NuvaRing: How Effective Is the Birth Control Ring?
By pocketpills: February 28, 2020
NuvaRing: How Effective Is the Birth Control Ring?
Table of Contents
What is Vaginal Ring?
The Vaginal ring is a contraceptive device for women. It is a latex-free, flexible plastic ring to be inserted in the vagina and contains two hormones: estrogen and progestogen. The hormones last for three weeks, after which the ring needs to be removed, allowing menstruation to occur. You need to insert a new ring after a week.
Similar to the combination birth control pill, this vaginal ring prevents conception by releasing hormones in your body. These hormones prevent ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation).
The hormones also:
- Thicken cervical secretion preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
- Thinning of the uterine lining to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg
The Food and Drug Administration has approved two vaginal rings, NuvaRing and Annovera.
NuvaRing and Period
The ring stays in place for three weeks, after which it has to be removed. You wait for a week before inserting the new ring. You will usually have periods within seven days, which is known as withdrawal bleeding. Most women do not feel the ring once inserted in the vagina.
If you want to avoid the bleeding, you can immediately place the new ring after removing the existing one, missing a week’s break.
Benefits of NuvaRing
You may have heard about benefits such as the use of ring and lower risk of breast and ovarian cysts, use of ring and acne, and ring and bone loss.
Some other benefits include:
- You can skip your periods
- More regular, lighter, and less painful periods
- Immediate reversal of fertility after stopping to use the ring
- Lower risk of uterine and ovarian cancer
Inserting NuvaRing correctly may take some getting used to. When inserted properly, NuvaRing is 99% effective. With typical everyday use, the efficacy of the ring drops down to 91%. This drop in the ring’s effectiveness is due to various errors in usage. Some of these errors include the following:
- Not inserting the ring incorrectly
- Failing to re-insert the ring promptly if it has fallen out
- Forgetting to replace the ring within the recommended three to six week time frame.
With practice, NuvaRing is easy to use. A significant advantage of NuvaRing is that it is a maintenance-free option if inserted correctly. The ring can remain in place anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks before it needs to be removed. This is a significant advantage over the birth control pill, which needs to be taken daily, or barrier devices that must be used to prevent pregnancy.
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When compared to other birth control methods like the pill, NuvaRing is a great option that requires minimal maintenance.
For the birth control pill to work as intended, it must be taken orally every day, preferably at the same time of day, for at least 21 days. Forgetting to take the pill, or even forgetting to take your pills with you when you’re away from home for the day can affect its ability to prevent pregnancy.
Unlike the pill, NuvaRing can be inserted and left alone for up to 6 weeks. Since the ring continues to release both progestin and estrogen throughout these 6 weeks, the risk of human error is significantly reduced.
NuvaRing works by releasing both progestin and estrogen, which both help prevent pregnancy. In addition to protecting against pregnancy, these hormones offer additional advantageous benefits. When used as directed, the ring can help minimize or prevent the following:
- cysts in ovaries and breasts
- bone thinning
- ovarian and endometrial cancers
- ectopic pregnancy
- iron deficiency
- infection of uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes
- premenstrual syndrome
Ability to Conceive Returns Quickly
It is important to note that the ability to conceive returns soon after stopping to use NuvaRing. It may take 1-2 full menstrual cycles before the body is free of the hormones released by the ring.
When the usage of NuvaRing has stopped, medical professionals recommend waiting at least one month before attempting to conceive. This waiting period allows the body to have at least one regular menstrual period.
Skipping Menstrual Periods
Perhaps you’re going on vacation, have a special event coming up, or just want a break from the regular monthly routine. Another benefit of NuvaRing is that it can be used to skip menstrual periods.
Skipping your period with NuvaRing is easy. Insert the ring and leave it in place for 3 weeks. On the first day of the 4th week, remove the old ring and immediately replace it with a new one instead of going ring-free for 7 days. Doing this will ensure that there are consistent levels of hormones in your body. Using PocketPills to fill your NuvaRing prescription will ensure that you always have a new ring ready when it’s time for it to be replaced.
The majority of women do not face any significant side-effects. But some minor side-effects may occur, such as:
- Sore or tender breasts
- An increase in vaginal discharge
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Mood changes
- Changes in your skin
When Should You Talk to Your Doctor?
The vaginal ring is a prescription contraceptive, and you will need a doctor’s prescription to get it. You should talk to your doctor about your problems before using the ring, especially if you:
- Are overweight
- Have migraine
- Are over 35 years
- Have a family history of thrombosis or a clotting disorder
- Have been treated for breast cancer
- Are taking medicines that may impede the ring’s functioning
- Have health problems such as heart or liver problems or high blood pressure
- Cannot move around for a long time
One in 100 women using the ring has a risk of getting pregnant. Other risks include:
- Breakthrough bleeding
- Spotting between periods
- Abdominal pain
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased sex drive
- Vaginal irritation or infection
- Increased vaginal discharge
The ring may also increase the risk of heart attack, gallbladder disorders, blood-clotting problems, liver cancer, stroke, and toxic shock syndrome.
NuvaRing is a convenient and effective birth control option. Speak to your medical professional if you have questions, or are considering using the ring as your preferred method of birth control. Be sure to speak to one of our pharmacists here at PocketPills to see how we can help you make sure that you always have a supply of your chosen method of birth control when you need it.
Learn more about the alternatives to NuvaRing: