|Characteristic||Combined Oral Contraceptives||Monthly Injectables||Combined Patch||Combined Vaginal Ring|
|How it is used||Pill taken orally.||Intramuscular injection.||Patch worn on upper outer arm, back, abdomen or buttocks. Not on breasts.||Ring inserted in the vagina.|
|Frequency of use||Daily.||Monthly: Injection every 4 weeks.||Weekly: Patch is changed every week for 3 weeks. No patch worn 4th week.||Monthly: Ring kept in place for 3 weeks and taken out during 4th week.|
|Effectiveness||Depends on user's ability to take a pill every day.||Least dependent on the user. User must obtain
injection every 4 weeks (plus
or minus 7 days).
|Requires user's attention once a week.||Depends on user keeping the ring in place, not leaving it
out for more than 48 hours at a time.
|Bleeding patterns||Typically, irregular
bleeding for the
first few months
and then lighter
and more regular
|Irregular bleeding or no monthly bleeding is more common than with COCs. Also, some have prolonged bleeding in
the first few months.
|Similar to COCs, but irregular bleeding is more
common in the first few cycles than
|Similar to COCs, but
irregular bleeding is less common than
|Privacy||No physical signs of use but others may find the pills.||No physical signs of use.||Patch may be seen by partner or others.||Partner may be able to feel the