Are there any risks or side effects?
The NuvaRing can cause some side effects. These are listed below. If you ever experience any painful or severe side effects from NuvaRing, you should remove it and discuss your options with a nurse or GP. It may not be suitable for you to use NuvaRing.
Common side effects of NuvaRing (affecting 1 in 10 users) include:
- Vaginal discharge or infections (like thrush or cystitis)
- Itching or discomfort in the vagina around the ring
Uncommon side effects of NuvaRing (affecting 1 in 100 users) are:
- Dizziness or disturbed vision
- Mood swings and irritability
- Upset stomach (vomiting, diarrhoea, or constipation)
- Infections of the bladder or urinary tract
- Problems with passing urine
- Pain or discomfort during sex
Rare side effects of NuvaRing (affecting 1 in 1000 users) include:
an allergic reaction
- A blood clot (e.g. DVT, pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke)
If you get any side effects that aren’t listed here, or in the information leaflet that comes with your NuvaRing packet, you should seek medical advice from your nurse or GP. You can also report unknown side effects via the Yellow Card Scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
What about blood clots? – like with the Pill, there is a small risk that using a combined hormonal contraceptive method (like NuvaRing) will increase your chances of getting a blood clot. However, this only applies if you're already at risk of blood clots. If you notice any of the signs of a blood clot (like DVT in the leg, a heart attack or stroke, or a pulmonary embolism), seek immediate medical attention.
The overall risk of having a blood clot depends upon your personal medical history, and is very small. On average:
- Around 2 out of 10,000 women develop a blood clot in one year, who are not using a combined hormonal contraceptive
Your overall chances of developing a blood clot is higher if you have a family medical history of blood clots, if you smoke cigarettes, are older or very overweight, or if you have recently given birth.
- Between 6 and 12 out of 10,000 women develop a blood clot in one year, who are using a combined contraceptive like NuvaRing or the Pill
Are there other risks to using the NuvaRing? – the NuvaRing does not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases, like chlamydia or gonorrhoea. Only wearing a condom will protect you against STDs.
There is also a very small chance that NuvaRing can fall out – or it accidentally expelled from your vagina. This can happen if:
- You don’t insert the ring properly
- You have a prolapse of the womb
If the ring is out of your vagina for up to 3 hours, don’t worry, it will still protect you against pregnancy. Rinse the NuvaRing with cold or lukewarm water (never hot), and re-insert it. If the ring is out of your vagina for more than 3 hours, you could be at risk of pregnancy: follow the advice in the information leaflet in your NuvaRing packet.
It is also possible the NuvaRing will break – but this is very rare. If you notice that your ring has broken, take it out and insert a new one as soon as possible. If you had sex during the 7 days before you noticed the broken ring, there is a small chance you may be pregnant. Contact your doctor or take a pregnancy test to confirm.