The Vaginal Ring
The Vaginal Ring is small, flexible ring you insert into your vagina once a month. It is usually left in the vagina for 3 weeks (although many doctors now say you can leave it in for up to 28 days). You can either take it out after the 3 weeks to allow a week of period, or you can skip your period either by leaving it in for 28 days or inserting a new one right away. Always consult with a doctor first before skipping periods. You do not need to use back up during your period week as long as you’re sure to replace the ring on time and your ring-free time does not go over one week. It can be placed anywhere in the vagina. Store rings at room temperature, if you have more than one ring you may want to keep them refrigerated (just make sure they don’t freeze).
The ring contains a combination of progestin and estrogen, which means it works a lot like combination birth control pills. It prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation. This means it USUALLY has less side effects than progestin only methods. This also means that you should avoid antibiotics and herbals like St. Johns Wort as they can effect the ring. You may not be able to use it if you have a pronounced pelvic relaxation. With most birth control the most common side effect is period abnormalities, especially the first 3 months. It can change your vaginal lubrication and libido. It has the lowest hormones of any other combination method which doesn’t decrease the effectiveness but does mean side effects tend to be milder. Some people notice irritation and are uncomfortable using the ring. A good rule is if you don’t like it after 3 months, change it.
Like a lot of birth control, if you start it within the first five days after the start of your period it is effective right away. Other than that, use back up for the first week of use. It’s best to not use cervical caps, sponges or diaphragms with the nuva ring. However, tampons and menstrual cups can be used. Sometimes it may pull the ring out with it, but just put it back in. Usually, it shouldn’t interfere with sex and it’s best not to take the ring out except to change it or start your period. If it does fall out you need to put it in before 3 hours are up or else the effectiveness is affected. It’s also important to always check the expiration date before inserting it.
As always, this does not protect against STIs so using barrier methods are still important.
Ode to the NuvaRing
Today’s post on the Feronia Project waxes rhapsodic on the benefits of the NuvaRing. There’s even a haiku!
Hellooo. I saw on the nuvaring tag that you are on it. How has that been? I just started it today.
Well, I like it a lot. I don’t have a lot of sex though and I hated the way birth control pills made me feel. I also keep it in for 4 weeks instead of 3, then take it out after 3 months for 1 week to have my period, because my period was so irregular and I had the worst and most unmangable PMS symptoms ever. Let me know if you have any more questions! <3
I’ve been having bad cramps today and my period shouldn’t even start until tomorrow. :( I’ve been leery about the Nuvaring just because of what people have said about it. My first month on it was fine and this month was fine up until this weekend when I was a total PMS wreck and then today I have cramps…