NuvaRing is a contraceptive method that is used to prevent pregnancies. NuvaRing is the most common brand of vaginal rings. The ring contains two hormones that stops the body from ovulating and makes the mucous membrane thicker and harder for the sperm to get through. This creates a 99% protection against pregnancies.
The ring is inserted in the vagina and sits there for three weeks followed by a third weeks break when it is removed. It is thus a very easy form of contraception that doesn’t need everyday attention compared to birth control pills. NuvaRing also contains 3rd generation of progestogen, which means that there are fewer hormones than in the earlier generations. This lowers the risk for side effects.
What’s on this page?
How does it work?
The ring contains two hormones: ethinyl estradiol and etonogestrel. These are synthetic versions of the natural female sex hormones estrogen and progestogen, that in different ways affect the menstrual cycle so that a pregnancy is averted. One of the ways that NuvaRing affects the cycle is to eliminate ovulation. If you do not ovulate there are no eggs for the sperm to fertilize and thus no risk of getting pregnant. Avoiding ovulation is the main way of preventing pregnancies with NuvaRing. This corresponds to the same function as with birth control pills and transdermal patches.
Except stopping ovulation, the hormones in the ring has other functions that further prevents pregnancies. The mucous membrane of the uterus will become thicker so that the sperm has a harder time getting through as well as making it unlikely for an egg to stick to the membrane.
These functions together are the reasons behind the very high safety that this product is known for.
How do the hormones enter the body?
The ring contains the hormones ethinyl estradiol and etonogestrel, and is 54mm in diameter and 4mm thick1. You place it deep in the vagina where the hormones are being released to the mucous membrane. This creates a more local way of absorbing the hormones, directly in the vagina, compares to birth control pills that take the route through the intestines. The ring releases approximately 15 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol and 120 micrograms of etonogestrel per day for three weeks.
When you add hormones to the body it will stop producing the hormones itself, which means that you will not have an excess of hormones in the body. The difference is that the composition of hormones is different and this is ultimately what protects you from pregnancies.
When you stop with NuvaRing the body’s production of the natural hormones will start again. NuvaRing does not change the hormonal balance in the long term, but it can take a few months to regain balance after using a hormonal contraception method. This form of contraception only affects the sex hormones and no other hormones.
NuvaRing instructions – 5 steps
The vaginal ring is easy to use and will not take much attention from your everyday life.
- To insert the ring, pinch the ring and insert it as far up the vagina that you can. Be sure to read the patient information leaflet to get more tips and tricks2. It takes 7 days for the protection to start working, so use a condom or femidom during the first week to be fully protected.
- The ring should be inserted for three weeks. During this period you don’t have to think about the ring. It can stay put during sex or when using tampons, and you will not notice it much.
- During the break, you take out the ring and leave it for seven days. This is the same procedure as if you would take birth control pills.
- During the break, you will experience menstrual flow as usual. You are still protected during this period.
- After the week has passed you can reinsert a new ring in the vagina. Just repeat this process until you don’t want to use the contraception any more.
How secure is the vaginal ring?
If you follow the instructions you are guarded against pregnancy to 99%. There is a slim chance to become pregnant even if you are using contraception and if you are not using the ring according to instructions the risk is even higher. The ring can be removed from the vagina up to three hours without affecting the protection. You are also protected during your pause week.
It is important to note that hormonal contraception such as NuvaRing, birth control pills and transdermal patches only protects you from unplanned pregnancies and not from sexually transmitted diseases. This means that if you have sex with a partner without barrier protection you are not protected from, for example, chlamydia or herpes. It is recommended that you always use a condom or femidom if you have a new partner.
NuvaRing side effects
Hormonal contraceptives always have certain risks for side effects. These are individual and different people react differently to the drug. Most women have no or very few side effects as soon as the body has gotten used to the treatment. It is still common to have side effects during the first six months before the body has adapted. The most common side effects include:
- Weight gain
- Stomach pain
- Chest pain
- Pelvic pain
- Menstrual pain
- Migraine and headache
- Itchy vagina
- Lowered libido
As other combined hormonal contraceptives there is a heightened risk for blood clots. Even if the risk is small these drugs are not suitable for women with a heightened risk for blood clots. This can be the case if someone in your family has a history of embolism.
Is NuvaRing good for me?
Most women can use NuvaRing to prevent pregnancies. It is especially good for people who are having a hard time to remember taking a daily pill. As mentioned above, this medication is not suitable if you for some reason had a heightened risk of embolism. This applies to people who are overweight, are having high blood pressure or if you are over 35 years and have a smoking habit. There are certain drugs that might not be ideal in combination with NuvaRing. Always read the information leaflet and let a doctor know about your different conditions and medications when you get the prescription.
Can I buy NuvaRing over-the-counter?
The vaginal ring is only available if you have a valid prescription from a doctor. You can get one of those from an online health clinic and their medical consultations to access the prescription.
Can I buy NuvaRing online?
If you visit an authorized clinic online and get your prescription you can also often immediately buy the prescribed drug and order it to your home.
The price of NuvaRing can differ between pharmacies and can only be bought with a prescription from a medic.