Side Effects

Some users report the following:

  • Changes in bleeding patterns, including:
    • Lighter bleeding and fewer days of bleeding
    • Irregular bleeding
    • Infrequent bleeding
    • Prolonged bleeding
    • No monthly bleeding
  • Headaches
  • Irritation, redness, or inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis)
  • White vaginal discharge

Known Health Benefits and Health Risks

Long-term studies of the vaginal ring are limited, but researchers expect that its health benefits and risks are like those of combined oral contraceptives (see Chapter 1 – Combined Oral Contraceptives, section on Side Effects, Health Benefits and Health Risks). Evidence to date has not shown adverse effects.


Medical eligibility criteria, guidelines for when to start, and helping continuing users for the combined ring are the same as for combined oral contraceptives and the combined patch. (See Chapter 1 – Combined Oral Contraceptives.)

For definitions of bleeding patterns, see “vaginal bleeding” in the Glossary.