Side effects of the ring

As the ring uses the same hormones as the combined pill, we expect it to have similar effects on the body. Like the pill, the ring affects each person differently. Some people will experience side effects, and others won’t.

It’s best to keep a record of any symptoms that you’re worried about. These side effects are not bad for your health, but they can be hard to live with.

Common side effects 

Commonly reported side effects include headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness.

Less common side effects

Weight gain

Some people say they gain weight on the vaginal ring, but so far there’s no evidence linking weight gain directly with the ring.

Lower sex drive

Some people report either a reduced or increased interest in sex, but again there’s no evidence linking changes in sex drive and the vaginal ring. It’s difficult to prove because many things can affect your libido.

Mood changes

Some people experience mood changes on the vaginal ring, but once more, there’s no consistent evidence to suggest that the ring causes depression.

We can look at research on the combined pill and mental health, though, because of the similar hormones used in the pill and the ring.

Evidence for it: An extensive Danish study found that people using the combined pill had a higher risk of being prescribed antidepressants by their doctor than those who didn’t use the pill.

Evidence against it: Studies in Australia, Finland and the US compared self-reported depression scores between users and non-users of the combined pill but found no consistent difference.

If you experience mood changes while using the ring, it’s important to record how you feel. This can help reveal any link between your mood, the ring or anything else in your life.

Rare side effects

While the oestrogen in the vaginal ring can make hair thicker, a rare side effect is that the progestogen can cause you to lose hair from your head.

Some people may experience a skin blemish called chloasma. Chloasma is a mark that appears over the cheek and nose as a response to changes in the hormones. It’s usually mild, but it may not go away even after stopping using the vaginal ring.

Everything you wanted to know about sexual health and wellbeing - your questions answered by our expert team.