What is Vaginal Ring?
Vaginal ring, also known as NuvaRing, is a kind of birth control which uses estrogen and progestin to keep the uterus empty, thereby preventing pregnancy. It is a plastic loop that goes into the vagina and releases hormones to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
NuvaRing cannot protect you against sexually transmitted infections. In this case, you should use a condom or dental dams during any form of sexual intercourse.
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According to Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, “vaginal ring is really like taking a combined hormonal birth control pill in another form.”
The estrogen subdues ovulation, so your ovaries don’t release eggs for fertilization, and the progestin thickens your cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to travel. The progestin causes your uterine lining to be thin so that if an egg did happen to get fertilized, it wouldn’t be able to receive the nutrients it would require to grow.
Most people prefer NuvaRing because unlike the pill, it doesn’t come with the daily commitment.
Basic Things to Know Before Using the Vaginal Ring
NuvaRing may help with heavy or painful periods
NuvaRing has progestin which reduces how much the lining of your uterus builds up. As such, you can have a lighter flow during your menstrual flow. Less uterine lining can mean fewer pain-inducing prostaglandins, which are hormone-like chemicals that causes the painful cramping tied to your period.
2. NuvaRing can fit into all vaginas
The ring is flexible, meaning it can bend and stretch easily to fit inside your vagina. However, it may not immediately work for women who just had a vaginal delivery with a very big baby. But generally, NuvaRing should fit most women.
No need to refrigerate your NuvaRing before using it.
There’s absolutely no need for you to keep your NuvaRing in the fridge, however, your pharmacist can do this. From the information for users, NuvaRing should be kept at room temperature (between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to four months or until the expiration date.
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That prescribing information advises pharmacists to keep NuvaRing in a fridge at 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit before supplying it to patients, to help the product last longer, according to Jamie Alan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University.
Pharmacists may need to refrigerate the NuvaRing since they may hang onto it for longer than four months, this would help preserve them.
The ring won’t get lost inside you
Most women may be concerned about inserting the ring into their vagina for fear it may get trapped inside them. However, this is not likely to happen because your cervix (the narrow, lower end of your uterus) will block the ring from going anywhere inside your body other than your vagina.
Though the NuvaRing makers noted that some people have mistakenly inserted the ring into their bladder instead of their vagina. So, call your doctor immediately if you have pain after you insert the ring and you can’t find it in your vagina.
You can use the ring to manipulate your period
You can consult your doctor on ways to use the ring to manipulate your period. Sometimes the ring-free period week may be planned for a time that’s completely inconvenient for you. So, you might want to change when your period comes or completely skip it.
The ring uses a combination of progestin and estrogen to prevent an unplanned pregnancy when it’s actually in your body. However when it comes out, there are no hormones from the ring circulating in your body, so you’ll bleed in response to the absence of those extra hormones. So, if you want your period to come earlier, you can remove your ring for that week, then put in a fresh one after (on the same day of the week and at the same time as you’ve been inserting and removing it in the past).
If you want to skip your period altogether, you can just keep your ring in for four weeks instead of three, then put in a new ring instead of having seven ring-free days, says Dr. Minkin.
How to Use NuvaRing
To use the ring, you insert it at a certain time and remove it at the same time of day three weeks later. During your off-week without the ring, you’ll get a “period,” which is really just a withdrawal bleed due to the lack of additional hormones. After the off-week is over, you should insert a fresh ring on the same day and time as you did before, even if your period hasn’t stopped.
The insertion process:
According to the recommendation from the makers of NuvaRing, to insert the device:
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Choose a position that’s comfortable for you, like lying down, squatting, or standing with one leg up.
- Take your NuvaRing out of the foil pouch, hold it between your thumb and forefinger, and squeeze the sides together.
- Insert the ring into your vagina and push it up using your index finger. If you feel too aware of it or uncomfortable with where it is, you may need to push it up more.
You can also ask your doctor about a tampon-like applicator to insert the ring easily.
The removal process
For the removal process:
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Get into your comfortable position.
- Stick your index finger into your vagina and hook it through the ring.
- Pull gently downward and forward to pull it out.
- Toss it in the trash.
Image source: telegraph.co.uk
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