Nuvaring is a flexible ring-shaped pessary device which provides hormonal contraception. It works in much the same way as the oral pill, and is applied once every four weeks.
This item is not available to buy from our pharmacy. See your doctor or family planning nurse in person to be prescribed NuvaRing or renew your prescription for this product.
Nuvaring is a pessary device used in birth control. It is a flexible plastic ring, which is just over 5 cm in diameter and less than 0.5 cm thick. It contains synthetic versions of female sex hormones, and these work to regulate the processes in the body which make it ready for pregnancy. The ring is inserted once every four weeks. When in place, it is left to function for three weeks, before being taken out.
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- Alternative for those who don’t like pills
- Keeps on working for three weeks
This treatment offers a viable alternative to those who find it inconvenient using oral tablets at the same time every day, or find themselves forgetting to take it. It’s working duration is also longer than that of the patch, which lasts for a week. At present, Nuvaring, which is a branded product made by Merck Sharp and Dohme, is the only treatment of its kind on the UK market.
In the body, hormones perform a host of functions. One of these is preparing the body for pregnancy. Progesterone and oestrogen are referred to as the ‘female sex hormones’, and are responsible for a number of processes during the menstrual cycle. One is ovulation. This is the operation by which an egg is produced and released by the ovary. After this, the egg is ready to be fertilised by sperm.
The active agents in Nuvaring interfere with this process. They are artificial hormones called etonogestrel and ethinylestradiol, and they perform in a similar way to progesterone and oestrogen. When they are present outside of the normal menstrual cycle, they make the body think that ovulation has already happened, and doesn’t need to take place. This prevents an egg from being generated and released by the ovary, and reduces the likelihood of pregnancy after sex.
In addition to this, these hormones also alter the quality of the lining along the uterine wall. This makes it harder for a fertilised egg to settle there and grow. They also help to increase the concentration of vaginal mucus. In doing so, they create a more difficult environment for sperm to successfully travel through.
NuvaRing is not available to buy online from our pharmacy. Speak to your doctor or family planning nurse to find out more about whether this option is suitable for you.
As with any hormonal birth control, it is important to ensure you apply this product correctly so that it remains as effective as possible. Before starting this treatment, read the instructions provided in the patient information leaflet thoroughly prior to use. If you are still uncertain about how to use it, ask your doctor or family planning nurse.
- Wash your hands before handling Nuvaring.
- Get comfortable. Lie or kneel down, or stand with one foot rested on a raised surface.
- Gently push the sides of the ring together in between the thumb and forefinger of one hand.
- Insert it into the vagina.
- If the ring causes you discomfort, try to push the ring slightly further in. You should be able to wear the ring without feeling its presence there.
- After exactly three weeks, remove the ring.
- You can do this by gently inserting a finger into your vagina and hooking it around the ring, before pulling it out.
- Take one week off before putting in your next ring.
- Always insert and remove the ring at the same time and on the same day on the designated weeks.
- If the ring falls out or is extracted before the appropriate time, consult the leaflet provided for advice.
- For guidance on when to start using this treatment if you are switching from another form of contraception or using it for the first time, refer to the instructions or ask your doctor.
These directions are supplied as a guide only. Please refer to the more detailed instructions provided in the patient information leaflet before using this product.
Although the side effects associated with this treatment may only affect a minority of users, it is nevertheless important to be aware of what they look like so that you can act accordingly in the event that they occur.
If you notice any signs of a heart attack, stroke, blood clot, allergic reaction, liver disease or cancer of the breasts or cervix, or anything at all unusual, see a doctor immediately. More information on what form these signs may take can be found in the patient information leaflet.
Common (1 in 10 women or less):
Abdominal pain, nausea, yeast infection, vaginal discomfort, itchiness, vaginal secretions, headache or migraine, depression, decreased sex drive, breast pain, pelvic pain, painful periods, acne, or weight fluctuations.
Uncommon (1 in 100 women or less):
Visual disturbances, dizziness, swollen abdomen, vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, tiredness, mood changes, oedema, urinary tract infection, painful urination, urinary urgency, pain during intercourse, raised blood pressure, irregular periods, or vaginal infection.
Rare (1 in 1,000 women or less):
Harmful blood clots, heart attack, stroke or transient ischaemic attack.
This is not a full list of the possible side effects which this medicine may cause. A more comprehensive list can be accessed in the patient information leaflet.
Taking it with other medicines
Let your prescriber know if you are using any other medicines, as they may affect the way this treatment works or vice versa. Nuvaring may not be suitable for those who are using: certain medicines for epilepsy, tuberculosis, HIV, bacterial or fungal infections, or St John’s wort.
Conditions to look out for
Do not use Nuvaring if you have or have ever had: a blood clot, heart attack or stroke, liver disease, cervical or breast cancer, or any conditions which puts you at increased risk of these; severe diabetes with blood vessel damage; very high blood pressure; high cholesterol or triglycerides; hyperhomocysteinaemia; migraine with aura; pancreatitis; or unexplained vaginal bleeding;
Tell your doctor during consultation if you have or have ever had any of the following, as they may affect your capacity to safely use this product: gallbladder disease; a close relative who has had cancer; epilepsy; Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis; lupus; haemolytic uraemic syndrome; sickle cell anaemia; varicose veins; or chloasma.
Always disclose your medical history to your prescriber before using this medicine.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
NuvaRing must not be used be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant during use, remove NuvaRing and speak to your doctor.
This product is not recommended for use during breastfeeding. Speak to your doctor for further advice on the contraceptive options available.
Driving and using machinery
This item is not likely to inhibit your capacity to use machines or drive.
Contraceptives and cancer
Please refer to the leaflet for detailed information on combined hormonal birth control and cancer risk.
Our forum Nuvaring
Can I still drink alcohol?
Yes. Alcohol is not known to interact with or affect the function of this treatment.
Will I still be able to drive?
Yes. Nuvaring should not influence your capacity to drive. However you should avoid driving if you experience any side effects which may make doing so dangerous.
Can I take this medicine while pregnant?
No. This product should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or thinks they might be.
It is not usually advised for women who are breastfeeding. In these cases, our doctor may suggest a different contraceptive product.
How do I store it?
Always below 30°C and out of the reach of children.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
This treatment contains etonogestrel, ethinylestradiol, ethylene vinylacetate copolymer (28% and 9% vinylacetate) and magnesium stearate.
Is it available over-the-counter?
You can only buy Nuvaring in the UK with a prescription.
Is it right for me?
You should see a doctor if you are thinking about using Nuvaring for the first time. They will be able to initiate this treatment if it is suitable for you.
Please note we do not provide this treatment.
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