NuvaRing is a vaginal contraceptive ring. If you’re exploring birth control options for women, you may have heard of NuvaRing. You may also have questions about how it works and how to use it, including if the ring is safe to use with a tampon. Learn the answers to these questions and more.

Many women wonder how NuvaRing will affect their period and their use of tampons. It’s completely fine to use a tampon while you use your NuvaRing. It won’t make the ring less effective. Be aware, though, that you could accidentally take out your NuvaRing when removing a tampon. If the ring comes out, rinse it with lukewarm water and reinsert it right away.

You may also wonder how NuvaRing might affect your period itself. Your period may be lighter and shorter while you use NuvaRing. This effect can occur after a few cycles of using the ring. When you first start using NuvaRing, you may also notice spotting between your periods. This is called breakthrough bleeding. It’s very common with use of hormonal birth control such as NuvaRing. The spotting should go away within a few cycles. However, if the spotting gets heavier (like a period flow) or doesn’t stop, be sure to tell your doctor. They may decide that this is normal, or they may suggest a different form of birth control for you.

Don't worry about your NuvaRing while you’re spotting or if you’re still bleeding from your period when it’s time to insert a new ring. Bleeding will not make NuvaRing less effective. However, inserting the ring late could make it less effective, so be sure to stick to your schedule.

NuvaRing is a small, flexible, plastic ring that you insert into your vagina to prevent pregnancy. During use, it releases small amounts of hormones into your body. These hormones help prevent pregnancy in three ways:

  • They prevent ovulation. Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
  • They thicken your cervical mucus, which is a substance your body secretes near your cervix. The thickened mucus makes it harder for sperm cells to swim through your vaginal canal. If your body released an egg, this would make it harder for the sperm to reach it.
  • They change your endometrium. This is the lining of your uterus. Changes to this lining make it harder for a fertilized egg to implant in it.

Your healthcare provider will explain how to insert NuvaRing. Later, you’ll insert it yourself at home. You’ll wear the ring for three weeks and then remove it for one week. During this last week, you’ll likely get your period. You’ll insert a new ring when that week is over.

Keep reading: Detailed information for NuvaRing »

NuvaRing is an easy, convenient way to help prevent pregnancy. You insert it yourself, you don’t have to think about it every day, and you can use it with a tampon.

To find out more about NuvaRing, talk with your doctor. Be sure to discuss your health history, any medications and supplements you take, and your personal preferences for birth control. Your doctor can help you decide if NuvaRing or another birth control method is a good choice for you.