The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is made out of a type of plastic that will not dissolve in the body (ethylene vinylacetate copolymers) and magnesium stearate
How it works
The vaginal contraceptive ring is a small soft plastic ring that you place inside your vagina for several weeks at a time, steadily releasing the hormones oestrogen and progesterone into the bloodstream. It prevents pregnancy in three ways – by stopping ovulation, making the fluid in your cervix thicker (which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb), and preventing the lining of your womb thickening enough for an embryo to grow in it.
Your doctor or nurse will do some tests to make sure that you can have the vaginal ring (NuvaRing). They check your medical history, make sure that you’re not pregnant and take your blood pressure.
You can start using the ring at any time in your period cycle. If you fit it on the first day of your cycle, you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. At any other time in your cycle and you’ll need to use condoms or other contraception for seven days.
You can insert a vaginal ring 21 days after giving birth, or immediately after having an abortion or miscarriage. If you’re breastfeeding a baby six months old or less, you shouldn’t use the ring as it can sometimes reduce your flow of milk.
You will be prescribed a box of one or three rings by your doctor or nurse. Wash your hands and squeeze the first ring between your thumb and finger and gently insert the tip into your vagina.
Push it into your vagina so it feels comfortable – it should be far enough inside you so that you don’t feel it, towards your cervix, like a tampon.
After 21 days, you remove the vaginal ring and have a seven day ring-free break. In this break you may have a bleed. You then put in a new ring for another 21 days.
How to stop
To stop using the ring, you will need to remove it and not replace it. To remove it, wash your hands and put a finger into your vagina and hook it around the end of the ring and gently pull it out. Put it in the special bag provided and throw it in the bin.
Check out our survey results to see how long it took most women’s cycles to return to their definition of ‘normal’ after they stopped using the ring, and learn about the after effects they’ve experienced.
Things that can go wrong
Sometimes the vaginal ring can accidentally fall out (during sex or naturally), you can forget to take the ring out after three weeks, or you can forget to put a new one in after your seven-day break. What you should do next depends on how long it has been out or in, and where you are in your cycle – check out the NHS advice or read the instructions.
With any combined type of hormonal contraception there is a slightly increased risk of developing blood clots in your veins and arteries. We are developing a full guide to the medical research on the serious and potentially life threatening side effects of contraceptives here.
Everything about the Nuvaring was great until it started to really negatively affect sex drive alongside vaginal dryness...