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It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...a new vaginal ring!

Is that an estrogen-free contraceptive ring we see on the horizon?

If you’ve ever wondered why there’s only one vaginal ring on the U.S. market, brace yourself—more options may finally be coming our way. Researchers from the Dominican Republic, Chile, the U.S., and Edinburgh are collaborating on studies of a new kind of vaginal ring—one without any estrogen. This promising new ring, which is still in the early stages of development, contains ullipristal acetate, the same drug found in the emergency contraceptive ella. We know from other studies that, taken as a pill, this drug can prevent ovulation and periods. So the international research team is trying to get the right amount of the drug into a vaginal ring similar in size and flexibility to the NuvaRing.

This ullipristal acetate ring would be different from the NuvaRing in some important ways. In addition to preventing pregnancy, it will likely have the benefits of less menstrual bleeding and zero estrogen-related side effects (like headaches and breast tenderness). We’ve got our ear to the ground on this one, so stay tuned for more information.

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