The contraceptive ring (Nuva Ring) is a soft plastic ring that is placed in the vagina and left in for 3 weeks. It is then removed and a new ring is placed one week later. This has a very low failure rate . It is the same medication that is found in birth control pills; it is just a different way of getting the medication into the body.
Some women will leave the ring in the vagina for the entire 4 weeks and then change it for a new ring with no ring free time period. This is safe and effective. It often makes the periods disappear completely but may cause some spotting. This is different than the suggested use but is another reasonable way to use the ring.
The side effects of the ring are the same as the birth control pill. Most women have no adverse effects and serious side effects are extremely rare. If the ring falls out on its own, during sex for instance, it can be washed off and replaced in the vagina. It will still function normally. The ring must be stored in the refrigerator before it is used or it could lose its potency.
This is a good birth control option for many women. It is very convenient in that it only needs to be placed once a month. It tends to make the periods light and regular and has very few side effects. The only problem for some women is the act of putting the ring in the vagina and removing it each month. If you can get past that psychological barrier, it is generally well liked and well tolerated. Sometimes women ask me if it is safe to have something in the vagina for that long. The contraceptive ring is designed to safely stay in the vagina for 3 weeks. This is not true with tampons. Leaving a tampon for long periods of time can lead to toxic shock syndrome which can be life threatening. This is not an issue with the birth control ring.