NuvaRing is the main brand of contraceptive ring used here in the UK (Syreni Ring is an alternative brand). It’s available privately and on the NHS. It’s placed inside the vagina and releases hormones over the course of 21 days.
On this page, we’ll discuss how contraceptive rings work, how to use them, their effectiveness and their pros and cons.
What is a vaginal ring and how is it applied in the body? Firstly, the vaginal ring is a small, soft, plastic ring that’s placed inside the vagina.
To apply the vaginal ring, using clean hands, gently insert the vaginal ring inside the vagina – you can squeeze or clench the ring to help with application. It should fit comfortably over the entrance of the cervix. Unlike the diaphragm or cap – the vaginal ring doesn’t need to cover or block passage to the cervix because it isn’t a barrier method of contraception.
You use NuvaRing for 21 days. Occasionally use your fingers to check it hasn’t fallen out. After 21 days, you remove the ring for seven days. You’re still protected from pregnancy in this ‘ring-free’ week. You’ll be provided with disposable sachets when you use NuvaRing, place your old ring inside and then place it in the bin. On the eighth day, you’re ready to apply a new ring and start a new cycle.
You might experience bleeding or spotting during your ‘ring-free’ week, called withdrawal bleeding, and this is normal. You need to apply a new ring after one week even if you continue to bleed.
When to start NuvaRing
You can start using NuvaRing whenever you like, but there are some things to be aware of when you decide to start using it.
If you insert the vaginal ring between day one and five of your period – you’ll be protected against pregnancy from the get-go. If you experience short periods of short menstrual cycles, speak to a doctor or nurse about whether you’ll need to use additional methods of contraception when you start using NuvaRing.
If you start using NuvaRing on day six of your period, or any day before you get your next period, you’re not protected from pregnancy for seven days of using NuvaRing. Make use of additional contraception, like condoms, for this first week.
Forgetting to remove or replace NuvaRing
One of the advantages of the NuvaRing over the pill is that you don’t have to remember it each day, but you may forget to remove it or replace it at the right intervals.
If you forget to remove the ring after 21 days and you’ve remembered within seven days following this – take the ring out and start your seven day break, if you were planning on having a ‘ring-free’ week. If you weren’t planning on taking a ‘ring free’ break, remove the ring and insert a new one straight away. In these circumstances, you’re still protected from pregnancy.
If you forget to remove the ring after 21 days and you’ve not remembered it for seven days (the ring hasn’t been removed for four weeks or longer) – remove the old ring and insert a new one immediately. Make use of additional contraception, like barrier methods, for seven days.
Try to remember the simple cycle – three weeks in, one week out. Four weeks in total. Repeat.