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Dear Dr. Kate: Can You Tell Me All About the NuvaRing?

Thu, Feb 5, 2009

Advice, What's Up Doc?


Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City who’ll be answering your medical questions here regularly. After her recent post on the NuvaRing, a lot of you asked for more information on this birth control device, so here goes:

The NuvaRing is one of my favorite forms of hormonal contraception — all of the benefits of the Pill, without the daily hassle of remembering to use it. But since the Ring hasn’t been around as long as the Pill, many women have a lot of questions about using it. So I thought I’d address the most common Ring issues that come up in my office. When using the Ring….

What’s okay to put in your vagina:

  • A penis. Intercourse will not push the ring up into your pelvis, or to any place where you can’t retrieve it. And semen/sperm will not diminish the ring’s effectiveness.
  • A vibrator or other toys. Same as above.
  • Tampons. Ditto.
  • Medication. It’s fine to treat a yeast infection with over-the-counter creams like Monistat, or to treat vaginosis with prescription MetroGel. You don’t need to rinse the ring off afterward, either — the medication will all absorb eventually.

What’s okay to come out of your vagina:

  • The ring before sex. If sex is uncomfortable with the ring in place, just take it out. It sounds counter-intuitive, to take out your birth control before having sex. But the ring works its magic by turning off your ovaries — and the hormones will remain in your system after the ring comes out. You can remove the ring for up to three hours without losing effectiveness (and if anyone is having sex longer than three hours, please share your good fortune with the rest of us!). Just be sure to put it back in before you roll over and go to sleep.
  • Increased discharge. It doesn’t mean you have an infection — it’s just your vagina’s way of reducing friction with the ring in place. Think of it as more lubrication for sex.

Do any of you have questions about using the NuvaRing? [[Editors' note: Dr. Kate compiled all the most common questions she gets about the Nuva Ring and answered them in a post called "Everything You Need to Know About the Nuva Ring," so she will no longer be answering any Nuva Ring questions in this or other comments sections. The lady only has so much time.]]

– Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.

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268 Responses to “Dear Dr. Kate: Can You Tell Me All About the NuvaRing?”

  1. Anna Says:

    Hello! I use Nuvaring for 1 year. last month i removed it after 2 weeks, so 1 week early. then i had 1 week out with condom protected sex and then put it in again. the question is, is it ok that i removed it at the end of the 2 week(i just forgot, i thought it was 3 week) or i should see the doctor?

  2. Amanda Says:

    Dr Kate-

    I inserted a new ring on August 31. I took it out Oct 1 and then had unprotected sex with my boyfriend on Oct 2. Am I protected from pregnancy? Also, when should I insert my new ring?

  3. Melanie Says:

    Hi Dr. Kate,

    I am currently on Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo, however was told by my Dr. that I should switch to the NuvaRing to help my moodiness. I’m currently in my second week of Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo pills for this month and would like to switch to the NuvaRing before the next pack. Is it okay to start using the ring in place of my last week of pills in order to skip my period for this month (I have a wedding)? And if so, will the effectiveness of the birth control be affected? Will a back up method be needed?

    Thanks for your help!

    - Melanie



  5. candy baby Says:

    i was on the mirana and weighed 138 within 1 month being off i lost 10lbs. will i gain that all back by being on the nuvaring???? i have a mind problem with my weight. “always try to be smaller.” what is the whole deal with weight gain on bc?

  6. candy baby Says:

    also…… will this take my sex drive away like the mirana did? im 22 and my husband 32 but has the mind of a fresh 21 year old jack rabbit??? i dont want to go through that again!!!

  7. casey Says:


  8. Jason Says:

    My girlfriend and I got drunk one night had intercourse and she forgot to put it back in and I believe it was out for 6 hours, we woke up and had intercourse again not thinking about it until after words. it’s been four weeks and her nipples are burning and boobs are hurting, I know this sounds like a dumb question but bare with me and just act like I am a 6 year old asking this. Can the NuvaRing cause those kind of side effects or do you think it might be because she is prego?

  9. yadira M. Says:

    This is my first month using nuvaring, and my doctor had told me to put it in sunday, which was the sunday my regular period was supposed to start, but I never started. Does it matter if I start or not? Was I supposed to put it in?

  10. Katie Says:

    Dear Kate,

    I have been using the Nuvaring for over 3 years and haven’t had a problem with it. I was just married 3 weeks ago, and the week before the wedding, I forgot to put the ring in at the end of my last cycle. My husband and I have been pretty safe but my period is now 6 days late (which is extremely abnormal for me). I have been having cramping, back aches, moodiness for the last week which is exactly what I go through before my period but not for this long. I know if I take a test, there would be a high chance of it being negative since I am only 6 days late. Do you thing there is a chance I could be pregnant? Are the symptons I am feeling the beginning of pregnancy?

  11. Nikki Says:

    Can you get pregnant while on ure period and still get youre period the next month and than notice spotting while on the nuvarig?

  12. Racheal Says:

    HI there,

    I was using the Nuva Ring for 3 weeks on back to back with starting a new ring every three weeks, so now I have NOT gotten a period since taking the ring out FOUR weeks ago, normally after removing a nuva ring a period is supposed to arrive in 5-10 days, is this correct and is in normal to have a period in 5-10 on an on going back to back 3 week cycle of the Nuva? Is it nomal to not have a period for 4 weeks after removal of the nuva ring?

  13. Porcha Says:

    I forgot to takr the ring out.It was supposed to come out on 10/7 I took it out 10/12. I had unprotected sex 10/10. Is it possible that I may be pregnant?

  14. Amanda Says:

    I just started the NuvaRing and don’t like the feeling during intercourse, but hate the idea of taking it out/putting it in at my guy’s place. Call me crazy, but I just don’t like that. If I knew I would be taking it out, let’s say, tomorrow night, could I take a birth control pill (I still have my white Ortho Tri-Cyclen pills and a pack of Loestrin) tomorrow morning and still be protected?

  15. Alicia Says:

    Ive been using nuvaring for about two months now, an hav had regular periods until now. I was supposed to start on sunday an its now friday my cycle ends on this comin sunday. im alil worried so i took two at home pregnancy tasts both came back negative. if my period doesnt start what should i do?

  16. emandlo Says:

    Hi everyone,

    Dr. Kate compiled all the most common questions she gets about the Nuva Ring and answered them in a post called “Everything You Need to Know About the Nuva Ring” — read it here:


    So fyi, she will no longer be answering any Nuva Ring questions in this or any other comments section. The lady only has so much time.

    – Em & Lo

  17. rush Says:

    I messed up the dates and took the nuvaring out a week early. i then just started a new cycle, so i put a new ring in the following week. in the middle, i started my period like i normally would. now it’s about two weeks later and i’m bleeding again. should i just take the ring out and start fresh next week? and is it normal to bleed again since i messed up the proper cycle?

  18. Miajah Says:

    Dr. Kate, I took my ring out on Oct 13th and got my period on Oct 16th. I was sick and forgot to put my ring back in the follow week. That week I also had a Doctor’s appointment and my Dr. advised not to put the new ring back in because I had past the 7 day window and could possibly have conceived already. She advised not to put another ring in until my next period which I still have not gotten yet. My fiance and I have continued to have unprotected sex every week since my last period. On the ring I normally would have a 26-28day cycle. When I’m not on any hormones my cycle is 21-25days. I haven’t had any spotting or bleeding but I did have a light brownish mucus like discharge about a week or 2 ago. In the last day or so I’ve had mild cramping, which I never get with my periods and bloating after I eat. Normally my regular pms symptoms are nausea, constant bloating for about a week and headaches which all I get the week before my period. I havent had those usual symptoms. I took a pregnancy test 2 days ago and it was negative and I have been going to bed earlier than usual. During my first pregnancy (7yrs ago) I had no symptoms at all except for me missing my period. How much longer should I wait before I test again and could it be that my period is late from me not putting my ring back in?

  19. Kelly Says:

    I can’t completely rememeber when I put my ring in, but it was in the very beginning of last week, I was on my period. I took my nuva ring out because I thought it was stop my period, but it didn’t. My period has been going on for like, a full week now. Wtf is suppose to happen?

  20. Shanel Says:

    I would NOT recommend this form of birth control. I actually got pregnant and had a miscarriage while using this. And I did use it correctly.

  21. ali Says:

    is my vagina too small for the nuva ring…i think it shrunk

  22. Sam Says:

    I had the ring in for 3 weeks and I didn’t take it out because I was going to skip my period but I still got my period with the ring in. I put a new ring in a few hours. I’ve had blood clots for a couple days then just blood and now I’ve been having brown discharge. Its been over 2 weeks and it hasn’t gone away. Why won’t this brown discharge go away? Or could this mean the ring wasn’t working right?

  23. joshmarthaller Says:

    I encountered the “so that’s how many months?” thing today. I tried to shrug it off but then she stood there questioning me. “5 months? 6 months? When are you due again?”

  24. jessenia Says:

    I took my nuvaring out on the 14 for my 1week break I was to put it back in on the 21 and now its the 27 and I just remeberd that I did not insert it and I had unprotected sex on thusday what should I do

  25. candice Says:

    dear kate;

    on november 27th i started my period and had sex on the 29th without a condom. i put in my nuvaring on december 2nd like my doctor told me to and she said that i could keep it in for 3 weeks then take it out on the 26th and i did but today is the 28th and i still haven’t started my period; could i be pregnant ?

  26. betty Says:

    I have been on the NuvaRing for over 2 years now and I wouldn’t want to use anything else. I love it! No side effects. No worries. No need to remember something daily.

  27. christen Says:

    hi Dr kate im sure you get this a lot but, i was 3 days late putting my ring back in after the 7 day cycle. i had a bunch of unprotected sex with my partner during this time. is there any chance of pregnancy because of this.thanks for your time.

  28. brenda Says:

    I forgot to put in the ring back in, i was a day late. Am i still protected

  29. Megan ragsdale Says:

    This is my second month on the nuva ring, I took it out the beginning of the second week for intercourse an forgot to put it in until the next day. I put it in an started having some heavy spotting so I took it back out and had a three day period. Now my boobs are killing me and I’m super tired an nasous. If I was pregnant and didn’t kno it an took the ring out would it cause me to have a period even though I ampreggo? I’m afraid to take a test because I’m 21 an married and wAnt a baby but my husband does not. What do you think?

  30. Bianca Rogers Says:

    Dear Kate,

    I started using the Nuva Ring in Oct. I had my period from the 5th until about the 8th/9th of Feb. I always bleed for about 3-4 days even that and it’s light. I was sick and suppose to put my ring back in on the 10th of Feb and didn’t do so until the 13th. I had sex on Feb 14th with a condom but I am having cramping(or it might just be my mind freaking me out). I just need a professional opinion before I go crazy.

    Thank You :)

  31. jenna Says:

    Dr. Kate –

    I started using Nuvaring yesterday, I switched from using orthotricycline. Yesterday I was on the 2nd day of my period, however I have a special occasion this weekend that I do not want to have my period for. The nurse where I got the Nuvaring told me that if I inserted the ring, it would stop my period. Do you think this will actually work? If not, is there anything else I can do to stop my period?

  32. vix Says:

    The Nuva Ring is the best birth control EVER!!!!!! I can’t recommend it hghly enough. :)

  33. heidi Says:

    if i have only been on nuvaring for 2 weeks and had sex last night without a condom should i go get the plan b or can i feel safe that i am not going to get pregnant

  34. moy Says:

    I’m on the nuva ring, but i removed it since it was the last day of my cycle, but my boyfriend and i had sex a few hours prior to me removing the ring. am i still protected? or should i get plan b?

  35. jane Says:

    Dr. Kate,
    I have been on the NuvaRing for 4 years with no complications. This month, however, my period started 2 weeks after insertion (yesterday). Normally, I would just keep the ring in until the scheduled removal, however, I am going to the Caribbean to visit my boyfriend in 3 days and had specifically planned the trip during a time when I would NOT be bleeding. Is there anything I can do? I’m tempted to insert a new ring… would that work?

  36. Jess Says:

    dear Dr.Kate, during my 7 days off of the nuvaring ofcourse I had my mentrual cycle, but only for 3 days out of the 7…. after my cycle was done I had unprotected sex…could I still get pregnant?

    By the way, I’ve been on 2 different birth controls before (the pills yaz, and depo) each for more than 3 months….

  37. Melissa Says:

    Ok well my ring came out March 23, and it was supposed to go in on the 31st of March, but I couldnt make an appointment to get another ring so I’ve been off for 12 days and I’ve had intercourse unprotected. Am I able to get pregnant now? How long does the protectivness of the ring last?

  38. Melissa Says:

    Also I had my period on March 27th and finished on the 31st of March.

  39. annie Says:

    hi DR. Kate
    i have been on the nuvaring for 2 years and my 3 last periods have started late and are really light compared to my normal period and i do have unprotected sex with my boyfriend

  40. Magaly Says:

    I was suppose to take my nueva ring out on the 20th and didnt take it out till the 24th and had sex on the 22nd…i don know what to do!! can i be pregnate?

  41. mary Says:

    Dear Kate, I had sex a day after putting the ring back in and beeing ring free for 7 days, and while my boyfriend and I were having sex the ring fell, so I put it back in but it didn’t feel confortable no more so I decided to take it out and we just had unprotected sex, but put the ring back in before the 3 hours, so I’am wondering if I’am still protected eventhough I was ring free for 7 days and had unprotected sex a day after putting ring back in?
    By the way since this happend it’s been a month and now

  42. amber Says:

    i’m wondering if the nuvaring reduces you sex hormones like doesn’t make you not want to as much,and also during the seven days i take it out for my period is it still effective like whats the protection i have during that 7 days?

  43. bali Says:

    i have been using nuva ring for 3 days now since my last period. last night i removed it to have sex and left the ring in a cool clean environment, anyways i saw it just now at 6:30 pm the next day,i forgot to put it back in before i went to bed. can i re-insert that same ring and still have the same effectiveness, or should i just go get a new one

  44. charlene karras Says:

    I removed my nuvaring out a week early forgetting it was suppose to be 3 weeks, then I put one in a week after and 3 weeks later after I took out the nuvaring, I havent had my period for 3 days so far. I was wondering if it had to do with me putting it in on the day I was suppose to have my period, but at the same time I dont know if it maybe means I am pregnant. what should I do? 3 days without the dated period.

  45. stephanie love Says:

    I use nuvaring but every time i have sex i takes it out, then when im done i put it back in…. can i get pregnant that y

  46. stephanie love Says:

    I’m a user of nuvaring but every time i have sex i remove it, then when done i put it back in…. my question is can i still get pregnant that way

  47. Rebecca Says:

    I stopped taking the nuvaring because it made me depressed, lost my sex drive, had trouble breathing… just felt like something was very wrong with me.. I had my last period on june 27 started the ring on the 10th of july and 3 weeks after that i put in the new one. I was trying to avoid having a period. I stopped the ring on the 9th in the morning.. I still havent gotten my period and have symptoms of being preggo, but i heard thats common when stopping. Should I be worried or does it take a week to get my period?

  48. esther Says:

    I’ve used nuvaring and like that it takes it effect quick,but it always interfer wit having an orgasm mentally.

  49. rebecca Says:

    hi ,my period started yesterday ,and i inserted the ring ,but after i took it off because my period was very painfull,so i placed it back in the bag and then i the fridge ,is it ok to put i back in after more than 4 hours even though this is the first time am using it ?

  50. tara Says:

    Hi, I started Nuvaring in May and decided not to take it anymore as of sept 5th because I feel I’m ready for another child! Was just wondering how long it could take to become pregnant again?


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