3.21.2011

The NuvaRing, a Review

Today I'm here with another review for you of the NuvaRing. I've been using this form of birth control for about a month and a half so far, and I really like it! :) When I originally talked to my gynecologist I was dead set on getting the non-hormonal paraguard IUD. She gave me a prescription for the NuvaRing, and told me to think about it, since they didn't do IUD insertions at my school health clinic. I decided to try the NuvaRing then, because I learned IUD insertion can be painful for women that haven't had children. They insert it through the cervix, and if it hasn't been stretched before it's really painful. There's also a recovery period after the insertion. Someday I may get an IUD--because they're much less expensive in the long run--but for now I will stick with the NuvaRing.


The NuvaRing is a small plastic ring, smaller than a tampon or menstrual cup, that you stick in your vagina. It secretes hormones that keep you from getting preggers for three weeks, and then you can take it out for a week while you have your period, or you can leave it in for that week too. (It's 99.9% effection, just like other hormonal methods.) Then you insert a new ring for the next month. I was attracted to this form of birth control, because I am very forgetful and kinda lazy. You only have to remember about changing the ring once a month. I also use a menstrual cup for my period, so another plastic gadget for my vagina was appealing. :D


The first month I was using NuvaRing, I bled the whole time. A lot of women "spot" when switching to birth control for the first time, but this did not describe my experience. I was losing about 10ml of blood every day, so I had to use a menstrual cup every day, and I couldn't get away with a pantiliner. You're supposed to insert the ring on the first day of your period, so at first I just thought I was having a very long period. Then I asked some helpful folks over on the livejournal community Vagina_Pagina about it, and figured out it was breakthrough bleeding. Thankfully I decided to give the ring another month before I switched to something else. (Losing that much blood can't be healthy.) I had my normal period during the ring free week, and then stopped bleeding by the time I put in a new ring.

Now I'm into my second month using the ring, and things couldn't be better. Sometimes I forget that I'm on birth control at all. The ring is very comfortable, and I don't feel it while it's inside. For insertion the company recommends you fold it like this, by pinching the ring between two fingers:


But that fold is rather problematic. It's hard to actually insert because the material is so flexible and bendy. Once you get it in it's liable to slide down, and it's hard to push the ring farther into the vagina because it gives and it's very substantive. This is hard to describe, but basically I recommend a different fold. This is a screenshot from lacigreen's youtube video on the NuvaRing:


To do this fold, you twist the ring into a figure eight shape and then fold it in half. Then you keep it folded during insertion until you're high enough up in the vagina. When you let it go it springs open nicely, and it's up high enough. (You can also watch lacigreen's video for a good demonstration.) At this point it's also important for me to make sure the ring is hooked around my cervix. Otherwise it slips down and fall out. I just sort of tilt the ring back and forth until I can give it a little tug and it stays. The exact position of the ring really isn't important though; it works as long as it's touching the vaginal walls. Removing the ring is super easy; you just hook a finger around the ring and pull it out. If you've ever used an Instead Softcup, insertion and removal is nearly the same process. :)


If you're not comfortable inserting things into your vagina manually, I've heard about another trick using a tampon applicator. Just take the tampon out of the applicator, and slide the ring inside instead, and use it as normal. And as with internal menstrual products, you need to remember to relax the vaginal muscles to insert the ring. But honestly, it's worth your time to get to know your body, and learn to insert it manually. It's easy and painless. :)


So far I haven't observed any of the negative side effects associated with the NuvaRing, so I'm hopeful that I can use this birth control method for awhile. With insurance it costs me about $20, and there's a coupon on the NuvaRing website to get $15 off. Next time I am really going to remember to print it off, because that makes it only $5 for me. Click here to go to the section of website where you can find the coupon. Without insurance, it's expensive--around $70, and there wont be a generic brand for awhile because it's probably patented.


I have been able to use the ring along with instead softcups and silicone cups like my lunette and divacup. However, I do have to remove the ring before inserting a cup. If I didn't there's a chance the ring would end up inside a cup, and since the ring needs to remain in contact with the vaginal walls to work, that could be bad. So I generally insert the cup, and then insert the ring second, by sliding it next to the cup. The ring can be out for three hours in total, so it's fine to take it out everytime you change your menstrual cup or tampon. Otherwise there's a chance it could fall in the toilet. Yuck!


My boyfriend said he couldn't feel the ring during intercourse, although it may be different for others. And honestly there was a ring and an instead softcup in there, so I doubt he could differentiate between all the plastic. If you need to, you can take the ring out while you're having sex, but it's not supposed to be out for longer than three hours. The ring beats condoms as far as comfort goes by a long shot though. Also no babies at this point, because I had my period as scheduled, so it's working. :) I like the nuvaring a lot, because I don't have to think about it very often. Using a daily birth control pill would be tiresome, especially since I'm in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend, and I don't even have sex all the time.


So let's recap. The things I like about the nuvaing are:
  • It only has to be changed once to twice a month.
  • It provides 99.9% effective protection against pregnancy.
  • It's comfortable :)
  • It allows for spontaneous sex, unlike condoms and other barrier methods. (Major bonus!)
Here are a few things that may be disadvantages if you weren't me, but honestly, except for possible side effects, they are weighed out by the advantages.
  • It doesn't protect against the clap, herpderp, or other STIs.
  • There's somewhat of a learning curve to inserting it correctly, and it can fall out if you don't.
  • You have to be comfortable touching your body.
  • Some guys can feel it during sex.
  • Side risks associated with other birth control (stroke, blood clots, cardiovascular side effects, etc. are more likely if you have health problems already.)
Now for me, there wasn't very much of a learning curve, because I use internal menstrual products with out applicators and I'm very comfortable with my vagina. It's not a strange gooey, dark hole, it's just another part of my body to me. :) My boyfriend doesn't feel it during sex, and we're in a long term relationship, so STIs aren't an issue for me. I also don't have any health conditions that make this form of birth control risky to use. So I'm A-OK, but I'm just saying it may not be A-OK for you. No form of birth control is perfect for everyone; I just got lucky it was the first kind I tried. Overall, I really like using this birth control; it's easy to remember with phone or computer alerts. The ring also comes with stickers you can put on your calendar if you're the old fashioned type.


Whenever I hear "NuvaRing" I still think of the obnoxious commercial they first launched with the women synchronized swimming in yellow bathing suits. However annoying that commercial is, it's great advertising for birth control that you only have to think about once or twice a month. I'm just not a "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, every day," swimcap, kinda girl. I'm really more the type of girl that struts around wearing an afro hairstyle and ripping off parts of my swimsuits. ;) But in all seriousness, the NuvaRing is great modern birth control that works for me.


Please leave a comment about your NuvaRing experiences or with any questions you have. For more information about using the NuvaRing please see the official website or the wikiHow article I wrote, which is the condensed version of the website's information, all on one page. Also I thought this was funny. :)

11 comments:

  1. I've been on this for about 3 months and i love it. I always forgot to take my pill but with this it's super easy

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    1. Yes I loved using the NuvaRing. So easy, and hard to forget!

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  2. I had read experience from different women who used nuvaring. Nuvaring birth control devices is useful for those who forgot taking pills due to busy schedules, appointments and or day to day activities. It is believe that every drug and devices has brought advantages and disadvantages to a human depending on purpose and it's use. Some women prefer using nuvaring, some prefer with pills due to some side effects and body reactions. However, nuvaring has been reported with many side effects like blood clots, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, change of appetite, weight gain, stroke, heart attacks and more. It is necessary that if symptoms or nuvaring side effects may occur, visit your doctor promptly for further evaluation.

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    1. It's true women definitely experience side effects from the NuvaRing. it's best to try it out, and then talk to your doctor if you have any side effects. One type of BC does not work for everyone.

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  3. Nice post....Nuvaring vaginal ring works in a similar way to the oral birth control pill......

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  4. I started using today but not sure if it was inserted right. I don't feel discomfort or like it's gonna fall out but not sure if it is in place. How could I possibly know? I pushed it in as far as my fingers would allow me to.

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  5. Today is my third day using nuvaring, I inserted it like the package told me to and yes it keeps sliding down u.u but I think I'll try the tampon applicator trick. I already know I like this birth control since my bleeding has now stopped (I just had my nexplanon removed and I bled every day on it) and I'm sure I won't have any problems with it once I get it in far enough

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  6. @beeutee82 - If it doesn't fall out, it's in the right place. It works as l;ong as it's touching your vaginal walls :)

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  7. @Anon- Yep try the tampon applicator, or twist it into a little half coil. Then when it's inserted it springs a bit up and open.

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  8. Im glad i read this because ive been looking everywhere for something that tells me whether its supposed to spring open or not. The pictures show it still folded together. Hopefully i didnt screw this up cuz i can feel it when i put a finger in to check it.

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