving a gap will mean you aren’t protected.

    Can the contraceptive ring help endometriosis?

    Answer:
    Research suggests that the progestogen-only pill may be the best option for women who are experiencing endometriosis.

    If you want to use a birth control method to help you with your symptoms, let our clinician know so they can advise you on this.

    Can you get your period with a contraceptive ring?

    Answer:
    You still have your period once a month when you use the vaginal ring. Sort of. The monthly bleeding you experience while taking hormonal birth control is actually what’s called a “withdrawal bleed”, and it happens because you don’t have a steady flow of hormones that week.

    Since you’re not ovulating and your uterine lining doesn’t build like it normally would, the bleeding you’ll experience on hormonal birth control might look and feel different. We think “withdrawal bleed” sounds a bit Victorian, though, so you have our permission to keep calling it a period.

    Does the vaginal ring regulate menstrual cycles?

    Answer:
    Because there’s a routine with the ring, it’s likely your cycle will become more regular as a result. Some women using the birth control ring know exactly when their period will start and end.

    Can the vaginal ring be used as emergency birth control?

    Answer:
    No. You can’t use the vaginal ring as emergency birth control. Emergency contraception has a specific hormone dose that it needs to work. When you start using the vaginal ring, you should read the package insert that comes with it thoroughly. If your birth control fails for any reason, or if you’ve had unprotected sex, let us know right away so we can give you the right advice.

    Why should I buy the vaginal ring with Treated?

    Answer:
    Finding the best birth control for you can be challenging. We’re simplifying it. Tell us about your health and our clinicians will advise you on suitable options for you. Choose your subscription treatment, and get your medication shipped from our pharmacy.

    We’ll deliver it to you when you want it, and in the quantity you’d like too.

    At Treated, we like to stay in touch. You can ask our experts questions about your birth control whenever you want to. They’ll reach out to you on a regular basis to find out how you’re getting along with your contraception. And if you’d like to make adjustments or try something else, no problem.

    Change, pause or cancel your plan anytime.
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