Contraception Hormonal Methods Nuva Ring

A vaginal contraceptive ring (also known by the brand name Nuva Ring®) is a small transparent ring that is made from synthetic ethylene vinylacetate copolymers. Among other birth control options, this ring is inserted in the vagina once per month in order to avert pregnancy. In most instances, the Nuva Ring® is highly effective. Keep reading to learn if the Nuva Ring® is the best birth control choice for you.

How Does the Nuva Ring® Work?

As soon as the Nuva Ring® is inserted in the vagina, it begins to release both progestin and estrogen. As the estrogen and progestin enter the body, they begin to form thick cervical mucus. Once this mucus has been formed, it becomes difficult for sperm to travel upward through the reproductive tract and fertilize the woman’s egg. Like other birth control options, the Nuva Ring® may also contribute in delaying or preventing ovulation.

How is the Nuva Ring® Inserted and Removed?

The Nuva Ring® can be inserted without the help of a medical professional. It should be inserted at the same time every month. By pressing the sides of the vaginal contraceptive ring together and pushing it into the vagina, the Nuva Ring® will be placed and begin to work automatically. The exact positioning doesn’t matter, as long as the ring is secure. You should leave the Nuva Ring® inside the vagina for three weeks, and then remove it for the fourth week of the month.

Nuva Ring - Vaginal Contraceptive Ring - Hormonal Birth Control

To remove the Nuva Ring®, simply grab the ring with the index finger, and remove it from the vagina. You can dispose of this ring device along with other household waste.

Is the Vaginal Contraceptive Ring Effective?

About 1 out of every 100 women using the Nuva Ring® becomes pregnant each year, making it one of the best birth control options available. Some medications may impact the effectiveness of the Nuva Ring®, including:

  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Medications that combat yeast infections
  • Rifampin
  • Some HIV medicines
  • St. John’s Wort.

Benefits and Risks of the Vaginal Contraceptive Ring

The benefits of the vaginal contraceptive ring include:

  • Ability to have sex spontaneously, without using a barrier method (unless you’re worried about STDs)
  • Lighter and shorter periods
  • Menstrual cramp ease.

Drawbacks of the Nuva Ring® include possible:

  • Change in sex drive
  • Increased risk of ovarian cysts
  • Nausea
  • Risk of vaginal infection, irritation or bleeding
  • Tender breasts.

Side Effects of the Nuva Ring®

As with any other medication, the Nuva Ring® can cause some serious side effects. Possible side effects include:

  • Blood clots
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke.

Side effects are most common in women who:

  • Are over the age of 35
  • Are overweight
  • Are smokers
  • Have high cholesterol.

Many women don’t experience these severe side effects and consider the vaginal contraceptive ring one of the best birth control options. However, it’s a good idea to discuss other possibilities with your doctor prior to trying the vaginal contraceptive ring.

Resources

Epigee Staff. (n.d.). Birth control: Vaginal contraceptive ring. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from the Epigee Web site: http://www.epigee.org/guide/ring.html.

Planned Parenthood Staff. (n.d.). Birth control vaginal ring (Nuvaring). Retrieved February 15, 2010, from the Planned Parenthood Web site: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/birth-control-vaginal-ring-Nuva Ring-4241.htm.

Repro Line Family Planning Staff. (2003). Vaginal ring (Nuva Ring). Retrieved February 15, 2010, from the Repro Line Famiy Planning Web site: http://www.reproline.jhu.edu/english/1fp/1advances/1combined/nuva.htm.