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The Ring

The ring (brand name: NuvaRing) is a small, bendable ring that you insert into your vagina. You leave it in place for three weeks at a time, then take it out for the fourth week. The ring works by giving off hormones that prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

Details

Comfortable with your body
It's a lot like putting in a tampon..

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.

Storage and privacy
If you’re storing the ring for more than four months, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Some guys say they can feel the ring during  sex.

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

Smokers older than 35, beware
For those older than 35 years old, smoking while using the ring increases the risk of certain side effects. If you’re younger, why not quit smoking now and save yourself the trouble in the future? If you need help quitting, visit www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits .

The pregnancy question
You'll return to fertility (that's just another way of saying you'll go back to being 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.

Side Effects

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone's different, so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.

The Positive
Positive “side effects”? You bet.

  • Easy to use — it's just like putting in a tampon
  • You don’t have to stop and do anything before sex.
  • Might give you shorter, lighter periods
  • May clear up acne
  • Can reduce menstrual cramps and PMS
  • Offers protection against some nasty health problems, like endometrial and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease

The Negative
Everyone worries about negative side effects, but for most women, they're not a problem. Remember, you're introducing hormones into your body, so it can take a few months to adjust. Give it time.

Things that will probably go away after two or three months:

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

Things that may last longer:

  • Increased vaginal discharge, irritation or infection
  • A change in your sex drive

If you still feel uncomfortable after three months, switch methods and stay protected. You're worth it.

*For a very small number of women, there are risks of serious side effects

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