Vaginal Ring (Nuvaring)

What is Nuvaring? This is a new form of contraception which delivers two hormones – oestrogen and progestogen – directly into the vagina. It is a small flexible plastic ring which is easily inserted and removed by the patient. How does it work? Nuvaring works in an identical fashion to the combined oral contraceptive pill. It inhibits ovulation and therefore prevents fertilisation.

How reliable is it?

It is more than 99% effective when used properly. It is as reliable as the oral version, but it contains lower levels of hormone because it is delivered directly into the vagina.

Who is suitable to take it?

All women who are suitable for the combined pill can use Nuvaring. It contains oestrogen so it would not be suitable for women who are over 35 and smoke. It is particularly useful for women who have experienced marked hormonal side effects such as breast tenderness, mood swings and headaches with the oral version. The lower dose contained in Nuvaring minimises side effects. The other benefit is for women who are likely to forget to take their tablets daily.

Are there any side effects?

The usual side effects attributed to the oral pill can be experienced with Nuvaring such as nausea, bloating mood swings and breast tenderness and enlargement. These tend to resolve within one month of starting.

How do I take it?

The Nuvaring is inserted for 21 days by the patient themselves, then removed. A one week break follows, during which time a short, light withdrawal bleed will occur. A fresh Nuvaring in inserted after 7 days. The insertion technique is very easy and most tampon users will have no difficulty whatsoever.

How do you get pregnant while on it?

Some medications will interfere with Nuvaring but these are not very commonly prescribed. It is important to check with your doctor if you start taking a new medication. On rare occasions the Nuvaring will fall out. If it is replaced within 3 hours there is no loss of contraceptive protection. If it is not replaced within 3 hours then contraceptive protection may be lost and depending on when in the 21 days of use this happens, you may need to use extra forms of contraception for a further 7 days. Always check with your doctor if you are unsure.

How do I start?

When switching from the combined pill to nuvaring it can be inserted on any day but no later than the 7th day of your 7 day break from the pill. No extra form of contraception is required during the changeover.

If you are starting Nuvaring and have not been previously taking any contraception in the menstrual cycle before your period the Nuvaring is inserted on Day 5 but no later. Extra contraception is needed for the first 7 days of use. If the Nuvaring is inserted on Day 1 no extra contraception is needed.