Dr. Nicole Sparks explains everything you need to know about the birth control ring

Dr. Nicole Sparks is an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) and women’s advocate. Dr. Sparks’ TikTok is a hub of information about reproductive health and women’s bodies.

The doctor schooled In The Know on “the ring” in the latest conversation we had with her about all things birth control. You might also know it has NuvaRing or EluRyng

What is the Ring? 

The birth control ring is a small, flexible, circular device that’s inserted inside the vagina to prevent pregnancy. 

How do you insert and use it?

“So think about the ring similar to placing a tampon but you actually do have to place it a bit higher,” Dr. Sparks told In The Know. “If you bend it, get it into a good position, either squatting or laying down flat on your bed.” 

The ring will open up at the top and then sit in the correct place until you’re ready to remove it. 

“It can stay there for three weeks. It will not interfere with sex or anything like that,” she said. “And then you actually take the ring out during the fourth week to have a period. And you do this every single month.” 

How do you remove it? 

“All you have to do is simply take it out,” Dr. Sparks said. “You can reach in and grab the device and then the hormone is out of your body.” 

What types are available? 

With the NuvaRing, you would have to use a new ring each month. Then there’s Annovera, which is a reusable ring. Both are used the same way, but Annovera could be more affordable over time.

What are some pros and cons? 

“If you have heavy periods, if you have painful periods, it’s very helpful for that,” Dr. Sparks said. “If you have pain related to endometriosis, it’s actually really effective for that. If you have really bad hormonal acne, the ring and some of the other forms of contraception are also very effective for that as well.” 

But there are some disadvantages to the ring.

“It may not be very intuitive in how to place the ring,” she explained. “There is a big learning curve at first but once users get used to it, they actually do really well.” 

How can I get it? 

You’ll need a prescription to get the birth control ring and you can typically pick it up at the pharmacy. 

Check out this Board-certified gynecologist shares what to expect ahead of your first visit.

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