What are the advantages of vaginal rings for contraception?

Updated: Oct 06, 2020
  • Author: Frances E Casey, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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NuvaRing is highly effective because it results in complete suppression of ovulation. The steady release of hormone provides exceptional cycle control. The ring is a very effective reversible method of birth control. With typical use, although no studies have been published, the ring is presumed to be more effective than combination oral contraceptives. For example, with typical usage, 8 of 100 pill users become pregnant; with perfect use of the NuvaRing, less than 1 of 100 women becomes pregnant.

Because daily intake is not a component of NuvaRing contraception, because it is easily inserted and removed by the woman herself, and because return of fertility is rapid upon discontinuation, NuvaRing is a highly acceptable method for women and their partners. During the clinical trials, women and their partners reported an acceptability rate of 85%. Because the hormones are absorbed directly into the blood through the vaginal mucosa, the hepatic first-pass metabolism of progestin is prevented. The ring delivers the lowest dose of ethinyl estradiol compared with other combined hormonal contraceptives. Unlike combined oral contraceptives, the adverse effects of nausea and vomiting are avoided with ring use. Because NuvaRing is a recently approved product, results of long-term studies will not be available for some time; however researchers assume that the noncontraceptive advantages associated with the NuvaRing will be similar to those known to be associated with the combination oral contraceptives.

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