What is a vaginal ring? What is a NuvaRing?

The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is a flexible ring about 2 inches wide that is placed into the vagina. It releases the hormones progestin and estrogen.

  • You will insert the ring yourself. It will stay in the vagina for 3 weeks. At the end of the third week, you will take the ring out for 1 week. Do not remove the ring until the end of the 3 weeks.

Side effects with the NuvaRing may include:

  • Nausea and breast tenderness, which are less severe than with birth control pills or patches
  • Vaginal discharge or vaginitis
  • Breakthrough bleeding and spotting (may occur more often than with birth control pills)

The vaginal ring contains estrogen. As a result, there is a rare risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Smoking increases these risks even more.

The vaginal ring slowly releases both estrogen and progestin into your blood. Your health care provider will prescribe this method for you.

How does the vaginal ring compare to birth control pills?

The vaginal ring works better than birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. In any 1 year, only 1 out of 100 women who uses the vaginal ring is likely to get pregnant.

How often does the Nuvaring need to be replaced?

The Nuvaring can be left in place and continue to provide highly reliable contraceptive protection for more than 30 days, so often we advise women to change their rings monthly, which may be easier to keep up with.  Talk with your provider about what schedule for replacing the ring will work best for you.

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