By Lead writer: Louise Sloan
February 29, 2016

The NuvaRing is a flexible plastic ring, approved by the FDA in 2001, that delivers estrogen and progestin (like the Pill). It looks a lot like one of those glow-in-the-dark bracelets you get at stadium events and fairs. You place the ring in your vagina and leave it there for three weeks, then remove it for a week to allow your period to go through its normal cycle.

"You have to be pretty comfortable with your body to use the ring, but it's not as difficult as you might think," says Marjorie Green, MD, director of the Mount Auburn Menopause and Female Sexual Medicine Center and an instructor at Harvard. "Some women are very uncomfortable with putting things in their vaginas and taking them out," she says.

But women who stick with the ring seem to find it easier than most other methods.

More about the ring

Still, hormonal methods are not for everyone. The FDA advises that smokers or women with cardiovascular disease, blood clots, or certain cancers should not use these methods. So it's important to be screened for potential problems by a doctor before choosing any method of birth control.