NuvaRing is a hormonal birth control (contraceptive) device for women. It is a flexible, transparent plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina. NuvaRing is worn for three weeks, removed — allowing menstruation to occur — and then a new ring is inserted after a week.
Similar to combination birth control pills, NuvaRing prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your body. The hormones suppress ovulation — keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg.
The hormones in NuvaRing might also:
- Thicken cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching an egg
- Thin the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg
About 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant in a typical year of using NuvaRing. The vaginal ring does not offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.
NuvaRing is generally very well-tolerated, but possible side effects include:
- Breakthrough bleeding or spotting
- Vaginal infection or irritation
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Decreased sex drive
- Breast tenderness
- An increased risk of blood-clotting problems, heart attack, stroke, liver cancer, gallbladder disease and toxic shock syndrome
Call your health care provider right away if you have:
- Leg pain that doesn't go away
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Severe pain or pressure in your chest
- Sudden, severe headache unlike your usual headaches
- Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or trouble speaking
- Foul vaginal odor or vaginal itching
- Two missed periods or other possible signs of pregnancy