“I just started using the ring as my primary form of contraception. I took my old ring out in preparation for the new one in a week, and my period started 3 days later. It was almost over by the time I put the new one in. How does the ring completely prevent ovulation if you don’t put it in on your period and the ring-free week has no hormones?”
The easy answer is that the ring, like other birth control products, tricks the body into thinking that it is pregnant. This “trickery” occurs when the hormones in the ring (progestin and estrogen) are absorbed into the bloodstream from the walls of the vagina and keeps the ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also cause the cervical mucus to thicken, which keeps sperm from meeting with and fertilizing an egg. When the ring is removed, the body thinks that an egg was not fertilized and sheds the lining of the uterus. And so the cycle begins again with the reinsertion of a ring.