What is the NuvaRing®?
The NuvaRing® is a soft ring placed in the vagina that contains hormones that prevent you from getting pregnant. It has both progesterone and estrogen, two hormones that are produced in your body. These are the same hormones found in birth control pills.
What are the advantages of Using a NuvaRing®?
- It does not need to be used daily like the birth control pill.
- It has a high success rate in preventing pregnancy.
- It helps regulate your periods.
- It has few side effects.
- It gives low doses of hormones on a constant basis.
How should I use the NuvaRing®?
The ring is placed into your vagina and is left there for three weeks in a row. While the ring is in place, it will release low doses of hormones on a constant basis. After the third week, the ring is removed for one week. During the week without the ring in place, you should have your period.
When should I start the NuvaRing®?
- If you have not used hormone birth control in the last month.
Insert the first ring between day one and day five of your period even if
you have not stopped bleeding. Use an extra method of birth control,
such as condoms, for the first 7 days of this first cycle.
- If you are switching from using other hormone birth control.
Insert the NuvaRing® in place of your other form of birth control when
the new cycle is due to start. For instance, insert the NuvaRing® within
7 days after taking your last active birth control pill or when you are due
for your next birth control shot. If you are switching from Depo-
Provera®, mini-pill, or an IUD that contains progesterone, use an extra
method of birth control, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of the first
How do I insert the NuvaRing®?
Each NuvaRing® comes in a foil pouch that you will need to save for putting the ring in when you throw it away. First, wash your hands well. Remove the NuvaRing® from the pouch.
You may lye down, squat, or stand with one leg placed on a chair or toilet.
Hold the NuvaRing® between your thumb and index finger. Press the opposite sides of the ring together. Gently push the folded ring into your vagina. The exact placement of the NuvaRing® in the vagina is not crucial for it to work well.
You should not have any pain after the ring is in place. Most women do not feel it at all. If you do feel discomfort, the ring may not be placed far enough in the vagina. Simply use your index finger to move the ring to a better position. There is no danger of the NuvaRing® being pushed too far into the vagina or getting lost.
You may still use tampons, have your pap smear and pelvic exam and have intercourse with the NuvaRing® in place.
How do I remove the NuvaRing®?
Remove the ring after it is in for three weeks. The ring should be removed on the same day of the week it was put in and close to the same time. For instance, if you insert the NuvaRing® on Sunday at about 10:00 pm, the ring should be removed on Sunday three weeks later at about 10:00 pm.
The NuvaRing® is removed by hooking the index finger under the forward rim or keep holding the ring between the index and middle finger and pulling it out.
Place the used ring in the foil pouch and dispose of it. Keep it out of reach of children and pets. Do not throw it in the toilet.
Your period often starts 2-3 days after the ring is removed and may not be done before the next ring is inserted.
When do I insert a new ring?
After 7 days without the ring, insert a new ring on the same day and same time as it was inserted for the cycle before.
What Should I Do if the ring slips out?
Rarely, the NuvaRing® can slip out of the vagina if it has not been placed in the correct way. It may also slip out while taking out a tampon, having a bowel movement, straining, or with severe constipation. If the ring does slip out, you may rinse it off with cool to lukewarm water and put it back in within three hours. If it has been longer than three hours you are no longer protected against getting pregnant. You must use an extra method of birth control such as the condom until the NuvaRing® has been in place for seven days in a row.
What if the ring has been in place for too long?
If the NuvaRing® has been in place for an extra week or less (a total of four weeks), remove it and insert a new ring after one week without the ring.
If the ring has been left if place for more than four weeks, it may not protect you from getting pregnant. Remove the ring for a one week break and check to make sure you are not pregnant. Use back-up birth control for seven days after the NuvaRing® is in place.
What are the side effects of a NuvaRing®?
The most common side effects are:
- Vaginal infections and irritation
- Vaginal discharge
- Weight gain
Other side effects are:
- Change in level of hunger
- Cramps or bloating
- Spotting or changes in your period
- Breast soreness
- Depressed mood
- Trouble wearing contact lenses
- Excess fluid or feeling puffy
Side effects are often less intense than those of birth control pills and will often go away.
As with all prescribed methods of birth control there are warning signs you should know about. If any of the following happen, call your health care provider right away.
A = Abdominal pain
C = Chest pain
H = Sudden, severe headache
E = Eye problems, such as loss of vision
S = Severe leg pain or swelling
If you have any questions, please call your health care provider at _____________________.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/27/2013
Copyright © 02/27/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5766
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