Contraceptive Ring (NuvaRing®)

WHAT IS IT?

The contraceptive ring may also be referred to by its brand name, NuvaRing, or as the vaginal ring, or simply, ‘the ring’. It is a soft, flexible, clear plastic ring that is inserted into a women’s vagina where it slowly releases two female hormones – estrogen and progestin – for three weeks.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The ring comes in only one size, and does not need to be in a particular position in the vagina to be effective. It is held in place by the walls of the vagina and a woman usually cannot feel the ring once it is in. The woman inserts and removes the ring herself and most women find this easy to do. Remember, the vagina is a closed space and there is no way for the ring to get “lost” or go anywhere else.

The ring is worn inside the vagina for 3 weeks. Then the woman goes 1 week (7 days) without a ring. Usually the woman starts her period within a few days of taking the ring out. At the end of the ring-free week, the woman inserts another ring to begin a new cycle.

The ring should be left in place during sex. Most men and women do not notice it during intercourse. Even if someone does notice it, it usually isn’t too bothersome.

For more information, please visit http://www.nuvaring.com/Consumer/index.asp

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

If used perfectly, NuvaRing is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy. Based on average use (e.g. forgetting to put a new one in), it is 92% effective. The NuvaRing does NOT offer any protection against STIs.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF USING THE RING

ADVANTAGES:

  • a reversible and highly effective birth control method
  • once-a-month regimen; no daily contraceptive routine required
  • may regulate menstrual cycle
  • does not interfere with intercourse
  • expected to provide other benefits similar to oral contraceptives, although further research is needed in this area

DISADVANTAGES:

  • contains hormones
  • may cause irregular bleeding or spotting
  • may cause breast sensitivity, headache, or nausea
  • does not protect against STIs
  • may cause vaginal discomfort
  • ring may be expelled from the vagina, but this is uncommon