The NuvaRing is an effective version of birth control because a woman doesn’t have to remember to take it every day. Instead, the NuvaRing is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks — no more worrying about what happens if you forget to take the Pill. The side effects are similar to the Pill, as is the lack of protection against STDs.

Advantages of NuvaRing

The NuvaRing is very effective at preventing unintended pregnancy, more so than the Pill, because it doesn’t require daily application. A woman inserts the ring into her vagina and leaves it in place for three weeks. (It must be removed the fourth week.)

As with the Pill, it uses synthetic hormones to regulate a woman’s sexual and reproductive organs. Only the method of application (insertion into the vagina rather than oral) is different. Its side effects (both good and bad) are very similar to the Pill:

  • More regular periods

  • Less menstrual flow

  • Less menstrual cramping

  • Less iron deficiency anemia

  • Fewer ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies that occur outside the uterus)

  • Less pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Less acne

  • Less premenstrual tension

  • Less rheumatoid arthritis

  • Less ovarian cyst formation

  • Protection against endometrial and ovarian cancer, two of the most common types of cancer in women

Disadvantages of NuvaRing

The ring is designed to stay in place, but, of course, if it slips out and isn’t put back in within three hours, then an unintended pregnancy could take place.

Everything else about the NuvaRing is similar to the Pill, including the cost. These include:

  • Risks to the cardiovascular system for smokers over the age of 35

  • Risks for women with diabetes or a history of blood clots

  • The ability for antibiotics of other drugs to interfere with the effectiveness against unintended pregnancy

  • Absolutely no protection against AIDS or other STDs

Because of these risks, a physician must prescribe the NuvaRing for you.

The initial doctor’s visit usually costs between $35 and $175, though the cost can be less if you visit a clinic. The ring itself costs between $15 and $35, though again the cost may be lower at a clinic or through Planned Parenthood.

You must use the NuvaRing in conjunction with a condom if any risk exists that you may catch a sexually transmitted disease from your partner.

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