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What is the NuvaRing and how effective is it?

The NuvaRing or “the Ring” is a flexible plastic ring that you insert into the vagina for three weeks each month to prevent pregnancy. Hormones (synthetic estrogen and progesterone) are released into the reproductive system to prevent the body from releasing eggs (ovulating).

The Ring is inserted into the vagina between the first and fifth day of the menstrual cycle. The Ring stays in the vagina for exactly three weeks, and then it is removed. Two to three days after it’s removed, bleeding that’s like a period will occur. Exactly seven days from when it was removed, a new Ring is inserted. This gives ongoing protection against pregnancy.

The Ring prevents pregnancy 99 percent of the time when used correctly every single month. It becomes fully effective seven days after it is inserted into the vagina the first time and then continuously after that. Some possible side effects include vaginal infections, irritation and discharge, headaches, weight gain or loss and nausea. The NuvaRing does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so using a condom too will protect you against STDs.

A prescription is needed for the Ring, just like any other hormonal method of birth control. Usually family planning clinics, like Planned Parenthood, charge less than a private doctor’s office. Health insurance will cover the Ring. If you don’t want to or can’t use health insurance, most clinics will only ask you to pay what you can afford or may offer services for free.

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