THE RING

The ring is a small, bendable ring that is inserted into a girl’s vagina.

EFFECTIVENESS
The ring’s pretty effective when used correctly.
SIDE-EFFECTS
The most common—yet temporary—effects are irregular bleeding, sore boobs and nausea.
COST
 Ranges from $0 to $75 a month.
WHERE TO GET THEM
Need to visit a health care provider or clinic for the initial prescription.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS
Lower hormones than The Pill
OTHER NOTES
You can actually take the Ring out during sex if you don't want your partner to feel it - but don't forget to put it back in right away!

The ring is a small, bendable ring that is inserted into a girl’s vagina. When you look for it at the pharmacy, you’ll see it called NuvaRing, which is the brand name. It stays in place for three weeks at a time and is taken out for the fourth week. The ring works by giving off hormones that prevent ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken the cervical mucus, which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

Must be comfortable with your body.

If you’re not okay with putting your fingers inside yourself, the ring probably isn’t for you. It’s a lot like putting in a tampon, though. If you can do that, you’re good to go.

Relatively little effort each month.

If you’re the kind of person who would have trouble remembering to take a pill every day, the ring might be a good option. You only need to remember to do something twice a month.

Skipping Aunt Flo.

If you want, the ring allows you to skip your period altogether, which BTW, is totally safe. Consider the possibilities!

Storage and privacy.

If you’re storing the ring for more than four months, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. So if you don’t want anyone to know you’re using it, that could be a problem. Also, some partners say they can feel the ring when having sex. You can take the ring out during sex—just make sure to put it back in within three hours, and only do it once within a 24-hour time frame.

Lower hormone dose.

The ring uses a lower dose of hormones than other methods, so there’s less chance of negative side effects.

Blood clots: Should I be worried?

There has been lot of hype about the ring and blood clots. The truth is, for most people, the risk of blood clots while using the ring is very low. Some genetic and medical conditions increase risk, so check with a medical provider if you’re worried.

 

The pregnancy question.

You’ll return to fertility—aka, be able to get pregnant—pretty quickly after you go off the ring. So don’t take any chances. If you’re not ready for a baby, protect yourself using another birth control method.

 

The ring is pretty easy to use. All you need to remember is the schedule for inserting and removing it.

How to put it in

First off, wash your hands. To put in the ring, squish it between your thumb and index finger and insert it like a tampon. It’ll sit tucked up against the side of your vaginal wall. The exact position doesn’t really matter as long as you’re comfortable. You don’t even need to take it out when you’re having sex. But if you want to take it out during sex, that’s cool, too. Just make sure to put it back in within three hours, and do that only once during a 24-hour time frame.

How to take it out

Once you insert the ring, leave it in for three weeks. Take it out for the fourth week, then insert a new ring and start the cycle again. To take the ring out, hook your finger on its lower edge and pull.

When the ring is out, you’ll probably get your period. If you’re still bleeding when it’s time to put the ring back in, don’t worry. That’s totally normal.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, if you have health insurance, chances are good you’ll be able to get this method with no out-of-pocket cost. Tricare, the military insurance, covers this method at Tricare-authorized providers. Medicaid also covers it.

Prices:

This method may be free or low-cost for you!

  • With Medicaid – Free.
  • With insuranceFree or low-cost
  • Without insurance – The full price of the ring can range from $30 to $75.  

Payment assistance

Check with a local family planning clinic to find out if they offer free or low-cost rings. Also, ask your provider for extra samples or check out www.nuvaring.com for coupons.

You might still need condoms.

Because the ring is a great pregnancy protector, some people drop condoms too soon. Remember— the ring doesn’t prevent STIs. Only stop using condoms after you and your partner have been tested and have talked about your STI statuses.

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every birth control method. And everyone’s different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friends experience.

The Positive

  • Easy to use—it’s just like putting in a tampon
  • Doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment
  • Might give you shorter, lighter periods
  • May clear up acne
  • Can reduce menstrual cramps and PMS
  • Offers protection against nasty health problems like endometrial and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia, ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease

The Negative*

These symptoms will probably go away after 2 or 3 months:

  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting

These symptoms may last longer:

  • Increased vaginal discharge, irritation or infection
  • Change in sex drive

Don’t take our word for it. Check out these videos to hear women and men talk about their experiences with the ring. And be sure to ask your health care provider which method is best for you.

 


Theresa, 21, the ring

 


Nicole, 20, the ring

 


Alexandria, 21, the ring

 


Tim, 27, the ring

Expert dirt: “Put a ring in it! But only if you feel comfortable with your body and with the regular schedule.”