The NuvaRing is a flexible plastic ring that releases the hormones progesterone and estrogen after being placed into the vagina, up near the cervix (the lower part of the uterus).
Together, ethinylestradiol (estrogen) and etonogestrel (progestin) belong to the class of medications called combination hormonal contraceptives.
Estradiol is also a hormone produced by the ovaries. Etonogestrel is a hormone that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary).
Both these hormones also cause changes in the uterine lining and cervical mucus, making it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus as well as harder for sperm to reach the uterus.
In addition, these hormones can make your period lighter and reduce menstrual cramps.
Each nonbiodegradable vaginal ring contains 2.6 mg of estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and 11.4 mg of progestin (etonogestrel).
When placed in the vagina, the ring releases on average 0.015 mg per day of ethinyl estradiol and 0.120 mg per day of etonogestrel over a 21 days period of use.
After 3 weeks, it is removed for a 7 days break, then a new ring is inserted.
When used correctly, the ring is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. However, some antibiotics and herbal medicines may lower its effectiveness.
After you stop using this birth control method, it typically takes approximately 60 days for your periods to return to the cycle you had before first use.
Common side effects may include:
- decreased sex drive;
- changes in the menstrual periods;
- vaginal discharge or itching;
- loss of scalp hair;
- increased hair growth;
- darkening of facial skin;
- breast swelling or tenderness;
- loss of appetite;
- stomach cramps;
- mild nausea.
- symptoms of depression (weakness, sleep problems, mood changes, or tired feeling)
- a breast lump;
- swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet;
- jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin);
- clay-colored stools;
- dark urine;
- upper stomach pain;
- migraine headaches;
- redness in one or both legs;
- coughing up blood;
- rapid breathing;
- a sudden cough;
- pain spreading to the shoulder or arm;
- chest pain;
- problems with speech or vision;
- sudden numbness.
Note – this birth control method does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV. Therefore, to prevent transmission of STDs, in some situations, it is recommended to use condoms in addition to this plastic ring.
The contraceptive pill, better known as ”the pill,” is one of the most frequent forms of contraception used by women in the United States.
It is a type of birth control that is designed to be taken orally and includes a combination of a progestogen (specifically a progestin) and an estrogen (typically ethinylestradiol). When taken as recommended by the healthcare professional, it is over 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.
Many medications, including some antiseizure medications and antibiotics, can decrease the blood levels of oral contraceptive hormones considerably.
However, an actual decrease in the effectiveness of this birth control method has not been convincingly proven in studies.
Note – this birth control method also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. Hence, if you are not using another form of protection method, it is likely to get any type of STD your sexual partner might have.
The latex male condom provides the best protection from most sexually transmitted diseases.
The standard method to use the pill is to take one every day for three weeks, then stop for 1 week, and during these seven days, you have a period-type bleed. You start retaking it after 1 week.
Common side effects may include:
- low libido;
- depression (more than 21 million adults in the United States are living with major depression);
- mood swings;
- low or high blood pressure levels;
- breast enlargement;
- breast pain;
- hair loss;
- fungal infections;
- changes in body weight;
- skin rash;
- irregular bleeding;
- stomach problems;
- migraine headaches.
According to a study issued in Contraception and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, women under 30 who have used this birth control method for 2 years or more show bone density loss.
This can increase their chances of osteoporosis, a bone disease in which the risk of fracture is notably increased.
Women who already have hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or raised LDL and total cholesterol levels, prior to using this birth control method, should discuss with their healthcare provider.
NuvaRing vs Pill – What’s The Most Effective Birth Control?
Unlike the pill, NuvaRing requires no daily dosing (it is used in a given 4-week cycle), therefore, you can get good monthly protection from pregnancy.
If used correctly, both are more than 99 percent effective, however, NuvaRing has potential more side effects.
Regarding the cost, both are about the same, somewhere between $15 and $80 a month, depending on your insurance status.