NuvaRing Uses

NuvaRing is used for preventing pregnancy. It is similar to oral contraceptives but comes in the form of a flexible ring that is inserted vaginally once a month. It works by stopping ovulation and altering the lining of the uterus and cervical mucus. Healthcare providers may also sometimes recommend off-label NuvaRing uses, such as for the treatment of painful, irregular, or heavy menstrual periods.

What Is NuvaRing Used For?

NuvaRing® (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring) is a prescription medication used to prevent pregnancy. It is similar to other oral contraceptives (birth control pills), except it is a flexible ring that is inserted vaginally once a month.
There are many different birth control options available today. Each method has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and no particular birth control method is right for all women. Some of the most commonly used birth control methods include:
  • Barrier contraceptives -- condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and various other methods that physically block the sperm from entering the uterus
  • Spermicides -- foams, jellies, gels, suppositories, inserts
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives (which contain a progestin and an estrogen) -- most birth control pills, patches, and rings
  • Progestin-only contraceptives -- some birth control pills ("mini pills"), injections, and implants
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) -- implanted devices that are both very effective and reversible
  • Periodic abstinence, sometimes known as natural family planning or the rhythm method -- avoiding intercourse during the fertile phase of your menstrual cycle
  • Withdrawal -- removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation
  • Surgical sterilization -- tubal ligation (getting your "tubes tied") or vasectomy (for men).
Some methods of contraception fall into more than one category. For instance, the Today® sponge works as both a spermicide and a barrier contraceptive. NuvaRing falls into the category of combined hormonal contraceptives, as it contains both an estrogen and a progestin. Benefits of combined hormonal contraceptives include:
  • Very effective birth control
  • Regular menstrual cycles
  • Lighter menstrual bleeding
  • Less menstrual pain
  • Decreased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus).
However, combined hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of blood clots and other problems, and not all women should take combined hormonal contraceptives (see NuvaRing Warnings and Precautions for more information). As with almost all methods of birth control, combined hormonal contraceptives must be used correctly and consistently. This can become a problem for women who have trouble remembering to take a tablet every day. NuvaRing may be a good option for such women, as it is inserted and removed just once a month.
Importantly, NuvaRing does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many situations, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to NuvaRing (to prevent transmission of STDs).
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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