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

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.

Still have more questions about the NuvaRing? Then check out Dr. Kate’s follow-up post, Everything You Need to Know About the Nuva Ring

Dr. Kate of Gynotalk.com 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.

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I’m on the pill (I have been for 5 years) and while it doesn’t bother me, I totally understand the appeal of the nuvaring. Interesting facts, I like the idea of having this alternative.


The NuvaRing gave me horrible acne on my chin and neck. It also made my boobs bigger / fuller and more tender, especially just before that time of the month. There were several other side effects as well, and I have tried it twice in my life as well as Ortho Tri-Cyclin Lo. I always use a male condom with my male partners, I’m going to investigate female condoms next as an alternative.


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[…] the NuvaRing than any other method — for proof, just check out the comments sections of my posts “Tell Me About the Nuva Ring” and“Does the Nuva Ring Deserve Its Bad Press.” The ring just doesn’t seem to be as […]