8 Basic Things to Know Before Using the Vaginal Ring

What is Vaginal Ring?

Vaginal ring, also known as NuvaRing, is a kind of birth control which uses estrogen and progestin to keep the uterus empty, thereby preventing pregnancy. It is a plastic loop that goes into the vagina and releases hormones to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

According to Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, “vaginal ring is really like taking a combined hormonal birth control pill in another form.”

READ ALSO: How Taking Birth Control Pills Affects A Woman’s Menstrual Flow

The estrogen subdues ovulation, so your ovaries don’t release eggs for fertilization, and the progestin thickens your cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to travel. The progestin causes your uterine lining to be thin so that if an egg did happen to get fertilized, it wouldn’t be able to receive the nutrients it would require to grow.

Most women prefer NuvaRing because it offers many of the same benefits as the pill without the daily commitment.

Basic Things to Know Before Using the Vaginal Ring

  1. NuvaRing may help with heavy or painful periods

NuvaRing has progestin which reduces how much the lining of your uterus builds up. As such, you can have a lighter flow during your menstrual flow. Less uterine lining can mean fewer pain-inducing prostaglandins, which are hormone-like chemicals that causes the painful cramping tied to your period.

READ ALSO: 10 Most Common Birth Control Pill Side Effects

2. NuvaRing can fit into all vaginas

The ring is flexible, meaning it can bend and stretch easily to fit inside your vagina. However, it may not immediately work for women who just had a vaginal delivery with a very big baby. But generally, NuvaRing should fit most women.

  1. You can use the ring to manipulate your period

It is possible to use the ring to manipulate your menstrual period after consulting your doctor. Sometimes the ring-free period week may be at a time that isn’t convenient for you. So, you might want to change when your period comes or totally skip it.

Since the ring uses a combination of progestin and estrogen to prevent an unintended pregnancy, when it comes out, there are no hormones from the ring circulating in your body, so you’ll bleed in response to the absence of those extra hormones. But you can still avoid pregnancy if you insert a new ring in seven days. So, if you wish for your flow to come earlier, you can remove your ring for that week, then put in a fresh one after, on the same day of the week and at the same time as you’ve been inserting and removing it in the past.

READ ALSO: What to Know About Cramps on Birth Control

To completely skin your period, you can just keep your ring in for four weeks instead of three because you’ll still have the pregnancy protection this time. Then insert a new ring instead of having seven ring-free days, says Dr. Minkin.

  1. The ring may not cause breakthrough bleeding

Compared to the pill, vaginal ring is less likely to cause breakthrough bleeding, Dr. Minkin says. Since the ring uses the same hormones as the pill, you have the same risk of breakthrough bleeding. However, with typical use, some people will forget to take the pill, which increases the chances of random bleeding. You don’t have to switch out your NuvaRing as often as you need to take the pill.

  1. Vaginal ring may irritate your vagina

Any foreign object inserted into the vagina may likely cause slight irritation, and the vaginal ring is no exception. This is perhaps the most common side effects of using the ring. It could cause irritation and vaginal discharge inside your vagina or on your cervix.

  1. The ring won’t get lost inside you

Most people may be disturbed about inserting the ring into their vagina for fear they may be unable to retrieve it. However, there’s no need to worry because your cervix (the narrow, lower end of your uterus) will block the ring from going anywhere inside your body other than your vagina.

  1. No need to keep your NuvaRing in the fridge before use

It’s needless to keep your NuvaRing in the fridge, but your pharmacist should. The information for NuvaRing users says the device should be stored at room temperature (between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to four months or until the expiration date.

READ ALSO: How to Prevent Pregnancy in 12 Ways

Jamie Alan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University says “that prescribing information also advises pharmacists to keep NuvaRing in a fridge at 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit before dispensing the device to patients. It’s all about helping the product last longer.”

Pharmacists might hang onto NuvaRing for longer than four months, and keeping them in the fridge helps preserve them.

READ ALSO: Newer Birth Control Pills May Reduce Risk of Ovarian cancer

How to Use NuvaRing

To insert the device:

  • Wash your hands and dry properly with clean cloth.
  • Lie down, stand, or squat in a position that’s comfortable for you.
  • Take your NuvaRing out of the foil pouch, hold it between your thumb and forefinger, and squeeze the sides together.
  • Insert the ring into your vagina and push it up using your index finger. If you feel too aware of it or uncomfortable with where it is, you may need to push it up more.

The removal process is also pretty simple.

  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Get into your comfortable position.
  • Stick your index finger into your vagina and hook it through the ring.
  • Pull gently downward and forward to pull it out.
  • Toss it in the trash.

You have to insert it at a certain time and remove it at the same time of day three weeks later.

During your off-week without the ring, you’ll get a “period,” which is really just a withdrawal bleed due to the lack of additional hormones. After the off-week is over, insert a fresh ring on the same day and time as you did before, even if your period hasn’t stopped.

Disclaimer: The content provided on healthdiary365.com is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.


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