Vaginal ring vs Hormonal coil (IUS)

Need help choosing? Speak to a doctor
Vaginal ring

£From £0.41/day

Hormonal coil (IUS)

Our doctors are here to help

Overview

Rated 3.7

45 reviews

Every 3 weeks

Frequency

91% - 99+%

Effectiveness

Increased

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Rated 3.5

740 reviews

Every 3-8 years

Frequency

Over 99%

Effectiveness

None

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Vaginal ring ingredients

Main hormones in Vaginal ring

progestogen

oestrogen


Hormonal coil (IUS) ingredients

Main hormones in Hormonal coil (IUS)

progestogen

What Lowdown reviewers say

Benefits: What this contraceptive can help with

Acne or bad skin

Heavy periods

PMS and PMDD

PCOS symptoms

Period pain

Adenomyosis

Endometriosis

Heavy periods

Menopause

Period pain

Try it now

£From £0.41/day

Try it now

Our doctors are here to help

Check out our latest reviews

Real life reviews from people like you

Vaginal ring reviews

45 reviews

Used for 3 - 6 mo
33 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  18th Nov 23

  •  Still using

Things started out really well. No side effects and I didn't take ring breaks so no periods. My skin got less greasy so I got fewer spots, and I had 3 months blissfully free of painful period diarrhoea. Sadly after 3 months I started to get breakthrough bleeding every day and minor versions of my old period symptoms like back pain, cramps, and digestive upsets started to flare up. I tried removing my ring but that just made it worse and within 4 hours I was having a bad time on the loo and put a new ring in just to make it stop. The new ring helped, but now I feel kind of trapped having a constant mini period all the time with no alternative since the only pill that worked for me in the past has been discontinued, and progesterone only contraceptives have never agreed with me, so nothing else seems as convenient as the ring. All in all, bit of a mixed bag.

Read more

Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  7th Oct 23

  •  Still using

Switched to the vaginal ring after using the pill. When first trying it I could feel some pressure in my lower abdomen but this feeling passed after 1 day and havent had it again since using it. The first 2 periods I had were shorter but heavier than usual but after each period (basically the break week) each period got lighter and my 3rd period was lighter than my usual. Apart from that no other side effects - the above ones I experienced I would say linked to my body adjusting to a new contraception (similar to the pill where they tell you the first 3 months you may experience some side effects). I dont feel as moody as when I was on the pill and the great thing is I dont need to remember to take something everyday so the peace of mind is an additional benefit.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  10th Sep 23

  •  Still using

I've been using the ring for almost a year now and so far it's been working rlly well for me. I pretty much forget it's there when it's in and its rlly easy to change. It's the first hormonal contraceptive I've used so I was extremely apprehensive about it but slowly I've got used to the idea and now it's just a normal part of my routine. The side effects I've experience are minimal and very manageable. A slight decrease in sex drive particularly a couple of months in, and a very slight increase in weight but both are managable and Ive gotten used to. My periods are really regular and I have very little period pain which is great. I would really recommend giving this method a go, overall I'm very glad I did.


Top side effects not reported

1 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
33 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  18th Nov 23

  •  Still using

Things started out really well. No side effects and I didn't take ring breaks so no periods. My skin got less greasy so I got fewer spots, and I had 3 months blissfully free of painful period diarrhoea. Sadly after 3 months I started to get breakthrough bleeding every day and minor versions of my old period symptoms like back pain, cramps, and digestive upsets started to flare up. I tried removing my ring but that just made it worse and within 4 hours I was having a bad time on the loo and put a new ring in just to make it stop. The new ring helped, but now I feel kind of trapped having a constant mini period all the time with no alternative since the only pill that worked for me in the past has been discontinued, and progesterone only contraceptives have never agreed with me, so nothing else seems as convenient as the ring. All in all, bit of a mixed bag.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  7th Oct 23

  •  Still using

Switched to the vaginal ring after using the pill. When first trying it I could feel some pressure in my lower abdomen but this feeling passed after 1 day and havent had it again since using it. The first 2 periods I had were shorter but heavier than usual but after each period (basically the break week) each period got lighter and my 3rd period was lighter than my usual. Apart from that no other side effects - the above ones I experienced I would say linked to my body adjusting to a new contraception (similar to the pill where they tell you the first 3 months you may experience some side effects). I dont feel as moody as when I was on the pill and the great thing is I dont need to remember to take something everyday so the peace of mind is an additional benefit.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  10th Sep 23

  •  Still using

I've been using the ring for almost a year now and so far it's been working rlly well for me. I pretty much forget it's there when it's in and its rlly easy to change. It's the first hormonal contraceptive I've used so I was extremely apprehensive about it but slowly I've got used to the idea and now it's just a normal part of my routine. The side effects I've experience are minimal and very manageable. A slight decrease in sex drive particularly a couple of months in, and a very slight increase in weight but both are managable and Ive gotten used to. My periods are really regular and I have very little period pain which is great. I would really recommend giving this method a go, overall I'm very glad I did.


Top side effects not reported

1 helpful

0 comments


Hormonal coil (IUS) reviews

740 reviews

Used for 1 - 3 mo
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Still using

I never leave reviews but felt like I needed to because I was terrified of getting this, I’ve always struggled with hormonal acne, thrush and am incredibly susceptible to drastic mood changes due to birth control. This was my last hope as the pill never agreed with me and I didn’t want the heavy bleeding from the copper coil. The insertion was really not even bad it did hurt a bit but was over so fast, I even went for a walk with my friend that evening and was absolutely fine! I had some cramps and bleeding for a few days after but nothing major and since I have had no side effects except a late and very light period that’s it! So please don’t be as terrified was after hearing so many horror stories, I was completely fine :)


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Still using

In my teens/early 20s I was on the combined pill, but decided to stop and never go back to it as I felt it messed with my body and mood too much. Getting the IUS was the best decision I made. It was quite uncomfortable during insertion but the doctor put me at ease. I got quite a few cramps in the first few days but it quickly settled down. Periods are much lighter to the point where they are barely there, with only the occasional short-lived cramping. I haven’t noticed any particular side effects that affect me. I can forget about contraception for 5 years which is fantastic! Although this has hormones in I am happy that it is a much lower dose than some of the other options. Would definitely recommend and get it again in the future.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Stopped using

Overall helped to regulate my periods, but also had significant side effects on my food intake/weight and on my energy levels.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 1 - 3 mo
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Still using

I never leave reviews but felt like I needed to because I was terrified of getting this, I’ve always struggled with hormonal acne, thrush and am incredibly susceptible to drastic mood changes due to birth control. This was my last hope as the pill never agreed with me and I didn’t want the heavy bleeding from the copper coil. The insertion was really not even bad it did hurt a bit but was over so fast, I even went for a walk with my friend that evening and was absolutely fine! I had some cramps and bleeding for a few days after but nothing major and since I have had no side effects except a late and very light period that’s it! So please don’t be as terrified was after hearing so many horror stories, I was completely fine :)


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Still using

In my teens/early 20s I was on the combined pill, but decided to stop and never go back to it as I felt it messed with my body and mood too much. Getting the IUS was the best decision I made. It was quite uncomfortable during insertion but the doctor put me at ease. I got quite a few cramps in the first few days but it quickly settled down. Periods are much lighter to the point where they are barely there, with only the occasional short-lived cramping. I haven’t noticed any particular side effects that affect me. I can forget about contraception for 5 years which is fantastic! Although this has hormones in I am happy that it is a much lower dose than some of the other options. Would definitely recommend and get it again in the future.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Stopped using

Overall helped to regulate my periods, but also had significant side effects on my food intake/weight and on my energy levels.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 5 - 8 yr
23 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

  •  Still using

I’ve had the mirena coil for about 7 years now and had 2 fitted. The first one worked like a dream, hardly noticed it. Since having a new one fitted over a year ago the side effects have been increasingly annoying. Acne for about 2 weeks per month, and I was never spotty before, not even as a teenager. Also period cramps, but it has completely stopped my period. Also migraines with aura, although I did suffer from these in the past, I’m not sure if they have just gotten worse or if it is the new coil. I’m very disappointed as, like I said, the first one gave me no issues at all.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
32 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  1 month ago

  •  Stopped using

After being on and off oral contraceptives (most of the time cyproterone acetate 2.00 mg and ethinylestradiol tablets 35 mcg) I found moving to a hormonal IUD to be a total game-changer. Positives: Predominantly for my moods and the feeling of being in tune with my body (less water retention etc.). Although my hormonal prone acne got worse for a period of time (2-3 months), this eventually came right. I also lost the positive anti-androgen effects that I was on the pill for. I would say the improvement in mood was so significant for this alone it was worth switching the IUD. Other benefits; not having to think about the pill every day and going from heavy bleeding to light and then non-existent bleeding. Negatives: After nearly 1 year and a half of having the IUD I had a recurring UTI and several courses of antibiotics. I developed lower abdominal pain, bloating, pain after sex and thrush. This would come and go. Results only came back with BV. My gynaecologist suggested a course of Uro-Vaxom (3 months). This didn't resolve my symptoms so I suggested I would like to remove the IUD to see if it would help getting my periods back to rebalance my vaginal microbiome. After removing the IUD and two menstrual cycles later, all my symptoms were gone. I would still highly recommend this contraception - I had zero problems and only benefits up until the UTI and antibiotics.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
22 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  11th Mar 24

  •  Stopped using

Do not recommend! The procedure was traumatic to say the least, the aftermath even worse, plus the serious weight gain was unimaginable. Only benefit was no periods and forgot it was even there after a while. I wasn't fully aware of what the procedure entailed - I wished I did my research/ the doctors should be more informative. My recommendation is it should not be your first choice of contraception. The procedure itself was very painful, quick, but very painful - I passed out. The procedural pain is a forgettable pain tbh but the aftermath pain I will never forget. I was told I will get "period like cramps" afterwards. The cramps started immediately after the procedure and it was the worst "period cramps" I had ever experienced. I felt like my uterus was being ripped apart, the nausea, the dizziness, I was shaking from shock. I had to crawl out the surgery back to my car - thankfully wasn't driving as the pain just progressively got worse. The "period cramps" were more like labour pains and went on for 2 hours afterwards. The next day I was fine - small cramping continued for weeks after but then eventually went away. All the pain would of been worth it if I didn't gain the amount of weight I did. Within 6 months I went from a UK size 8 to a UK size 14. The weight was rapid - I have the stretch marks all over my lower half to prove it. I go to intense exercise classes twice a week and have a personal trainer and the weight will not shift! I did research (little late) and apparently the Mirena coil typically doesn't affect your weight but yet when I speak to other women most claimed they gained a serious amount of weight because of it. Overall I'm getting it taken out in a week and I'll be glad to see it gone. Hopefully the weight can be lost. And for those thinking about it - DO YOUR RESEARCH and don't be scared to ask your doctor a million questions - I wish I did.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 5 - 8 yr
27 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  8th Mar 24

  •  Still using

I now have my second mirena coil. I have no periods, but I can still track my monthly cycle through variations in my mood, hunger and energy levels. I have had no periods or bleeding since the first insertion, have now no pain and don't have to think about contraception at all, which for me is ideal. For me the insertions weren't easy - both inserted without any anaesthetic or pain relief (the places I went didn't offer it even when asked) other than paracetemol and ibuprofen. Insertion for me was painful, leaving me light headed and feeling quite sick following which I had stabbing pains and cramps for about a week each time. However, other than the week after insertion both times, I have no pain, bleeding or unpredictable hormonal fluctuations.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
28 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  4th Mar 24

  •  Stopped using

Getting the kyleena coil inserted was quite painful. I got very intense cramps the moment it was inserted and I felt quite light-headed and a bit sick. The cramping lessened a bit after 5 mins or so but continued for the next few days. I bled for a few days after insertion but it wasn't heavy or anything. Positives: My periods became super light. I barely needed to use any period products - I would just wear period pants for the first 2 days then use nothing. Negatives: Cramping leading up to my period got worse. I got quite bad breast tenderness - a symptom I'd never had prior to the coil. I seemed to get thrush more frequently than before and also had a lot of vaginal dryness. The main negative for me was that I would start getting extremely anxious 1-2 weeks before my period was due. I'd regularly break down crying, read too much into things that people said, be very self-conscious, constantly worry about everything and not want to go out to any social events. I had never experienced anything this extreme before getting the coil. The doctor told me these feelings didn't have anything to do with the coil (she did say there's a small chance it amplified feelings that were already there. I chose to take the coil out anyway just to see, for my own peace of mind. It's like night and day. I got the coil out while I was on my period and the weeks leading up to my next period I did not experience any of these symptoms, and this has continued to be the case since I got the coil out 7 months ago.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  28th Feb 24

  •  Stopped using

I moved to the mirena coil after my doctor would no longer prescribe me the pill i was on and it was the worst decision I ever made. My sex drive was non existent & sex was v painful (my partner could also feel it.), my skin went crazy and I had acne all over my chin and back, I gained weight suddenly and my mood was v unpredictable.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
26 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  25th Feb 24

  •  Still using

I suffer from low moods very often and definitely have not felt like myself for a long while and it has correlated with since I had this coil put in.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Contraceptive alternatives and comparisons

Compare the Vaginal ring with other contraceptives

Order online

Order online now

Use our online prescription in under 5 mins

  • No GP appointment needed

  • Free standard delivery

  • Set up a subscription and never run out

Speak to a doctor

Not sure yet? Speak to a doctor

Schedule an appointment now

87% of women are happier with their contraceptive choice after speaking with one of The Lowdown's doctors

The Lowdown

Women's health, reviewed.

Get the best women’s health info in your inbox

You are signing up to receive The Lowdown's latest findings and news in women's health. Your data will be used in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie policy

Built by doctors and experts

Our tools are made by medical professionals for your peace of mind

Pharmacy services provided by Phlo Technologies Ltd. GPhC reg number: 9011171

When you click on some links on this site, we may get a small affiliate commission