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What You Need to Know About the Etonogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Vaginal Ring

How Does Etonogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Vaginal Ring Work?

Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring works like combined oral contraceptives (birth control pills that contain both an estrogen and a progesterone). Mostly, it prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, it also prevents pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring alters the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Lastly, etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.

Etonogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Vaginal Ring Effects

Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring was shown to be an effective birth control method in three large clinical trials. In these studies, for every 100 women who used the vaginal ring for a year, one or two became pregnant. This is very effective, compared to many other methods of contraception. For instance, as many as 14 percent of women using condoms for a year will become pregnant.

When and How to Use Etonogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Vaginal Ring

General considerations for when and how to use etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring include the following:
  • Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring comes as a small, flexible ring. It is inserted into the vagina once a month.
  • Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring is left in place for three weeks, after which it is removed for a ring-free week, during which you will usually have your period.
  • It does not matter where exactly etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring is in the vagina. However, if you feel discomfort, it was probably not inserted far enough. Most women do not feel it after insertion.
  • Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring cannot get lost inside your body. It is too large to be passed through the cervix.
  • Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring can be used along with tampons, although you should be aware that tampon removal can also remove the ring.
  • If the ring comes out, in most cases you should simply rinse it with cool or lukewarm water and reinsert it. In some circumstances, you may need to use a backup method of contraception for seven days.
  • Dispose of the ring in the foil pouch, out of reach of pets and children. Do not flush the etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
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