Vaginal Ring

The vagi­nal Ring is small (2 inch­es), flex­i­ble, and made of non-latex plas­tic. You insert it into your vagi­na and keep it in for three weeks at a time. The Ring is then removed for sev­en days while you have your peri­od, and then rein­sert­ed for the next cycle. The Ring is eas­i­ly held in place by the walls of the vagi­na and most peo­ple don’t even feel that it’s there. You’ll need a pre­scrip­tion from your health care provider and you can pick it up at a pharmacy.

How to use it

To put it in, squeeze the Ring between your index fin­ger and thumb and insert it into your vagi­na. It doesn’t mat­ter where the Ring lies in the vagi­na as long as it’s com­fort­able. If you feel the Ring, push it in a lit­tle more. The pres­sure from your vagi­nal mus­cles will keep it in place. To remove the Ring, insert your index fin­ger into your vagi­na, hook your fin­ger through the Ring and pull it out. The Ring should stay inside your vagi­na at all times, even dur­ing sex and sports.

How it works

When the Ring comes into con­tact with your vagi­na, it releas­es the hor­mones estro­gen and prog­es­terone, which are then absorbed into your blood­stream. The Ring works in the same way as the Pill, by stop­ping the ovaries from pro­duc­ing eggs (ovu­la­tion), thick­en­ing cer­vi­cal mucus so sperm can’t enter, and thin­ning the wall of the uterus so a fer­til­ized egg can’t implant.


99% when used properly.


You only have to deal with it at the begin­ning and end of a three-week time frame. There are no dai­ly pills, nee­dles, or week­ly patch­es to think about. It will keep your men­stru­al cycle reg­u­lar, and may reduce your men­stru­al flow, acne, and dark body hair. The Ring is easy to insert and is com­plete­ly reversible (your peri­od will return after you stop using it).


The Ring doesn’t pro­tect against HIV or STIs. Side effects are the same as for the Pill: bleed­ing between peri­ods (spot­ting), ten­der breasts, headache, nau­sea or decreased sex dri­ve. You may also expe­ri­ence vagi­nal irri­ta­tion and increased vagi­nal secre­tions. Due to seri­ous car­dio­vas­cu­lar side effects from the hor­mones in the Ring, peo­ple who use it are high­ly advised not to smoke. If you have cer­tain health dis­or­ders or a his­to­ry of blood clots, you may not be pre­scribed the Ring.

Cost and coverage

The Ring is cov­ered by most pri­vate health insur­ance plans, but you should know that if you use your parent’s drug plan, they may be able to see that infor­ma­tion. It is also cov­ered by:

  • EIA/​social assistance
  • FNI­HB (First Nations sta­tus)FNI­HB needs to approve it before you get it (your health care provider will need to jus­ti­fy why you can’t use anoth­er kind of birth con­trol). You can call 2049838886 to make sure no one else can see your prescriptions.
  • Man­i­to­ba Phar­ma­care – If you have a Man­i­to­ba Health card and have no oth­er cov­er­age, there’s a good chance you can apply for Phar­ma­care to cov­er a good por­tion of your drug costs. Click here for more information.

If you don’t have any cov­er­age, you may be able to get the Ring for free from your health care provider’s office or clin­ic, or you can call Women’s Health Clin­ic (2049471517) for infor­ma­tion on their free/low-cost birth con­trol pro­gram. Oth­er­wise, the cost to just pur­chase the Ring is gen­er­al­ly between $47 and $61 for a 3‑month pack in Win­nipeg (that’s about $16-$20/month).*

* This infor­ma­tion is up-to-date as of 2019.