NuvaRing (vaginal ring)

NuvaRing is a hormonal birth control (contraceptive) device for women. It's a flexible, transparent plastic ring that's inserted into the vagina. You wear NuvaRing for three weeks, and then remove it — allowing menstruation to occur — and then insert a new ring after a week.



Similar to combination birth control pills, NuvaRing prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your body. NuvaRing suppresses ovulation — keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. NuvaRing also thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg.



NuvaRing is the only vaginal hormonal contraceptive that's approved by the Food and Drug Administration and available in the U.S. To use NuvaRing, you'll need a prescription from your health care provider.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect

NuvaRing helps prevent pregnancy. Among various benefits, NuvaRing:

  • Is comfortable and easy to use
  • Can be removed at any time, followed by a quick return to fertility
  • Doesn't require a personalized fitting
  • Eliminates the need to interrupt sex for contraception
  • Doesn't require the need to remember a daily pill
  • Is safe for women with latex allergies
  • Doesn't appear to cause weight gain
  • Is less likely to cause irregular bleeding than are oral combination hormone birth control pills
  • Delivers a smaller amount of hormones throughout the body than some other types of contraceptives do, which may reduce the risk of side effects

NuvaRing isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may discourage use of NuvaRing if:

  • You're about to be immobilized for a prolonged period due to major surgery
  • You're breast-feeding
  • You're older than age 35 and smoke
  • You're sensitive to any components of NuvaRing
  • You have diabetes with complications related to your blood vessels
  • You have a history of blood clots
  • You have a history of breast, uterine or liver cancer
  • You have a history of heart attack or stroke
  • You have liver disease
  • You have migraines with aura
  • You have uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • You have unexplained vaginal bleeding

In addition, tell your health care provider if you have:

  • A history of toxic shock syndrome
  • Any condition that makes you susceptible to vaginal irritation
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy or migraine headaches
  • Gallbladder, liver or heart disease
  • High cholesterol or high triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular periods
  • Plans to have surgery

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use