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Want Spontaneity in Your Sex Life: Try The Vaginal Ring
For a lay couple in Indian context contraceptive options speak for condoms, Oral pills or Intra-uterine contraceptive device. Other options such as injectables are slowly gaining popularity. However, a breakthrough contraceptive option has emerged in America and Europe, ie The vaginal ring. It’s a form of birth control for women that you can insert internally for three weeks and then remove it to allow for a week of menstruation. It is a flexible (non-latex) ring that is discreet, usually undetectable only to the user and allows intercourse to be more spontaneous and relaxed. The vaginal ring also alleviates the concerns associated with contraceptives such as the IUD that the product may rise in the uterus, as the cervix prevents the ring from entering the uterus.
How does it work?
For ease of understanding, the vaginal ring works much like regular birth control pills. The mode of action of the vaginal ring is as follows:
- It releases estrogen and progestin, the two hormones naturally produced by your body, into the bloodstream, thereby preventing ovulation (an ovary releasing a monthly egg).
- The vaginal ring prevents sperm from entering the uterus by thickening the cervical mucus. Therefore offer two-step protection.
How effective is it?
When used properly, the ring is found to be more effective than an oral birth control pill (99%+). Although you should check with a health professional about the correct use and disposal.
When do I start using the ring?
If youare using the ring for the first time, insert the ring between day one and five of your period, even if you have not finished bleeding. Count the first day of your period as day one. You must use a condom during every act of intercourse for the first seven days in the first ring cycle.
When can I remove the ring?
Remove the ring three weeks after insertion, at about the same time of day, if possible. Place it in the foil envelope where it was originally packed and throw away. Contraceptive protection continues throughout the ring-free week. Just seven days after removing the old ring, insert a new one. It is recommended that you insert and remove at the same time of day every month.
Who can’t use the ring?
Women with high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and migraine headaches with aura or neurological symptoms should not use the ring or consult with your doctor for eligibility.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.
A – Abdominal pain (severe)
C – Chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood
H – Headache (severe), numbness or weakness in arms or legs
E- Eye problems (loss of vision, blurred, flashing lights)
The vaginal ring can benefit a patient in several ways:
- once a month birth control (other than a daily pill)
- Very discreet and private; no one can see it or know you are wearing it.
- Easily reversible – No waiting time. Ovulation returns quickly when use of the ring is discontinued.
- Like a birth control patch, low-dose hormones are continuously and evenly absorbed into the bloodstream, keeping side effects to a minimum.
- Thick cervical mucus helps reduce the risk of pelvic inflammatory infections.
- Reduced risk of developing ovarian cysts
- Reduced risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer
- Vomiting and diarrhea should not interfere with the effectiveness of the ring.
- Shorter, lighter periods (reduced risk of developing anemia)
- Reduced premenstrual symptoms (usually)
Are there side effects?
Thing to keep in mind is that, it is a form of hormonal contraceptive option and like other forms of birth control methods that contain hormones, there are side effects to consider when using the vaginal ring. They include:
- Possible weight gain, nausea, vomiting, and/or breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Spotting between periods
- Possible increased susceptibility to vaginal infections
- Increased menstrual cramps (rare)
More serious side effects, although less common, may include:
- an increased risk of developing blood clots in the legs, heart, lungs or brain
- an increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack
- an increased risk of developing breast cancer
Check with a doctor for the actual percentage risk. The probability of some serious risks is high if a patient is over 35 and smokes. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular complications and is greater if a woman smokes more than 15 cigarettes daily and increases significantly if she is also over 35 years old. Women are advised to stop smoking if they use any form of hormonal contraception.
It is important to discuss the benefits versus the side effects of the ring with your doctor. Not every patient is a good candidate for the vaginal ring. Together, you and your doctor can determine your best choice for birth control. Therefore, make an informed choice to enjoy long-term benefits and enjoy marital bliss without worrying about unwanted pregnancy!
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