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.

Cervical cap

A cervical cap is a barrier method of birth control . The device is made of latex rubber or silicone and comes in different sizes. A cervical cap should be chosen by a gynecologist for each woman individually. This method of birth control works the same way like a diaphragm only that it is in a different shape and size – a cervical cap is smaller and more rigid than a diaphragm.

Directions for use

A cervical cap should be inserted into the vagina a few hours before having sex. Most women like it because they do not have to care about other methods of birth control during lovemaking. A cervical cap, a thimble-shaped instrument, is placed into the vagina manually and fits the cervix (the opening of a womb) via suction. Spermicides (cream or jelly) should be placed on a cap before placing it on the cervix. The cap blocks sperm from getting into the uterus while a spermicidal substance disables sperm from fertilizing an egg because sperm is destroyed. Bear in mind, that you may need to add more spermicidal cream if the cap is placed more than six hours before lovemaking. You may also need to apply more of this substance if you have sex more than one time during the session. You should also make sure that a cervical cap is in place during the time of sexual intercourse.

You should know that it is very important for a cervical cap to fit the cervix completely. Therefore you should get an appointment with your gynecologist during which your doctor will choose the size of the best fit for you and show you how to use a cervical cap properly. Different manufacturers offer several sizes for women who had never been pregnant, for those who had had a miscarriage or cesarean section, and those who had given vaginal birth to a baby.
Manufacturers recommend using a cervical cap for no longer than a year. After one year of usage, a new one should be bought and used. A cervical cap is a reusable form of contraception. You should be aware though that it is significant to check the cap for tears and holes, because those decrease the efficiency of this birth control method. It is also important to clean the device properly after every use to prevent from the growth of microorganisms on it.

A cervical cap is very easy to use for a woman herself. It can be placed onto the cervix not more than twenty-four hours before sexual intercourse. The cap should be filled with one-third of spermicidal substance. Then you should insert it into the vagina in such a way that it sucks to the cervix. The cap should not be taken out after less than eight hours. It can be left in the vagina not more than 48 hours after it has been placed onto the cervix. You may have more than one sexual intercourse during that period although you should make sure that the cap is steadily in place and add more spermicidal substance before each sexual act. After removal of a cervical cap, wash it properly with antibacterial hand soap and warm tap water, and then leave it for air dry.

Indications for use

There are certain indications that women should fulfill so that they can use a cervical cap. Firstly, women should use another method of birth control during menstrual period, since the cap cannot be used then. Be also aware that only women who have normal Pap smear findings can choose this form of contraception. It is highly recommended to avoid using the cap for women who had had a toxic shock syndrome before or had recently had urinary tract infection. Women, who are allergic to latex or silicone, are strictly not to use a cervical cap. Also women who had recently had given birth or had an abortion should choose another type of contraception . In addition, women who lack motivation in using a cervical cap or are uncomfortable with touching their genitals may have difficulties with this form of birth control.

The right fit

There are additionally some aspects for the right fit. The right fit is chosen by a gynecologist. What you should bear in mind is that your cervix might change and hence your cervical cap should be refitted at least once a year or due to some certain conditions even more often. Women, who had given birth, had an abortion or miscarriage should have their cervical caps refitted. In addition, those who had gained or lost at least five kilos should also have their barrier device refitted.

Efficiency of a cervical cap in birth control

The most important aspect of usage of a cervical cap is the efficacy of the device. Be aware, that the efficiency of a cervical cap depends very much on the proper use of the cap and motivation of a woman. Therefore a gynecologist should teach a woman to apply a cervical cap properly. The cap should also fit the cervix completely. The efficiency varies from 82.6% to 93.6% depending on the use of a cervical cap and manufacturer.
Bear in mind that a cervical cap, as well as a diaphragm, does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases. Some data show that some sexually transmitted diseases can be protected with the use of a cervical cap, except for HIV. However, you are highly recommended to use condoms not only for additional birth control but also for protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

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.

Possible side effects of cervical cap

A cervical cap is easy to use, and women, who use this device, are happy with the benefits they gain, but there are still a few side effects and risks associated with the use of this barrier contraceptive method.

There might be some inconvenience if you forget to remove the cap in time, and then there could be a risk for irritation and inflammation. Although cervical inflammation is very rare condition, it can still occur due to the growth of microorganisms on the cap. Therefore you must wash a cervical cap with antibacterial hand soap and rinse it with tap water after every use. It is also significant not to miss tears on the cap, since it diminishes the efficiency of a cervical cap for birth control. Since this barrier method of protection against pregnancy does not protect from HIV, additional barrier contraceptive methods are to be used during sexual intercourse.

Other disadvantage include the slip out of the cap during lovemaking. Therefore women could feel very uncomfortable and not relaxed during sexual intercourse, as they may worry about the position of a cervical cap in the vagina. Women should also be aware to use a water-based lubricant, if needed, since oil-based lubricants may decrease the efficacy of this birth control method . The correct position of the device is very important, so practicing how to place it correctly is actually not a bad idea.

Although a cervical cap is rather easy to use, it does not release hormones. This method of birth control is known to have very few side effects compared to other types of contraception.  It is especially convenient to women, who for some reason cannot or do not want to use a hormonal method of birth control. Even though there are a lot of women worldwide who choose a cervical cap for protection against pregnancy and they are happy and satisfied with it, you have the right to decide and choose what best for you is.

Difference between cervical cap and diaphragm

A cervical cap, a thimble-shaped device, is a barrier method of birth control , made of latex or silicone. A diaphragm is also a barrier method of birth control that is made of thin rubber and has a springy, flexible rim. Both these means of contraception act as a barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and should be used with addition of spermicidal cream or jelly.

The size of these devices

A cervical cap is smaller, more rigid and less noticeable to either partner than a diaphragm. It comes in four or three sizes (depending on a manufacturer) whereas a diaphragm can be of different sizes that are chosen by a professional health care provider.

Use of spermicidal substances

Spermicide needs to be placed only once before use of a cervical cap. It also requires less of this substance than a diaphragm, therefore, the cap is less messy and permits more pleasant oral sex.

Differences in application

A cervical cap should be placed onto the cervix not less than 8 hours before sexual intercourse, whereas a diaphragm should be placed into the vagina not less than 6 hours prior to lovemaking. The first device can be kept in the vagina longer than the other one. The cap can be left for up to 48 hours in the vagina, when a diaphragm should stay there no longer than 24 hours.

Efficiency in birth control

There is a difference in the efficiency of both these methods of birth control . Cervical caps are said to be of the efficacy against pregnancy from 82.6% to 93.6% depending on the use of a cervical cap and manufacturer. The failure rate of a diaphragm in protection against unexpected pregnancy may be as high as 20% with typical use. Although some studies show that there is no difference between the efficiency of these two means of birth control . Additionally, diaphragms are known to slip out of the vagina more easily than the caps. A cervical cap is a good option for women who are not able to use diaphragms due to weak vaginal muscle tone.

Medical safety

When medical safety is concerned both of these methods of birth control are known to be medically safe and approved for use by the FDA. However, a cervical cap is reported to have fewer side effects and risks. As a matter of fact, the cap is one of the safest means of contraception. When these devices are compared, a diaphragm is known to cause various urinary tract infections more often than a contraceptive cap . None of these barrier methods should be used if a woman has a history of Toxic Shock Syndrome or if either of the sexual partners is allergic to latex or silicone.

Prevention against STD’s

Remember that none of these birth control methods protect against sexually transmitted diseases, therefore, male condoms should be worn for prevention of STD’s.

Lea’s contraceptive

Lea’s Shield (or Lea’s contraceptive in Europe) is a barrier method of contraception designed for women. It is a hormone-free cup-shaped device made of medical grade silicone rubber. This mean of birth control is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix and block sperm during sexual intercourse. It is a washable and reusable form of barrier methods that can be reused for six months.

This birth control device has a round shape and smooth edges. Unlike other barrier contraceptive methods, Lea’s shield is provided in one size. Therefore, there is no need to be fitted for every woman’s anatomy like with diaphragms. It also has a valve in center, which does not allow sperm to enter the cervix but lets the cervical mucus through.

Lea’s contraceptive is easy to insert and to remove due to a special loop for insertion and removal. It is very easy to use and comfortable because of its flexible construction. Just like other barrier contraceptive devices this form of birth control stays in place via suction. It can be used either with or without spermicide . But this device is much less effective when used without spermicide.

Like other barrier contraceptives, Lea’s shield works creating a barrier for sperm. The device suctions up to the cervix covering it and part of the upper vagina completely. Thus, no sperm can enter the uterus and fertilize an egg, so pregnancy is not likely.

How to use Lea’s contraceptive?

Lea’s shield is very easy to use. It can be put into the vagina just like a tampon. Since it has a flexible structure, this device can e squeezed and gently inserted into the vagina, as far as it is comfortably possible. Just like with a tampon, you should not feel this contraceptive device in your vagina once it has been properly inserted. Use a special loop when you want to remove Lea’s shield.

This contraceptive device can be placed into the vagina anytime before having sex. Since, its efficiency is much higher when used with spermicide, it is highly recommended to put spermicide around the ring of the device. Then take the shield and insert it into the vagina, as described above.

To be effective in birth control, this device should be left in place for at least eight hours after sexual intercourse. However, you cannot leave Lea’s shield in your vagina for longer than 48 hours. Since most spermicides are efficient for up to eight hours, you must put additional spermicide if the device is left in the vagina for longer than eight hours but you are to have sexual intercourse.

After removing Lea’s shield you need to wash and dry it carefully. You can use water with soap to wash the device. Once you have washed it properly, leave it to dry on a clean, dry towel. Bear in mind, that you need to put this mean of birth control into a special protective case, which protects the shield from dirt and damaging.

The efficiency of Lea’s contraceptive in birth control is very similar to that of other barrier methods. If used properly this device has a failure rate from 10% to 15%. This rate is about 8% if the shield is used together with spermicides.

Lea’s contraceptive advantages

Lea’s shield offers a lot of advantages for women in birth control. First of all, since this is not a hormonal method of birth control, it does not affect women’s menstrual cycle nor has other side effects and complications associated with hormonal contraceptives. It comes in one size, and therefore, it fits every woman, and does not need to be fitted by a doctor. It can be reused for up to six months when washed. It is not an expensive contraceptive method, its price is about $70 per shield.

Lea’s contraceptive disadvantages

Despite all these advantages, just as all birth control methods, Lea’s contraceptive has a few disadvantages. As compared to other forms of birth control, such as hormonal contraceptives, the shield has a quite high failure rate. As it has to be used with spermicides, these can affect vaginal lining in a way that it is more disposed to infections, including yeast infection or sexually transmitted diseases. Just like other female barrier birth control methods , Lea’s shield does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases , including HIV. Therefore, you need to use condoms during every sexual intercourse. As the device has to be placed inside the vagina, there is a certain risk for vaginal or bladder infections.

There are almost no limitations for women, who want to use Lea’s shield for birth control . It is very suitable for breastfeeding mothers. Also for women who cannot or do not want to use hormonal contraceptives. Since the device is very easy to use, many women choose it instead of using a diaphragm or cervical cap. Finally, Lea’s contraceptive can be used as additional birth control method after forgetting to take the pill.

There are a lot of options for birth control. And all of them have both certain advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you, which method of contraception to use, Lea’s shield is one of the options.

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 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.