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The NuvaRing®

Q. What is the NuvaRing®, and is it effective?

A. NuvaRing is ideal for women who want a method of contraception that is effective, discreet and above all convenient. When used as directed, NuvaRing is 99% effective; that’s every bit as effective as the pill and patch. However, unlike women who use those methods, NuvaRing users need only think about contraception once a month. This method will not protect you from STDs. Use it with condoms for STD prevention.

Here is what the the NuvaRing looks like. You insert the NuvaRing® into your vagina only once a month. The muscles in your vaginal wall will keep it in place for three weeks. During that time, it will slowly release a low dose of hormones needed to prevent pregnancy. It is available by prescription only, so you must visit a health care provider in order to get a prescription. NEVER use anyone else's prescribed birth control, even if they no longer use it.

Q. How Does it Work?

A. Inserted once a month into your vagina, the NuvaRing® contains two types of hormones: estrogen and progestin, that prevent your ovaries from producing mature eggs. NuvaRing® provides benefits similar to the pill, but without the daily pill to remember to take on time. The hormones are released by contact with the vagina. The walls of your vagina absorb the hormones and distribute them into your bloodstream.

Q. Is it for you?

A. Not if you smoke or have heart disease and keep in mind the NuvaRing® does not protect against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. If you do smoke, discuss the risks with your health care provider.

The use of combination oral contraceptives is associated with increased risks of several serious side effects, including blood clots, which may lead to stroke or heart attack.  It is unknown if the risk of blood clots is different with NuvaRing® use than with the use of certain birth control pills. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Q. How do I use it; how do I insert and remove it?

A. Here are the steps to follow when you use the ring, (in case you forget what your health care provider told you):

  1. First, wash your hands. Put a new ring into your vagina. Leave it in for 3 weeks in a row.

To insert the ring: Take the ring out of its package. You can squat, stand with one leg up on a chair, or lie down.

Gently slide the ring into your vagina. When it is in correctly you shouldn't notice it. If it feels uncomfortable, push it farther in, so it rests on your pubic bone, but it can be anywhere in the vagina that is comfortable for you.

Wash your hands to wash off any hormones left on your fingers. You don't want to share those hormones with anyone else accidentally.

  2. At the end of 3 weeks:

 * Take the ring out of your vagina on the same day of the week as you put it in.

 * Throw the used ring away. (Do not flush it down the toilet.)

  3. Go 7 days without wearing the ring. You should get your period during that week.

  4. After 1 week without wearing a ring, put in a new ring on the same day of the week as you did before. Put it in even if you are still spotting or bleeding from your period.

  5. Never go more than 7 days without wearing a birth control ring. If you do, you could get pregnant.

Important: Always be sure to put the ring in and take it out on the same day of the week, and at about the same time. For example, if you put it in on Sunday at 9:00 am, take it out 3 weeks later on Sunday at about 9:00 am.

To remove the ring:

  1. Wash your hands.

  2. Put one finger into your vagina until you feel an edge of the ring. Curl your finger over the rim and pull gently. The ring will fold and slide out.

  3. Wrap the ring in plastic wrap and throw it away.

  4. Wash your hands again to remove any hormones that might be left on it.

The ring can be used with condoms if you don't know the sexual history of the person you are involved with. Make sure you get that person tested for STDs including HIV. In a monogamous relationship you could use just the NuvaRing after you both test negative for all STDs.

Always ask your health care provider any unanswered questions you might have, it's important to be able to talk openly with them. See the NuvaRing® web site for additional information.


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