NuvaRing is a brand of the birth control ring that is inserted into your vagina for three consecutive weeks to prevent pregnancy. NuvaRing has about the same amount of hormones as many birth control pills (about three weeks worth). A prescription is required to take NuvaRing, and after inserted, your NuvaRing is taken out after three weeks. Then, it is removed for one week, during which time you will have your period. It is a good option if you have trouble remembering to take an oral contraceptive (birth control pill) at the same time every day. When used correctly, NuvaRing is almost 99% effective. Only 1 or 2 women out of 100 who use NuvaRing will accidentally become pregnant.
The hormones found in it (estrogen and progestin) work by keeping your eggs from leaving your ovaries. If there are no eggs present in your uterus, then there is no possibility that one of your eggs will meet and link up with the sperm of your partner. It also makes your cervical mucus thicker. Cervical mucus is the secretions that come out from your uterus and into your vagina. The quality and quantity of your cervical mucus can change throughout your menstrual cycle, especially when you are ovulating. When your cervical mucus is thicker, it is better at keeping your partner’s sperm from making contact with your eggs. A NuvaRing is a small (about the size of a silver dollar), flexible contraceptive that fits inside the upper area of your vaginal canal. Most people who use NuvaRing can’t feel it.
NuvaRing and Sex
Your partner may feel your NuvaRing inside of you, but because the NuvaRing is made of soft and flexible plastic (ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer), it is unlikely that your NuvaRing will cause any discomfort for your partner. However, if it is irritating you or your partner during intercourse, your NuvaRing may be taken out temporarily, and re-inserted later. You need to try really hard to not leave your NuvaRing out of your vagina for more than three continuous hours. If you do this it is important that you realize that for the next two weeks you may not be protected from pregnancy. Re-insert your ring immediately and used another method of birth control, like male condoms with spermicide, for at least seven days. Keeping track of how long your NuvaRing has been re-inserted for allows the right amount of hormones to get back into your system.
NuvaRing is associated with increased risk of several serious side effects. The severe side effects that may result from using NuvaRing are:
- Blood Clots
- Heart Attack
If you have a history of any of these conditions, or any condition that makes your blood more likely to clot, your risk of getting blood clots may be greater because of the type of progestin contained in a NuvaRing. NuvaRing’s progestin type, when compared with some other progestins in certain low-dose birth control pills, may have a greater risk of creating blood clots. The most common side effects reported by users of NuvaRing include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Breast Discomfort
- Breast Pain
- Breast Tenderness
- Irritation in Vagina
- Lowered Sex Drive
- Mood Changes
- Painful Menstrual Periods
- Ring Slipping Out (Discomfort)
- Unexplained Vaginal Bleeing
- Vaginal Discomfort
- Weight Gain
The following qualities increase your risks of serious side effects. You probably shouldn’t use NuvaRing if any of these apply to you:
- Breast Cancer (and other cancers that are sensitive to female hormones)
- Certain Severe Migraine Headaches
- Cigarette Smoker (risk increases with age and amount of cigarettes smoked)
- Diabetes with Kidney, Eye, Nerve, or Blood Vessel Damage
- High Blood Pressure Untreatable with
- Liver Disease
- Liver Tumors
- Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding
It does not protect you or prevent you from contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The best way to prevent yourself from contracting an STD (besides abstinence from sex) is through the use of a male condom. The NuvaRing only prevents pregnancy; you can still catch STDs like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Trichomoniasis, Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and HPV when using NuvaRing.
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