Thursday, February 05, 2009

NuvaRing Ins and Outs

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 counterintuitive, 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?

12 comments:

El'vira said...

Thank you so much, the information was really helpful, but I still have one question. How often is it possible to remove the ring for up to three hours for the purposes of an intercourse? Can it be removed several times a day? Everyday? Thank you!

Dr. Kate said...

El'vira, no one is sure how often you can remove it - we know that if there's not enough hormones in your system, then your ovaries won't get suppressed that cycle. My best guess? You could take the ring out every day...but if you're going to take it out several times in a day, I would put it back in as soon as possible each time (i.e., don't leave it out for 3 hours each time).

El'vira said...

Thank you, Dr. Kate. I'll follow your advice.

Megan said...

Is it true that women with a tilted uterus should not use the Nuvaring?

Dr. Kate said...

Megan, it's not true at all. The NuvaRing will fit just as comfortably - and work just as well - no matter what the position of your uterus.

Michelle said...

Dr. Kate- I had been on the nuvaring for 3 years, prior this I had experienced some bleeding during sex. I went off the ring about 8 months ago and since then I have had heavy peiods and bleeding during sex pretty much everytime. My GYN exams have been normal, could there be something hormonal cuasing the bleeding and the nuvaring is helping it??? I'd like to get pregnant next year and would like to be off the ring for a while but the excess bleeding is terrible.

Dr. Kate said...

Michelle, if your exams and testing are all normal, it may be that you're having irregular shedding of the lining of your uterus, that you see more often after sex. Consider staying on the ring until you're ready to get pregnant - it doesn't need to "wash out" of your system, and may give you really good cycle control until then.

Diana said...

Hi I am using two antibiotics for a two week period. So far it has only been one week. And, of course, I have developed a yeast infection. My Dr. said I could use Monistat 7, but I completely forgot to ask her how to use it with Nuvaring. And they are closed for the holiday. So should I take the Nuvaring out each night for an hour or two and let the medication absorb, or should I just leave it in?

Dr. Kate said...

Diana, just leave it in. The ring shouldn't affect the absorption of the medication, and you don't want to forget to replace the ring.

Aaron said...

So my fiance is on the ring right now because we are getting married in May. We will not be sexually actice whatsoever until after marriage. She has a few concerns though. She worries that i will be able to taste the ring. Is this a potential issue? Will i be consuming hormones in any way by oraly interacting with her vagina? Will i notice or be affected by the ring? Thank.

Dr. Kate said...

Aaron, you may notice the ring with your fingers, tongue or penis, but it won't affect you. I don't think it has a taste (I haven't heard or read about this from anyone), and you won't absorb any significant level of hormones from it.

Diana said...

Well,
I really don't think so. My husband doesn't feel, taste or see it. He actually likes it. He has never had a complaint about it.