Return to Index
The Vaginal Ring: An Alternative to Birth Control Pills
- Only needs to be changed once a month
- Is easy to insert and remove
- Does not require a visit to the doctor for insertion or removal
- Does not interrupt sexual activity
- May have less spotting or irregular bleeding compared with birth control pills
- Severe abdominal pain or headaches
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Severe leg or arm pain or numbness
- Redness and swelling in legs
- Jaundice (skin looks yellow)
- You fail to have a regular period
Other Things You Should Know About Vaginal Rings
- Storing the ring—The ring should be stored at room temperature (no more than 77°F) and away from direct sunlight.
- Taking the ring out—If the ring slips out of the vagina, simply wash it off with cold to lukewarm water (not hot) and reinsert it. The ring can be taken out during sex as long as it is not out for more than three hours. In which case, a back up method of birth control should be used for seven days.
- Pricing—The ring costs about $15-$80 at the pharmacy.
- Switching from other forms of birth control—You can switch directly to a vaginal ring from other hormonal methods of birth control. Talk to your doctor for details.
National Women's Health Information Center http://www.womenshealth.gov/
US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/
The Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca/
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org/
Contraception. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/Departments/Adolescent%20Health%20Care/Teen%20Care%20Tool%20Kit/Contraception.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120614T1305469301. Accessed June 14, 2012.
Birth control vaginal ring (NuvaRing). Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/birth-control-vaginal-ring-nuvaring-4241.htm. Accessed June 14, 2012.
How does it NuvaRing work? Nuvaring website. Available at: http://www.nuvaring.com/Consumer/how-it-works/index.asp . Accessed June 14, 2012.
Vaginal ring. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/preventingpregnancy/vaginalring.html . Updated June 2006. Accessed June 14, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2012
- Update Date: 06/14/2012