Side effects of vaginal contraceptive ring

There are a lot of benefits of vaginal contraceptive ring. One of the most important is that a woman has to care about birth control only once a month and does not have to worry about forgetting to take a birth control pill. Sexual intercourse might get more spontaneous since a woman does not have to stop lovemaking in order to take a contraceptive or spermicide. The effectiveness of a vaginal contraceptive ring is 98-99%. However, it may decrease if the ring is used improperly or for less or more than three weeks. The risk for pregnancy also increases if a woman is taking specific medicines, such as antibiotics, tuberculosis, anti-seizure and migraine medications.Women using the ring have lighter and regular periods; they also do not experience the PMS syndrome and have a decreased risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers. Some scientific data show that a vaginal contraceptive ring decreases the risk for inflammatory pelvic disease and ectopic pregnancy.

Disadvantages of vaginal contraceptive pills

Although there are many advantages of a vaginal contraceptive ring , as with all hormonal birth control methods, there are some risks, complications and disadvantages. One of the most frequent disadvantages is an accidental slip out of a vaginal contraceptive ring from the vagina. This could be protected with a proper use of the ring. Some women and their partners may feel the ring in the vagina during sexual intercourse. However, most of the women do not feel the ring in their vagina at all and those who do do not describe the sensation as strong or painful and uncomfortable.

Side effects of vaginal contraceptive pills

More serious side effects of a vaginal contraceptive ring are yeast infection and an increased vaginal discharge and irritation. Some women might get respiratory infection or sinus infection. Women who use the ring complain with nausea, headache, weight gain, breast swelling and tenderness, spotting and breakthrough bleeding or even depression. There are also certain increased risks for serious complications, such as formation of blood clots in the legs, heart and brain. While using a vaginal contraceptive ring there is an increased risk for stroke, hart attack and gall bladder disease. The use of hormonal birth control, as well as the ring, may increase the risk for breast and cervical cancer.

Although most women, after consulting with their doctor, may use a vaginal contraceptive ring, there is a group of women who should consider it very carefully before starting to use this particular mean of birth control. These conditions include high blood pressure and high cholesterol, diabetes, since such women has already got an increased risk for stroke and heart attack. Women, who have the history of breast cancer or breast cancer was in their family should choose another method of contraception . Other conditions, when another method of birth control should be used include gall bladder and kidney disease, epilepsy, depression, sensitive vagina, dropped uterus or bladder, rectal prolepses and others. Women should use another method of birth control while they are breast feeding their babies.

This vaginal contraception method is a safe, effective and comfortable way to protect against unexpected pregnancy. As with all hormonal birth control methods, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of the method. Before deciding whether to use the ring or not, you should evaluate all the pros and cons of this particular mean of birth control. And if you still have further questions, do not hesitate to consult your doctor and discuss all the possible benefits and risks and possible complications of a vaginal contraceptive ring.

Vaginal contraceptive ring

A vaginal contraceptive ring is one of the most modern ways of contraception for women. This elastic ring is of 54 millimeters diameter and is to be placed into the vagina. Like a birth control pill , a vaginal contraceptive ring contains small amounts of female hormones –estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are slowly released into a woman’s body and protects against pregnancy.

A vaginal contraceptive ring should be inserted into vagina, close to the cervix of uterus, and should be left there for three weeks. Unlike with a birth control pill a woman using it does not have to worry about the ring every day, since when inserted into the vagina a vaginal contraceptive ring acts for three weeks. A woman should take the ring out after three weeks and then menstrual period occurs due to a sudden decrease of female hormones in the body — just like during a normal period. Another vaginal contraceptive ring should be inserted into vagina after one week.

How does contraceptive ring work?

You are probably now wondering how the ring works in birth control. Its action is due to female hormones – estrogen and progesterone — that are absorbed into a female bloodstream through vaginal walls. These two hormones suppress ovulation, meaning that no egg is produced in the ovary. They also thicken the mucus on the cervix, so that it is complicated for the sperm to enter the uterus. The last action of the combination of estrogen and progesterone is the change of uterine lining in such a way that it is almost impossible for a fertilized egg to implant. Bear in mind that although a vaginal contraceptive ring is efficient in birth control, it does not protect against any of sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore a condom must be used during sexual intercourse for protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

If you decide to use a vaginal contraceptive ring for birth control, you should consult your health care specialist in order to find out when you should start using it. Women who have not used any hormonal pill of birth control before should insert the ring between the first five days of their menstrual period. When inserted for the first time a vaginal contraceptive ring is ineffective for the first week. Therefore women should use additional means of contraception, such as male condoms or spermicide, for the first seven days. If a woman switches from one hormonal form of birth control to a vaginal contraceptive ring, the ring should be efficient as soon as a woman starts using it. There are certain modulations on when to start using a contraceptive ring after abortion or miscarriage, and hence a woman should contact her health care provider to find out the exact information. Another question that a health care specialist should answer is breast-feeding and when a woman may start using a vaginal contraceptive ring then.

How to use vaginal contraceptive ring?

A flexible vaginal contraceptive ring is very easy to use and place into the vagina. With your hands washed and dry you may remove the ring from its foil packet. You are recommended to not throw the packet away since you are going to need it when the ring is removed. You should choose the most comfortable position for you for insertion – either lying down or standing with one leg up. Probably choosing the same position that you use for insertion of tampons might be helpful. Then you should insert the ring into vagina as deeply as possible. A vaginal contraceptive ring should be left for three weeks and replaced on the same day of the week and time. You should insert another ring after one week break.

When placed properly in the vagina a vaginal contraceptive ring should not come out accidentally. However, during sexual intercourse, while taking the tampon out or due to a strain with bowel movements the ring may come out. If it does, a woman should rinse it with lukewarm water and place the ring into vagina as soon as possible. In case a vaginal contraceptive ring has been out of the vagina for three hours or more, it might not be efficient in birth control for the first week. Therefore additional methods of contraception should be used within that period of time.


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Side effects of injectable contraception

Injectable contraceptives are a rather safe type of birth control they, however, may cause several side-effects which tend to be more obvious than those caused by the use of a birth control pill . The reason for that is a larger dose of hormones than that given by a daily birth control pill. Injectables may cause disappearance of menstruation period for up to one year. Be aware, that statistically only one third of all women using injectable contraceptives have a normal and regular menstrual period during the first year of use. Others tend to experience irregular periods or no menstrual bleeding at all during the first year of use. These side-effects are unfortunately impossible to affect.

Another consideration associated with injectables is the loss of bone mass. Injectables have the effect on the calcium stored in bones. The concentration of the calcium in bones decreases especially during the first year of use. The loss of the calcium from bones causes decrease in bone mass. And although the process is reversible and bone mass normally increases after discontinuation of use there are still some long term concerns of a temporary loss of bone mass. Such women are said to have a higher risk for osteoporosis later in their lives.

Other less complicated side-effects include changes in menstrual bleeding, which may become lighter or heavier, shorter or longer. A woman should see her doctor if heavy or continuous bleeding occurs, since it may cause severe anemia. There could also be spotting or breakthrough bleeding. Other side-effects, not associated with menstrual period and bleeding, include dizziness, nervousness, headaches, change in skin color and rash. There might be severe mood swings from very good mood to depression. Women can experience breast tenderness and hair loss. Facial and body hair may increase or decrease. Some women may gain more weight. If any of these side-effects occur a woman should consult a doctor and if these side-effects continue she might even have to choose another method for birth control.

Another side-effect that women may experience with the use of injectable contraceptives is decreased libido. Injectables have been noticed to suppress testosterone and this is believed to be the reason for decreased sex drive in women using this method of birth control.

Although injectable contraceptives provide some protection against endometrial cancer they, however, increase the risk for some other types of cancers in women. These include increased risk for breast and cervical cancer. Therefore women with family history of breast and cervical cancer are recommended to choose another form of birth control. However, final decision should be made only after a thorough consultation with a doctor.
Other possible complications, associated with the use of injectable contraceptives, include blood clots in legs and lungs, jaundice, allergic reaction and even infertility. Therefore women with liver disease, a history of blood clots or stroke should use another method for birth control.

Even though there are no age limitations, progestin-only injectable contraceptives are not to be used by girls younger than sixteen due to the effect of injectables on the bone density and bone mass. Since progestin-only injectable contraceptives may affect fetus, women who plan to become pregnant within the next year should not use this form of birth control. In addition, one should know that women, who get pregnant while being on progestin-only injectables, show to have higher neonatal and infant mortality rates.

Contraceptive sponge

The contraceptive sponge is a soft sponge that contains spermicide and covers the cervix. It kills sperm in the vagina and blocks the cervix to hinder the progress of sperm into the uterus that helps to prevent pregnancy. This preparation may be an ideal choice for those women who prefer a form of contraception that is not permanent, does not contain hormones and requires no prescription. However, the contraceptive sponge lacks the effectiveness of other forms of birth control . So if pregnancy would be a major problem for women it’s not the best choice for her to use this contraception.

How to use vaginal contraceptive sponge?

You could compare the learning to use a contraceptive sponge with learning to use contacts. With patience and a bit of practice the use of a contraceptive sponge is an easy and comfortable procedure. These easy steps will help you to understand how to properly insert and remove this particular contraceptive device.



  • Clean your hands first and open the package to remove a sponge from it.
  • Hold a sponge with one hand and soak it with tap water until it gets foamy. This way spermicides activate and the sponge is ready for insertion.
  • Insert it deeply into the vagina so that the sponge covers the cervix. The circle of the sponge should face away from the cervix whereas the concave side should face the cervix.


You can insert this barrier method up to 24 hours before sexual intercourse. Unlike a diaphragm, a sponge provides protection for 24 hours, no matter how many sexual intercourses you have during that period. Remember to leave the sponge for six hours after the last sexual act. You should not leave the device in the vagina longer than for 30 hours.



  • After six hours after your last sexual intercourse it is safe to remove the sponge. Relax and put your finger into the vagina to reach the string circle.
  • With your thumb and forefinger placed on the string circle, pull the sponge and remove it from the vagina slowly and gently.
  • If you have any troubles removing the sponge try to wait and relax for a few seconds and then retry. If it is still impossible, do not hesitate to call your doctor or a health service.
  • Wash your hands after the removal of the device.
  • Do not take showers with the sponge inside the vagina.


Always remember to read the consumer information leaflet before use. And if you still have further questions, please consult your doctor or health advisor.

First visit to gynecologist

Taking care of your health is very important. Regular visits to your general practitioner as well as to a gynecologist are must if you care about your body and want to stay healthy. Specialists say that women need to see their gynecologist at least once a year since the beginning of their sexual life. Others say that it is important to have a first gynecological exam for women who have not yet started being sexually active but have reached the age of 18. And of course, in case a woman has problems with her reproductive system she needs to see her gynecologist at any age.
A gynecological examination is something that many women are afraid of before they actually have it for the first time. Here is a list of the things that are going to happen during your first visit to a gynecologist, including the preparation before it.

Before the Exam

When you decide to make an appointment with your gynecologist, do make sure that your visit will be during the middle of your menstrual cycle. Once the appointment is scheduled avoid having sexual intercourse, vaginal douche or putting anything, like tampons into your vagina two days before it. You are advised to think and write a list of any questions and queries you would like to ask your doctor. In addition, think of your choices when birth control method is concerned.

On the day of your scheduled exam you do not need to do anything special. You should shower normally with soap and water, avoiding talc or cream since it could affect test results. It is best for you to wear comfortable clothes in order to feel calm when you have to get undressed.

On the Day of the Exam

Before your examination a nurse may ask for urine and blood samples for the test. The nurse will also weigh and measure you and your blood pressure. Afterwards you will talk to your doctor, who will ask various questions about your previous medical history, your family history and past surgeries. It is also important for you to remember when your first period was and what it is like – whether it is regular, how long it lasts etc. It is important to tell your doctor whether you are sexually active or not. Feel free to ask any questions you want.

Your gynecologist will then ask you to undress and leave you alone in a room for a while. You will also be given a hospital gown or drape sheet, which will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. After you are ready, the doctor will ask you to sit on the examining table putting your feet in the foot rests.

Physical and External Genitalia Exams

Physical examination includes palpation of the breasts to check for any abnormalities, pelvic, abdominal and manual exams. The gynecologist will examine your external genitalia with latex gloves on. Your vulva will be examined for any pathologic symptoms. Physical examination should not be painful but if it is, you should tell your doctor straight away, since this could be a sign of certain pathology.

Speculum Examination

The speculum exam follows the physical examination. The gynecologist will insert a lubricated speculum into the vagina to check for any abnormalities like cysts, erosions, irritations and others. Before the speculum is inserted the doctor will first slip a finger into your vagina to find the cervix and detect the vaginal angle. 

During this exam the Pap smear is taken. This means that a few cells of your cervix will be swiped with a brush or spatula. This is not painful but may cause some spotting for the patient afterwards, which should not be painful either. The doctor will then collect samples for sexually transmitted diseases tests. Only then the speculum will be gently removed from a woman’s vagina and the examination will be over.

Bimanual Exam

During this part of gynecological examination the gynecologist will lubricate her/his two (second and third) fingers and put them into the vagina. The doctor will put another hand on the abdomen in order to palpate the uterus and ovaries and check for any swelling or growths.

Bimanual exam ends the gynecological examination, which normally takes not longer than 5 minutes. You may now remove your legs from the stirrups and get up from the examination table and get dressed.

After the Exam

You may ask any questions about your examination after it is over. The doctor can do some tests in the own laboratory, therefore you will be able to discuss the results of some tests on the same day. Results of the other tests performed may take a few days, and hence you will need to come back once again for them.

In case any treatment is needed the gynecologist will prescribe certain medications. He/she will also recommend you a method of birth control if you need one. Remember to ask any questions that you wish about your test results, choices of birth control, treatment or sexual life. Your gynecologist is there for you to help and give any information you need.

As you can see there is nothing to fear about the gynecological examination. If you still have any concerns about the exam, feel free to ask your friends, your sister or your mother as there is nothing embarrassing about it. And after you have had your first gynecological examination you will practically know that it is nothing extraordinary, uncomfortable but very informative and important for every woman. Remember, that staying healthy is taking care of your body and health.

Advantages and disadvantages of vaginal sponge

Using the contraceptive sponge correctly guarantees about 84 to 87% effective at preventing pregnancy. As it was mentioned, this contraception does not prevent the transmission of many sexually diseases, including herpes, HPV or HIV.
NOTICED: the contraceptive sponges can only be used once. After you use it, throw it away! Also, be attentive: the package has an expiration date. Do not use a sponge past its expiration date or you will risk pregnancy or infection!



  • easy to use;
  • does not perceptibly hinder sexual experience;
  • effective immediately if used correctly;
  • small and inexpensive;
  • can be obtained at most drugstores;
  • there is no big need to see a doctor before using the sponge;
  • can be inserted up to an hour before sex, effective for 24 hours;
  • with each wearing wearer can have intercourse an unlimited number of times.




  • no protection against sexually transmitted diseases;
  • purely effective;
  • side effects may be dangerous;
  • limited availability;
  • some women cannot easily reach their cervix and must choose a different form of contraception; can be difficult to insert properly and remove;
  • may increase the risk for urinary tract infection, toxic shock syndrome, vaginal infection or inflammation of the cervix;
  • the spermicides in the contraceptive sponge can make performing oral sex on the wearer unsavory;
  • many people have complained about the "numbing" effect of the sponge.


Contraceptive patch

A contraceptive patch, or just the patch, is one of the newest forms of hormonal birth control for women. Although it came into the market just a few years ago, the patch became very popular among women of reproductive age. It is an efficient, easy to use and safe form of hormonal contraception.

Although a contraceptive patch was found to be highly effective in birth control, there are certain factors that may affect its efficiency. Effectiveness of the patch may decrease with the improper use. In addition, women who weigh more than 198 pounds should choose other form of birth control as efficiency of the patch may be reduced. Birth control efficiency may decrease when other certain drugs are taken at the same time. These include antifungals, seizure medications and possibly antibiotics. Always ask your doctor about drug interactions with a contraceptive patch. Vomiting and diarrhea usually does not interfere with contraceptive efficiency of the patch.

A contraceptive patch works in the same way like the birth control pill. It contains a combination of two hormones – estrogen and progestin. These hormones inhibit ovulation in the ovary and no egg is released, therefore, pregnancy becomes impossible. They also thicken the cervical mucus, so that it is hard for sperm to reach the uterus. And the last action of hormones in the patch is that they make the uterine lining thinner, preventing implantation of a fertilized egg from occurring. The main difference between the birth control pill and a contraceptive patch is in the way hormones get into the bloodstream. In the patch a combination of estrogen and progestin is absorbed through skin from a contraceptive patch and then gets into the bloodstream. Whereas being on the pill, these hormones enter the bloodstream through gastrointestinal system, therefore the hormonal concentration in the bloodstream depends very much on the state of gastrointestinal system.

How to use a contraceptive patch?

A birth control patch should be applied on the first day of a menstrual cycle. No other method is needed for contraception when the patch is applied. You should place a contraceptive patch on the areas that are not rubbed by clothing. Showering, bathing should not affect the patch but it is a good idea to check everyday whether the patch is in place. You should reapply the patch every week on a different area. For instance, if the first patch was placed on the right buttock the other patch should be applied on the left one. If a contraceptive patch comes off, place a new one within 24 hours. No other method of contraception is needed. If the patch comes off for more than 24 hours, you should start a new cycle and should use an additional method of birth control for one week.