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NuvaRing contraceptive ring

NuvaRing contraceptive ring
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The NuvaRing is a vaginal ring used to prevent pregnancy. It contains a combination of oestrogen and progestogen, which means it works in the same way as the combined contraceptive pill. When used correctly it’s 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

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Information about the NuvaRing

The NuvaRing is a small plastic ring which is inserted into your vagina. It’s small, flexible and soft, making it easy to put it in place. During the time that it is inserted inside the vagina (usually 3 weeks at a time) it releases a combination of hormones which work to prevent pregnancy. They prevent an egg from being released from the ovaries in the first place, thicken the mucus in the cervix which makes it hard for sperm to travel into the womb, and they also thin the lining of the womb, making it hard for any fertilised egg to implant.

Using a NuvaRing

To insert the ring you need to squeeze it between your finger and thumb (with clean hands) and gently push it into the tip of your vagina, pushing it up until it feels comfortable. The ring is typically worn for 3 weeks straight and then you can take it out for a week-long break. During this break you’re likely to have a withdrawal bleed, which is like a period but it’s just your body reacting to the hormones stopping in that time.

If you would like to avoid this bleed you can wear the ring continuously with no break (changing it every 3 weeks), or for 9 weeks (changing it every 3 weeks) with a break of 4 or 7 days, to have a less frequent bleed.

Do I need a prescription for the NuvaRing?

To get a NuvaRing, you will need a prescription as it is a prescription-only treatment.

Our LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor clinicians can prescribe you the NuvaRing, if suitable. You will then need to go into a pharmacy to pick up the prescription and have your height, weight and blood pressure checked. These measurements are taken to ensure you can safely use the NuvaRing and are taken for all combined contraceptives.

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Alternative options for contraception

The NuvaRing might not be the best option for you. For example, as it contains oestrogen and progestogen, if you're a smoker over 35 it will not be prescribed. There are plenty of options for contraception that might work if the NuvaRing is not suitable. Other options include the combined contraceptive pill, low-dose pill, progestogen-only pill, and contraceptive patch. You can find out more about these options at the LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor contraception clinic

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NuvaRing frequently asked questions

  • Can you feel the NuvaRing?

    While you might feel conscious that you have the NuvaRing in, once it’s in place the majority of women can’t feel it. If it moves around you might feel some discomfort and this is probably because it wasn’t inserted correctly.

    When you have sex you and your partner may be able to feel it’s in your vagina, but this won’t cause you or your partner any harm.

  • What should I do if my NuvaRing comes out?

    Depending on how long the ring has been out, you may or may not need to replace and/or use extra contraception such as condoms. 

    If the NuvaRing has:

    • Been out for less than 3 hours at any point in your ring cycle: wash it and reinsert it as soon as possible. You’ll be protected from pregnancy and shouldn’t need to use extra contraception. 
    • Been out for more than 3 hours in the first or second week of use: wash it, put it back in as soon as you can and leave it in for at least 7 days. You’ll need to use extra contraception for the next 7 days and if you’ve had sex in the last few days you might need the morning after pill. 
    • Been out for more than 3 hours in the third week of your ring cycle: you’ll need to use extra contraception for 7 days. Throw the ring away and either put a new ring in straight away or don’t replace the ring and start your 7 day break. If you choose to have this 7 day break you must then put a ring in 7 days after your ring fell out.
  • What if my NuvaRing gets stuck?

    You should contact your doctor or a nurse as soon as possible if you cannot get the ring out, particularly if you have any bleeding or pain.

  • Are there NuvaRing side effects?

    Like with all contraception, some women may experience side effects. The most common side effects of the NuvaRing include mood swings, irregular bleeding, sore breasts, skin irritation and discharge. Rare side effects include blood clots, so it’s always good to be clear with your clinician if you have any history of these.