My Experience with the NuvaRing: It's Not as Scary as It Seems

The first time I went to the doctor to talk about birth control, it was pretty overwhelming. My doctor asked me some questions, and based on those, as well as my age and menstrual patterns, she prescribed me my first set of pills. To be honest, I don’t even remember what kind they were—all I knew was I had to take them at the same time every day, and when I started the sugar pills, that’s when I would get my period.

Initially, I didn’t have any problems taking them; it was all pretty straight forward. I set an alarm for every night at 9:00 p.m. to remind myself to take a pill, like most women do. I didn’t notice any changes in my cycle, and overall, my behaviour was pretty much the same. Nothing too exciting, which is how we all want it.

Unfortunately, as the months went by, I began to experience some weird side effects. Firstly, I began spotting a week before my period was due. However, not only was I spotting, I also had two-week long periods as a result of it, and the second week was always the worst. My cramps seemed to be more painful than before—at times, I would have to crouch in the bathroom at school just to find some relief. Ibuprofen didn’t help, and neither did Midol Extra Strength. I would spend a lot of my time curled up in bed, cuddling a hot water bottle.

I also always felt nauseous. No matter what I took, or what I did to help, my stomach would always feel uneasy throughout the day. It would worsen after taking the pill, which led me to making an appointment with the doctor to discuss the issues I was experiencing. I knew from talking to my friends that my suffering wasn’t normal—if anything, the pill is supposed to help with things like heavy periods and menstrual cramps.

 

I explained the side effects to my doctor, who wrote it off as the most common things women experience on this particular pill. So, she switched me to something else—something stronger to help with the cramps and the spotting. I went home and hoped for the best.

But I still had problems. I had stopped spotting, but my cramps were still almost unbearable, and my stomach was still always upset. It also messed with my mood a lot, making me melancholy and tired all the time. Not to mention, because of these effects, I neglected to take the pill to try to feel better. I also had a tendency to forget to take it at the same time every night, especially if I was out somewhere and didn’t have access to it.

That’s when I seriously started to consider the NuvaRing. When I was first considering my options for contraception, my doctor mentioned this form, but at the time it just wasn’t something I was interested in. And to be honest, it kind of freaked me out.

 

But, after having used the NuvaRing for the past few years, I am here to tell you that it really isn’t that scary. In fact, it’s so much better than the pill form, and here are some reasons why:

 

1. You Don’t Need to Take It On a Daily Basis

Unlike the pill, the NuvaRing is not oral. Instead, you insert it directly into your vagina, and leave it in for 3 weeks. You’re not required to remember to take a pill at the same time every day; instead, you insert the Ring, and don’t take it out until after 21 days. This means no more pregnancy scares on account of you forgetting to take the pill on time! Keep in mind, however, you should try to insert and remove the NuvaRing at approximately the same time when necessary.

2. It’s More Effective Than the Pill

The NuvaRing has been shown to be 98% effective, which is music to every woman’s ears. If we’re not wanting or planning to be pregnant, we don’t want to take any chances. By having the NuvaRing always in your body, as opposed to taking the pill at approximately the same time every day, your chances of becoming pregnant are slim to none. While yes, the pill is rated as being just as effective, this efficiency is significantly jeopardized if you have problems taking it at the appropriate time.

3. You Don’t Have to Take It Orally

This is one of my favourite things about the NuvaRing: you don’t need to worry about taking it orally. As someone who has suffered from nausea as a result of oral birth control pills, this was a huge game changer for me. Since you don’t have the pill sitting and dissolving in your stomach, you are less likely to experience nausea (however, this is still a potential side effect—just like any other kind of medication, everyone is affected differently).

4. It’s Easy to Insert

When I first brought home the NuvaRing, I thought, “How the hell am I going to stick this thing in my cooch?” Initially, it was a little awkward inserting—it was hard to keep the Ring pinched between your fingers so that it fit going up and in. Still to this day I sometimes have clumsy moments. However, overall, it is actually super easy to do, especially if you’ve ever used tampons that don’t have an applicator—I find it to be very similar. Either way, it’s something that becomes easier with practice; don’t expect to master it on the first try.

5. You Don’t Even Realize It’s There

Since it sits up in your vagina for 3 weeks, you tend to forget that you’re even on birth control. This is great because it doesn’t get in the way of your everyday activities—no need to rush home to grab the pill, or stop everything you’re doing to obey a daily alarm. You’re protected all day every day without having to do anything. However, this also has its downfalls: sometimes, because you forget the Ring, it’s easy to forget when you inserted it, and when you need to remove it next. Thankfully, they’ve made an app that reminds you about these things.

6. It Adds Lubrication

I don’t know if it’s just me, but ever since I started using the NuvaRing, I’ve noticed a significant boost in my natural lubrication production. It can be a little annoying when you sometimes feel as though you’ve peed your panties, but it’s ideal for sex. And let’s face it—most of us are on birth control because we’re getting a little something.

7. You Can’t Feel It During Sex

I was a little worried about this—I mean, no girl wants to be having sex with a guy, only for him to look down at you and say, “What am I poking?” But from my own experience, I haven’t had any issues with this. Unless the guy’s on the larger side, he shouldn’t feel a thing—and even if he does, shifting a little bit makes all the difference. Either way, it’s not an annoyance or vibe killer, unlike what most people may assume.

8. Just Like the Pill, You Can Skip Your Period

I know we all do it. Similarly to skipping the sugar pills and going straight to a new pack, you can also skip the seven days of hell by inserting a new Nuvaring after the 21-day cycle. I’ve done it a couple times (even though it’s not really recommended, but sometimes a girl just doesn’t have time for that), and I have never had any problems.

 

I still experience menstrual cramps, and I think I’m the type that always will. Unfortunately, it’s something that runs in the family. But since starting the NuvaRing, I have noticed a major change in not only my period flow, but also my overall mental and physical health. I no longer suffer from constant nausea, and my mood swings aren’t nearly as bad—that is, until I’m due for my week of hell.

Based on my own experience, I strongly recommend for all women to consider the NuvaRing. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that we’re all different, and what might work for me, might not work for someone else. It’s important to do your research and talk to your doctor to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you.

 

For more information on the NuvaRing, click here.