Note: Information provided on this page is for general education only, please seek medical assistance when in doubt
Vaginal rings also known as intravaginal rings, or simply V-Rings are polymeric drug delivery devices designed to provide controlled release of drugs for intravaginal administration over extended periods of time. The ring is inserted into the vagina and provides contraception protection.
The ring is worn continuously inside the Vagina for three weeks followed by a week off, each vaginal ring provides one month of birth control by slow release of hormones into the body, mainly vaginally administered estrogens and/or progestogens. These hormones stop ovulation and thicken the cervical mucus, creating a barrier preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg.
Several vaginal ring products are currently available, including:
Estring: Is a low-dose estradiol-releasing ring, manufactured from silicone elastomer, for the treatment of vaginal atrophy. Estring is inserted into the vagina and left in place for three months, after which it is removed and replaced with a fresh ring
Femring: Is a low-dose estradiol-acetate releasing ring, manufactured from silicone elastomer, for the relief of hot flashes and vaginal atrophy associated with menopause. Femring is inserted into the vagina and left in place for three months, after which it is removed and replaced with a fresh ring.
NuvaRing: Is a low-dose contraceptive vaginal ring, manufactured from polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate, and releasing etonogestrel (a progestin) ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen). NuvaRing is inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks, after which it is removed for a 'ring-free' week to allow menstruation to occur.
Progering, containing progesterone as a sole ingredient, is available only in Chile and Peru.
Vaginal rings can be easily inserted and removed; vaginal walls hold them in place. Although their exact location within the vagina is not critical for clinical efficacy, rings commonly reside next to the cervix. Rings are typically left in place during intercourse, and most couples report no interference or discomfort. In many cases, neither partner feels the presence of the ring. If desired the Rings can be removed prior to intercourse, but, in the case of the contraceptive Nuvaring, only for one to three hours to maintain efficacy of birth control.
Note: Hormonal contraceptives are associated with some health risk and women are advisable to consult their local health center before using them.