If you are considering using NuvaRing and are concerned about side effects, or have experienced side effects from using this form of birth control, you likely have questions. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about NuvaRing.
What is NuvaRing?
NuvaRing is the brand name for a once-monthly prescription birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001.1 It’s a flexible vaginal ring inserted by the woman at home and then removed three weeks later.2
How does NuvaRing prevent pregnancy?
NuvaRing prevents pregnancy by releasing a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones.3 These hormones prevent ovulation and cause changes in the cervix and uterus to prevent breakthrough pregnancy.4 NuvaRing is not a barrier method of preventing pregnancy.5
What are the differences between NuvaRing and birth control pills?
Unlike daily birth control pills, NuvaRing offers continuous release of hormones over the three weeks it is in place. Similar to birth control pills, no hormone is provided in the fourth week of each month.2 However, the hormones are absorbed more quickly when provided by the ring compared with pills.6
What are the common side effects of NuvaRing?
The most common side effects of NuvaRing use are:5
- Vaginal infection, irritation, or spotting
- Weight gain and a change in appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal cramps, bloating, and fluid retention
- Breast tenderness and changes in size
- Temporary infertility
- Darkening of the skin in spots
- Hair loss
The most common adverse side effect of NuvaRing is a risk of blood clots and cardiovascular complications. Like other hormonal contraceptives, cigarette smoking increases the risk for these side effects.
What are the pregnancy rates for women using NuvaRing?
In clinical trials, the pregnancy rate after 13 cycles (i.e., one year) of using NuvaRing as prescribed was 1 to 2 percent, similar to other birth control methods.3
What are the legal issues surrounding NuvaRing?
Some independent studies have found that NuvaRing is riskier to use than birth control pills, especially for the risk of blood clots. Hundreds of reports of adverse side effects have been received by the FDA, and a number of lawsuits have been filed against the company that manufactures it.6
If you have used NuvaRing and experienced blood clots or severe side effects, or lost a loved one to blood clots caused by NuvaRing, you can contact an attorney to review your legal options.