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What is NuvaRing?

NuvaRing is a hormonal contraceptive. Contraceptives stop you becoming pregnant. There are two types - barrier methods, such as condoms or cervical caps, and hormonal methods, such as contraceptive pills, implants, injections or patches.

NuvaRing is a flexible contraceptive vaginal ring. It releases a controlled dose of hormones into your bloodstream, preventing pregnancy. When it is used correctly, it is up to 99% effective.

NuvaRing is available on prescription from your doctor or pharmacist. Alternatively, we can prescribe it to you following an online consultation. Contact us to find out more.

The active ingredients in NuvaRing are etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol. For more information on NuvaRing, consult the patient information leaflet.

How it works

NuvaRing is a combined hormonal contraceptive. It prevents pregnancy by releasing regular doses of oestrogen and progestogen into your bloodstream. These two female sex hormones work to prevent pregnancy in a number of ways. They thin the lining of the womb to make it difficult for an egg to implant itself there, they thicken cervical mucus to make it more difficult for sperm to reach and fertilise an egg, and they prevent monthly ovulation.

NuvaRing takes roughly seven days to begin working, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle when you begin taking it. During the first seven days, you should use additional contraceptive methods, such as a condom.

Before you take it

Do not use NuvaRing if you are allergic to etonogestrel or ethinyl estradiol. Speak with your doctor, who will be able to recommend an alternative method of contraception.

NuvaRing will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections. No hormonal contraceptive method can do this. You must use a condom to protect against sexually transmitted infections and other sexual health problems.

NuvaRing may increase your chance of developing a blood clot. This risk has been noted to be slightly higher than in women using other methods of hormonal contraception, such as the combined pill. Blood clots can be fatal or can cause permanent disability. You should discuss this with your doctor for further clarification.

It’s possible that you may experience toxic shock syndrome when using the NuvaRing. Toxic shock syndrome is caused by bacteria entering the body and releasing harmful toxins. It is most commonly caused by tampon use in women. Toxic shock syndrome is a medical emergency and you should be referred to hospital if you are experiencing it. Consult the patient information leaflet for more information.

Do not take other hormonal contraceptives while you are using NuvaRing. One hormonal contraceptive method is enough to prevent pregnancy. Using more than one method may result in nausea, vomiting or vaginal bleeding.

Your doctor may wish to examine you more regularly when using NuvaRing. This may include closer examination of your breasts, or performing a cervical smear test. You should continue to examine your breasts for signs of abnormalities, and report anything unusual to your doctor.

You should not use NuvaRing if you are over the age of 35 or are a heavy smoker. Speak with your doctor to discuss an alternative method of contraception.

NuvaRing is safe to use with male condoms. Do not use NuvaRing with female barrier methods of contraception, such as the female condom, cervical cap or vaginal diaphragm, as they can interfere with the positioning of NuvaRing in your vagina.

Some women must not use NuvaRing. Do not use it if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you have a history of blood clotting
  • If you have ever had a stroke or a heart attack
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
  • If you have ever had breast cancer

Some medicines can interact with the NuvaRing. Speak with your doctor before using it if you are taking any of the following:

  • Antiepileptics such as carbamazepine or phenytoin
  • Antifungals such as griseofulvin
  • Medications to treat HIV such as ritonavir or efavirenz
  • Medications to treat hepatitis C such as boceprevir and telaprevir
  • Medication to treat tuberculosis, such as rifampicin and rifabutin
  • High blood pressure treatments such as bosentan
  • Antidepressants such as St John’s Wort

This is not an exhaustive list of warnings and interactions associated with the NuvaRing. For a full list, consult the patient information leaflet or speak to your doctor.

Dosage Instructions

You should always use NuvaRing as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are unsure of how to use the NuvaRing, including how to insert and remove it, speak with them for clarification.

NuvaRing is a monthly contraceptive - you do not need to use it every day. NuvaRing should be inserted into the vagina, and kept there for three weeks (21 days). Then, you should remove it and throw it away. Have a 7 day break and then start again with a new ring. During this 7 day break, you will have a period-like bleed.

Regularly check the NuvaRing is still inside your vagina. Some women may be able to feel it there, but most women cannot. If your NuvaRing is not inside your vagina when you check, you may need emergency contraception.

You can use tampons while also using the NuvaRing.

If your NuvaRing falls out, and it has been out less than three hours, wash your hands, rinse it in warm water and gently push the ring back inside your vagina as soon as possible. As long as it has been less than three hours, you are still protected from pregnancy. If it has been more than three hours, throw your NuvaRing away and insert a new one. You may need additional contraception for the next 7 days.

Store NuvaRing in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of children and pets.

Common Side Effects of NuvaRing

NuvaRing may cause unwanted side effects. These are usually mild in nature and should go away on their own. However, if they persist, or they concern you, contact your doctor for advice. They can include:

  • Irritation around the vagina or cervix
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Mood Changes
  • NuvaRing moving or slipping out
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breast tenderness

NuvaRing may cause more serious side effects. These are rare, but if you experience them you must go to your doctor as NuvaRing may be unsuitable for you. They include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acne
  • Less sexual desire
  • Blood clotting
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

It’s also possible to experience an allergic reaction to NuvaRing. This is very rare, but any allergic reaction is an emergency, so if you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction you must immediately seek medical advice.

  • Hives
  • Nettle Rash
  • Trouble breathing or speaking
  • Wheezing
  • Skin rash - blistering, peeling, redness, irritation

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects caused by NuvaRing. You should speak with your doctor or read the patient information leaflet for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if I vomit or have diarrhoea?

The hormones in NuvaRing are not absorbed through the lining of the stomach, unlike contraceptive pills. NuvaRing is not affected by vomiting or diarrhoea.

Does NuvaRing dissolve?

NuvaRing will not dissolve inside you. It is a plastic ring, and you should dispose of it alongside your household waste. Do not flush it down the toilet.

Can NuvaRing get lost inside me?

No. NuvaRing cannot be pushed too far into the vagina because the cervix will stop it. It has been reported that some women have accidentally inserted NuvaRing into the bladder. If you experience pain or discomfort when using NuvaRing, consult your doctor.

What happens if the ring breaks?

This is possible, but it should not lower the contraceptive effectiveness if the ring stays inside your vagina. If it comes out, insert NuvaRing again.

What happens if I become pregnant?

NuvaRing is one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control. It is unlikely you will become pregnant while using it, but if you do, it is usually the result of a dosing mistake. If you know you are pregnant, stop using NuvaRing and go to your doctor or local family planning centre for help and advice.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you forget to replace your NuvaRing, you may not be protected against pregnancy. You will need to use additional contraception such as condoms for 7 days after you put a new NuvaRing in. You may also wish to take a pregnancy test. You must take the ring out after 21 days.

What happens if I take too much?

You should insert one NuvaRing into your vagina at a time. Never use more than one NuvaRing at a time. If you do, you may experience nausea, vomiting or vaginal bleeding.

More Information
Dosage Instructions Please see medicine label for the dosage instructions.