Everything You Need To Know About The NuvaRing
These days rings are so much more than just pretty adornments and as much as we love a good gift, this is like no band we’ve ever come across.
When it comes to contraceptives, we’re pretty familiar with the regulars: the pill, IUD, injection and, of course, good ol’ condoms. But now, there’s a new kid on the block – the contraceptive vaginal ring or NuvaRing. Transparent and measuring 54mm in diameter, the ring is a combined hormonal contraceptive that first became available in South Africa in 2013.
While still relatively unknown when compared to the pill, Dr Judith Kluge, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, says that “the NuvaRing offers an acceptable alternative to combined oral contraceptives (COCs), especially for women who want improved menstrual cycle control, as there are better bleeding patterns compared to the COC.”
The ring is inserted once every four weeks and is removed after three weeks so that you experience a “period” or withdrawal bleeding. It’s held in place by the walls of your vagina and pelvic-floor muscles and it doesn’t matter where it sits inside you. Worried about awkward moments in the bedroom? Don’t be, you don’t need to remove it before you get it on – many couples don’t feel it at all during sex. But, if you’d prefer, you can take it out for three hours (although this isn’t recommended).
The ring comes with a range of benefits that may just trump he pill: since hormones are released continuously into your vagina and not through your digestive system, lower doses can be used and, while there are drugs that decrease the ring’s effectiveness (certain anticonvulsants for epilepsy and antiretrovirals for HIV), most antibiotics have no affect on the ring (the only one is one for TB). For the preoccupied girl-on-the-go, however, the biggest perk of all is that you don’t need to remember to take it every day at the same time… Goodbye, alarm!
Not really keen on a ring? Here are three other contraceptives currently making headlines:
1/ Natural Cycles
This app uses your temperature to assess whether you need to use protection on any given day. All you have to do each morning is measure your temperature and log your results – the app will do the rest.
2/ The Remote Control Contraceptive
Set for release in 2018, this contraceptive involves inserting a chip underneath the skin, which then releases a small hormone dose everyday. If you want to try to conceive, you can turn off the device with a remote control.
3/ The Clean Sheets Pill
This one’s for the guys. The Clean Sheets Pill allows men to orgasm without ejaculating, meaning there’s no sperm to fertilise the egg. Bonus: it could help prevent STIs. And cut down on laundry!
Looking for more? Here’s what can happen to your body when you decide to ditch the Pill.
This article was originally published in the Women’s Health South Africa September 2017 issue.