What is NuvaRing?

NuvaRing is a type of hormonal birth control device. It is a small, clear and flexible plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy by releasing hormones into your body. The ring stays in place for 3 weeks and then is removed to allow menstruation to occur.  After menstruating one week, a new ring is inserted.  Do not store your Nuvaring over 86 degrees Fahrenheit as it may deactivate the medication.

The hormones in the NuvaRing prevent pregnancy in the following way:

  • Suppress ovulation, stopping your ovaries from releasing an egg
  • Make the mucus in the cervix thicker so that sperm can't get into the uterus to reach an egg
  • Make the uterus lining or endometrium thinner to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb, also known as implantation

Inserting and Removing the NuvaRing

To insert a NuvaRing, choose a position that is most suitable for you such as squatting, standing with one leg up or lying down. Next hold the NuvaRing between your thumb and index finger and press together the opposite sides of the ring so it folds. Insert the folded ring into your vagina and gently push it deep inside. You may also use the applicator to help insert the ring. It should not cause any persistent pain or discomfort if it is completely in the vagina. The ring should be kept in place for three weeks after insertion and then can be removed for one week.

To remove the NuvaRing, hook your index finger through the ring and gently pull it out by grasping the ring between your middle and index finger. To insert a new ring, you should wait one week to allow for menstruation.

Check your ring to make sure it is in place, particularly after sex. If it breaks you must replace it.

Advantages of the NuvaRing

Advantages include:

  • Lower maintenance than traditional birth control pills
  • Lower hormone dose to minimize side effects
  • Does not interfere with sex for most patients
  • Can help with premenstrual symptoms, lighten periods, and lessen period pains
  • Can lower the risk for ovarian cancer

Disadvantages of the NuvaRing

As with any procedure, the NuvaRing is associated with certain disadvantages which include:

  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Infection or irritation of the vagina
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Mood changes
  • Increase breast cancer risks
  • Blood clot , heart attack, or stroke (risk approximately 1:10,000 users)
  • ACOG
  • AIUM
  • American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists
  • NYU langone Medical center
  • American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities
  • UpToDate