NuvaRing is the brand name of a vaginal ring manufactured for contraceptive use. NuvaRing was developed by the American pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc. and approved by the FDA in 2001. It works identically to the birth-control pill in that it releases small doses of progestin and estrogen over a period of three weeks. At the end of the three-week period, the ring must be replaced. It's considered to be more convenient than birth-control pills because it only has to be administered once for three weeks rather than taken daily.
One benefit it serves in comparison to either the birth-control pill or the birth-control patch is that NuvaRing releases lower doses of estrogen than either the pill or the patch. Due to lower doses of estrogen, NuvaRing does not produce the same side effects of nausea or breast tenderness. In addition, women report fewer incidents of irregular bleeding when using NuvaRing as opposed to the pill or patch.
However, NuvaRing also has its increased risks. A study has shown that women who use NuvaRing have 6.5 times the increased risk of getting blood clots as opposed to 1.5 to 2.4 times the increased risk for women who take birth-control pills. Women who use NuvaRing while also being smokers, being over 40 years in age, or having recently had surgery are also at a greater risk of having a stroke or a heart attack.