Dr. Kate: Does the NuvaRing Deserve Its Bad Press?


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:

Dr. Kate,

I’m writing you because I’m a bit confused about NuvaRing. I would like to try it and I’m fitted to do so (no weight, age, smoking issues…) but I can read a lot of negative testimonies on the internet and it seems that many lawyers are trying to do a class action against this product. The abundance of negative info makes me confused. Do you think that they are just motivated by greed and that the product being FDA-approved should not present more dangers than any other contraceptives? Do you think that these lawyers are right and that NuvaRing presents more dangers than other contraceptives?

— Wannabe Ringer

Dear Ringer,

Birth control in all its forms is a magnet for negative feelings, bad press, and class-action lawsuits. So many folks find the idea of birth control abominable at heart, that it’s not “natural,” or that women shouldn’t be interfering with their fertility in any way. And these feelings influence how they talk about their experiences — or worse, about what’s “right” for other women. You’ll often find that unhappy people are the ones motivated to blog about their experiences, or talk to reporters, or approach lawyers. And if it makes for a good story, or a possible case in court, they’ll find reporters and lawyers who are only too eager to listen.

The FDA, for all its faults, puts all birth control methods through a rigorous approval process — manufacturers seem to have even more hoops to jump through than makers of other drugs and devices. So once a contraceptive has been FDA-approved, you can take some comfort in what the studies must have shown about its efficacy and safety. I can tell you that the studies of the NuvaRing — and there are many — are all in agreement about both the effectiveness and the safety of the ring. While all contraceptives carry rare to small risks of serious side effects, the NuvaRing is no worse than the others. So I would say try it!

Best of luck,
Dr. Kate

[[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 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.


  1. Well, I am just now about to start eh nubaring, just purchased it and its in my fridge at the moment. I am just so skeptical when it comes to birth control, I am mentally disabled sot his adds to that stress.

    I am just worried about what teh chances are of me getting pregnant if i do not use condoms. I just this last year got rid of a Mirena IUD. The one thing that i miss most about the UID was not having to use the expensive lambskin condoms. I am latex allergic and have severe sensitivities to non latex condoms, including frequent infections.

    Now that we are back to using condoms, we are spending a lot of money, and not enjoying our time together. Being in a faithful 7 year long relationship, sex is important to our intimacy, and keeping the relationship low stress.

    I would love nothing more than to go back to having stress free intimacy with my bf, but just how safe am I in deciding to eliminate condoms again?!

  2. I’m 16 years old and
    I have been on the Nuva Ring for one full month now. I just recently put it back in last Friday, but I was supposed to put it in on Thursday. Will this affect my monthly schedule or should I not worry about it? ALSO; MY boy and I have developed these weird rash type things on our private parts. He has a red, inrritable ring around the shaft of his penis right below the head and mine just itches like mad! and kinda stings. My mom said it sounds like a yeast infection but I want outside opinions.

  3. I have been on several forms of birth control for the last 15 years (depo shot, patch and now the ring). I gained almost 40 pounds on the dept shot, which truly has caused me a great deal of sadness and I have yet to lose. I went on to the patch after hearing great things – that is until the lawsuits began. My doctor suggested changing over to the ring and I have been VERY happy with it. I have decided, however, to “give my body a break” for several months and get off of everything to work on losing this weight I gained almost 9 years ago. I definitely plan on going back on the ring once I get my workout on – that is, I HOPE to lose some of this weight. I have heard horror stories of women gaining MORE weight after coming off the ring:(

  4. Jamie:
    I don’t think you’ll come back to read this after so many months, but…

    The vagina is only so deep. I’m kind of confused about how the ring could have gotten “lost” inside your friend. I mean, if you are relaxed and well-lubricated, you can touch your own cervix. Really! Give it a try! (Wash your hands well and trim your nails first, though.)

    Oh, and I’ve been using the ring for 5 years now and have had no problems with it. But it’s not for everyone. *Tylenol* isn’t for everyone. Some people react badly to Nyquil. Medications have side effects, and they affect different people in different ways, and there’s not enough research on what happens when you combine different medications or when you mix medications with different foods. So you might be fine with medication X, but mix X with grapefruit, and all hell will break loose, for instance.

  5. I am very bad at taking pills. And I usually stop takin them. That’s why the nuvaring works for me, I’m moody all the time so I don’t notice a change but I have slight acne that hopes to be cleared up by the ring , so far so gooD

  6. I have been using nuvaring for about 3 month now, i have been using it as directed three weeks in and one week out. I had unprotected sex for the first time amd he ejaculated in me on monday evening and am suppose to tale the ring out on friday?? Am i safe from hetting pregnant, should i take plan b or not? And sjould i talle the ring out on time or sjoild i keep it for an extra week?? Please help

  7. Mary, have you thought about an IUD? The Mirena may be perfect for you.

    Maggie, the most common initial side effects are spotting and increased discharge (but not infection). Since you’re going from the pill to the ring, that decreases your chances of abnormal bleeding.

    Lissa, I’m so sorry you had such a rough time, and I’m glad you’ve got a method that works for you.

    Kenna, spotting with or without sex is very normal. If the odd bleeding persists after a few cycles, though, see your gyno.

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