The NuvaRing® is a new and different kind of birth control. It is a flexible contraceptive ring that is about two inches in diameter and is used to prevent pregnancy. You insert the NuvaRing® into your vagina just once a month. The muscles in your vaginal wall will keep the NuvaRing® in place for three weeks. During that time, it will slowly release a low dose of hormones that are needed to prevent pregnancy. When 21 days are completed, you simply remove the NuvaRing® to allow your body to have its normal menstrual cycle. After a seven-day break, you insert a new ring to continue to be protected against pregnancy.
How does it work?
The NuvaRing® contains two types of hormones, estrogen and progestin (just like the pill), that prevents your ovaries from producing mature eggs. The NuvaRing® provides benefits similar to oral contraceptives, but without the daily pill-taking routine. The hormone release is activated by contact with the vagina. The walls of your vagina absorb the hormones and they flow into your bloodstream. Because of this method of administration, you get 99% effectiveness (when used as directed) with a low dose of hormones. The NuvaRing® provides low and steady hormone delivery. This steady, consistent release means that the NuvaRing® has fewer hormonal ups and downs than daily or weekly birth control methods.
How to insert NuvaRing®
Step 1: Remove the NuvaRing® from the pouch. Each NuvaRing® comes in a resealable foil pouch. After washing and drying your hands, remove the NuvaRing® from the pouch. (Keep the pouch for disposing of the used contraceptive ring.)
Step 2: Find a comfortable position. Choose a position that's most comfortable for you. Try lying down, squatting, or standing with one leg up.
Step 3: Hold the NuvaRing® between your thumb and index finger. Press the opposite sides of the NuvaRing® together.
Step 4: Gently push the folded ring into your vagina. The exact position of the NuvaRing® in the vagina is not important for it to work, and the muscles of the vagina should keep it securely in place.
How to remove your NuvaRing®
Remove the ring three weeks after insertion. You can remove the NuvaRing® by hooking your index finger under the forward rim, or, by holding the rim between your index and middle finger and pulling it out.
Place your used ring in the foil pouch and dispose of it out of the reach of children and pets. Do not throw it in the toilet.
Your menstrual period will usually start two to three days after your ring is removed and may not have finished before the next ring is inserted. To continue to have pregnancy protection, you must insert the new ring one week after the last one was removed, even if your menstrual period has not stopped.
Side Effects of the NuvaRing®
The common side effects reported by NuvaRing® users are:
- Vaginal infections and irritation
- Vaginal discharge (leukorrhea)
- Headache Upper respiratory tract infection
- Weight gain
In addition to the risks and side effects listed above, users of other hormonal contraceptives have reported the following side effects:
- Vomiting Change in appetite
- Abdominal cramps and bloating
- Breast tenderness or enlargement
- Irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Temporary infertility after treatment
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Spotty darkening of the skin, particularly on the face
- Rash Weight changes
- Depression Intolerance to contact lenses
The NuvaRing® (when used as directed) has been proven to be 99% effective, the same as the pill.
In surveys with thousands of women, 98% found NuvaRing® comfortable. In these same surveys, 8 out of 10 partners did not feel NuvaRing®, and those who did generally did not mind.
What if you miss a period while using the NuvaRing®?
You must check to be sure that you are not pregnant if:
- You miss a period and the NuvaRing® was out of the vagina for more than 3 hours during the 3 weeks of use
- You miss a period and waited longer than one week to insert a new ring
- You have followed the instructions and you miss two periods in a row
- You have left NuvaRing® in place for longer than four weeks
If you know or suspect that you’re pregnant, do not use the NuvaRing®.