NuvaRing – How it Works, the Pros and the Cons
The Birth Control Ring, also known as NuvaRing, is a small plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina to help prevent pregnancy. When used as directed, NuvaRing is a convenient method of birth control that is easy to use.
How Does NuvaRing Work?
NuvaRing is a soft plastic ring that contains both estrogen and progestin. When inserted into the vagina, these two hormones help prevent pregnancy by doing the following:
- Thickens the mucus in the uterus, which prevents sperm from entering the cervix and fertilizing the egg
- Prevents ovulation when used correctly. Pregnancy cannot occur if no eggs are being released for sperm to fertilize.
With practice, inserting NuvaRing is relatively easy. Once the ring is in place, it can remain inserted for up to 6 weeks. When the ring is removed, a new ring should be inserted 7 days later.
How Do I Get NuvaRing?
NuvaRing requires a prescription from a doctor or a medical professional. As with many types of birth control, your medical professional may review your medical history before prescribing NuvaRing.
What are the Pros of NuvaRing?
Low maintenance: NuvaRing is a convenient method of birth control for those who don’t want to worry about remembering to take a pill. A pack of birth control pills (e.g. Alesse birth control) has 21 active pills and 7 inactive pills. These 28 pills are taken once daily until the pack is complete, at which point, a new pack is started.
In comparison, once Nuvaring is inserted, it can remain in place for 21 days. The ring can then be removed for the next 7 days. After 7 days have passed, a new ring can be inserted. Since the ring remains in place for weeks at a time, there is no need to worry about forgetting it in the same way that taking a pill might be forgotten.
No prep needed: Once the ring is inserted, there is no need to worry about using other birth control methods to prevent pregnancy. Depending on how you choose to manage your periods (i.e. using the ring to skip your period,) the ring can be left in for up to 6 weeks while continuing to maintain its effectiveness.
The ability to conceive returns quickly: Users of NuvaRing can rest easy knowing that they can become pregnant soon after removing NuvaRing. Once removed, it may take 1-2 menstrual cycles before the hormones that were released by the ring are entirely gone from your body. Waiting a minimum of one month after removing the ring is best, as it allows the body to have at least 1 regular menstrual cycle before attempting to get pregnant.
Easier periods: The hormones in Nuvaring may help users find relief from heavy periods and severe cramping. Users can also choose to skip their menstrual periods by leaving the ring inserted for six weeks instead of three.
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What are the Cons of NuvaRing?
Side effects: Like many hormonal birth control options, NuvaRing does have some potentially negative side effects. It is not uncommon to experience headaches, nausea, depression, and tenderness around the breasts in the first few months of using the ring. Some unexpected spotting or light bleeding may also occur. These side effects should subside approximately three months after the use of the ring has begun.
Remembering to change your ring: The ring must be removed and inserted on time to maintain its effectiveness. Failure to do so may result in an unexpected pregnancy.
Accidental expulsion: If the ring falls out accidentally within 2 weeks of inserting it, it must be reinserted within 3 hours. Before putting the ring back in, it should be rinsed with cold or warm water first. If you are unable to put the ring back in within 3 hours, the ring should be reinserted as soon as possible. Another method of birth control (e.g. condoms) should be used for the next 7 days. If the ring comes out during the third week of use, it should be discarded. A new ring can be put in place immediately if you wish. Another method of birth control should be used in this instance as well.
If you’re looking for a method of birth control that is effective and requires minimal maintenance, NuvaRing is a good option. Speak to your doctor or medical professional to see if the ring is the right choice for you.
Once you have gotten your prescription, you can fill it online in a few steps and enjoy the convenience that comes with PocketPills’ online pharmacy service.
Learn more about the alternatives to NuvaRing
- Understanding IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)
- Lolo birth control pill
- How to use the birth control patch?