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 vagina where it slowly releases two 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 you usually cannot feel the ring once it is in. The user inserts and removes the ring themselves and most users 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 user goes 1 week (7 days) without a ring. Usually the user starts her period within a few days of taking the ring out. At the end of the ring-free week, the user inserts another ring to begin a new cycle.
The ring should be left in place during sex. Most people do not notice it during intercourse. Even if someone does notice it, it usually isn’t too bothersome.
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. The use of condoms is also recommended.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF USING THE RING?
- 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 (such as resistance to acne), although further research is needed in this area
- 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. If it does come out, simply reinsert immediately and there will be no loss in contraception
HOW WOULD I KNOW IF I WAS HAVING A SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEM RELATED TO THE RING?
Call your doctor immediately or go to the nearest medical treatment centre if you have any of the following:
A – Abdominal pain, severe
C – Chest pain (severe); cough; or shortness of breath
H – Headaches (severe) or increased frequency or intensity of headache, dizziness, weakness, or numbness
E – Eye problems: vision loss of blurring, speech problems
S – Severe leg pain in calf or thigh
HOW TO BOOK AND PREPARE YOURSELF FOR AN APPOINTMENT
Booking an appointment with us is easy! Give us a call at 902.455.9656 ext. 0. You will be speaking with either a volunteer or a medical administrator. We cannot book appointments over email or Facebook. You cannot book an appointment for someone else, even if they are your partner or child. We will need to speak with them directly. To book, we will need your full name, birth date, phone number, and a very brief reason for your visit. That’s it! The person on the phone will outline anything you need to know to prepare for your appointment. For most general appointments, we run very short waitlists! While this is not a guarantee, we can often book you in the same or next week from the day you call.
Make sure you bring your valid provincial health card with you to your appointment. Clients without health cards are subject to doctors and lab fees.
Are you a youth? You do not need parental consent for any of our appointments.
Don’t have access to or lost your health card? You are entitled to your health card information! Call MSI toll-free at 1-800-563-8880 (in Nova Scotia) or at 902-496-7008 from Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. We require the number and the expiry date. Another tip: take a picture of your card! You will never lose it again!