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The use of birth control rings comes with many controversial opinions when it comes to their safety, contraindications, and side effects. Birth control rings are, in essence, hormonal contraceptives, and women use them mainly to prevent pregnancy. They are efficient for pregnancy prevention in over 95% of cases if used properly. However, women who use them for a longer period may experience mild to serious side effects. Let’s see what the crucial facts and concerns are when it comes to using contraceptive vaginal rings.

How Do Birth Control Rings Work?

There are several types of contraceptive vaginal rings, depending on their composition. They usually contain hormones which are analogs of estrogen, progesterone, or a mixture of these two.

The gradual release of these hormones creates such an environment in the uterus that any fertilized egg is very unlikely to implant in the uterine wall and continue the embryonic development. The body absorbs hormones into the bloodstream, similar to the mechanism of oral contraceptive pills, but the advantage is that they can remain in the vagina longer. When using tablets, there is always a chance of missing a dose. This risk is reduced with birth control rings, as well.

One of the most commonly used brands, which contains a mixture of progestins and estrogens, is NuvaRing. The manufacturer claims that its efficacy is higher than 98%.

Side Effects And Risks Of Using Birth Control Rings

As the mechanism of action of birth control rings is the same as with oral contraceptive pills, similar side effects and risks are associated with using contraceptive vaginal rings. Some of the most common side effects of birth control rings include headaches, nausea, and weight disturbances. There are also side effects related to the vaginal application, such as vaginal infections and urinary tract infections.

The most pronounced and the most frightening issue related to using estrogen analogs is the increased chance of blood coagulation disturbances, which can lead to the creation of blood clots. In some cases, this results in stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis of the leg veins, etc.

Stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis of the leg veins and increased chance of blood coagulation are the reasons why persons with coagulation problems and increased cardiovascular risk should never use contraceptive methods which include hormonal therapy.

Birth Control Rings And Weight Disturbances

There are many studies conducted on the topic of whether contraceptive pills and vaginal rings cause weight changes. It turns out that products containing estrogen contribute to the weight gain much more than products which contain a mixture of progestins and estrogens. Some women even reported weight loss when using products containing progestins.

However, there is reason to consider biased results of studies with such results. Namely, many women start using vaginal rings or oral contraceptives after pregnancy and breastfeeding, while they are still even slightly overweight. Losing extra weight after pregnancy is a natural process and may have nothing to do with the contraceptive therapy. Also, with a baby to care for, lifestyle changes are inescapable, and they may have a much greater impact on weight loss than the use of products for hormonal contraception.

Still, more research on the topic of safety and contraindications of birth control rings is necessary, but they are surely becoming a growing trend, due to easier use and better compliance compared oral contraceptive pills.

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