UT Teen Health Health

The Ring

The Ring


typical use


(CDC, 2016)


The ring (brand name: NuvaRing®) is a small, bendable ring that is inserted into the vagina.  It is left in place for three weeks at a time, and then taken out for the fourth week. The ring works by giving off hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. The hormones also thicken cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg, and thin the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation.


Quick Facts!

Easy to insert, works like the pill, and changed only once a month.


The ring is very effective when used as directed.

Side effects

The most common are irregular bleeding, sore breasts and nausea.  In rare cases blood clots or stroke.  See below for more information.


The ring needs to be taken out after 3 weeks and a new one placed every month.

How do I get it?

A doctor’s prescription is necessary for the ring.


From $0-$55 per month.

STI reduction


More about the ring

STI reduction


Less effort than the pill or the patch

It only needs to be changed once a month.


When storing the ring for more than 4 months, it needs to be refrigerated.

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 over 35, beware

If you’re over 35, smoking increases your risk of certain side effects. And if you’re younger, why not quit now and save yourself the trouble?

The NuvaRing® costs a bit more per month than similar methods, approximately $55 without insurance.


  • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
  • With insurance: Usually the cost of the co-pay
  • Without insurance: $55 (clinic)

Insert the ring and leave it for three weeks.  Then remove it and wait one week before inserting another one.

Bleeding in between periods, sore breasts, headaches, nausea and vomiting, mood swings, decreased sex drive, increased vaginal discharge, irritation or infection and for a small number of women blood clots, or stroke.  For smokers, the risk of cardiovascular problems is much higher.