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What Should I Do if NuvaRing Falls Out?

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Updated February 23, 2009

What Should I Do if NuvaRing Falls Out?

NuvaRing

Photo Courtesy of Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Question: What Should I Do if NuvaRing Falls Out?
The NuvaRing is a hormonal, reversible, prescription birth control method. It is a comfortable, flexible contraceptive ring that is about 2 inches in diameter and is used to prevent pregnancy. The NuvaRing is inserted into the vagina one time a month where the muscles in the vaginal wall will keep the ring in place for 21 days. The ring is removed by the woman after 3 weeks, which allows for her to have her menstrual cycle.
Answer: The NuvaRing may slip out while a woman:
  • Removes a tampon
  • Strains with a bowel movement
  • Has sexual intercourse
Also, it is important to note that women with conditions that affect the vagina, such as a prolapsed (dropped) uterus, may be more prone to experience the NuvaRing falling out. If your NuvaRing tends to fall out repeatedly, you should consult with your healthcare provider to determine if there may be a better contraceptive method for you.

If NuvaRing is out for less than three continuous hours:
If your NuvaRing accidentally falls out, never fear. If it has been out less than three hours, you should still be protected against an unintended pregnancy. Simply rinse the NuvaRing (that has slipped out) with cool-to-lukewarm water (not hot). Then, reinsert it as soon as possible, making certain that it has been reinserted within three hours of falling out. If you have lost the NuvaRing, you can insert a new contraceptive ring – just make sure to stay on the same schedule you would have followed if you were still using the lost ring.

If NuvaRing is out for more than three continuous hours:

  • During weeks 1 and 2: If the NuvaRing has been out of the vagina for more than three continuous hours during the first or second week of use, its contraceptive effectiveness may be compromised. You should still reinsert the contraceptive ring as soon as you remember; however, to maintain maximum pregnancy protection, it is important that you use a back-up method of birth control (such as male condoms or spermicide) until the reinserted NuvaRing has been in place continuously for seven days.

  • During week 3: If NuvaRing falls out of the vagina for more than three continuous hours during the third week of the three-week use period, throw the ring away and choose one of the following two options:
    1. Insert a new NuvaRing immediately which will start your next three-week use period. If you choose this option, you may not experience a period from your previous cycle, yet breakthrough spotting or bleeding may occur.

    2. Wait for your period to occur and then insert a new contraceptive ring no later than seven days from the time the previous NuvaRing was removed or fell out. This option should only be chosen if the ring was used continuously for the preceding seven days. Additionally, for greatest effectiveness, you should also use a barrier method (like condoms or spermicides) until the new ring has been used continuously for seven days.
    3. Although the NuvaRing is 92% to 99.7% effective (with perfect use, less than 1 out of every 100 women who use the ring will become pregnant in one year whereas with typical use, 8 out of every 100 women who use the patch will become pregnant in one year), the effectiveness of the NuvaRing can be lowered due to user error.

      You may be more at risk for pregnancy if:

      • The ring does not stay in the vagina for 3 weeks in a row
      • If the ring is left in the vagina for more than 3 weeks
      • The ring slides out of the vagina and is not replaced within 3 hours
      • The unopened NuvaRing package is exposed to direct sunlight or very high temperatures.
      • You use certain medications that can decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives like the ring.
      Make sure that you have read the insert inside the NuvaRing package for more detailed information about the use, risks and effectiveness of the ring.
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