After being well-educated and frankly terrified by my sex education program in high school, I made it a priority to be in the know about birth control options before becoming sexually active. I was looking for something easy, low-maintenance and with minimal side effects as well as something to fit my lifestyle as a busy college student in a monogamous relationship. As any of you empowered women would do, I did my own research before making an appointment with a medical practitioner.
I started by perusing Planned Parenthood’s information, as suggested by University Health Services. On their website I took a quiz to discover what the best method of birth control might be for me. (I definitely recommend checking it out:
This quiz pointed me towards NuvaRing – a relatively new birth control that delivers low levels of hormones directly into the vaginal tract. It has effectiveness ratings equal to, and often better than that of oral contraceptives due to the obstacles of using a pill 100 percent correctly (taken at the same time each day). Allured by the appeal of a method that could be handled on a monthly basis, I made up my mind to ask my nurse practitioner for a prescription, and felt affirmed when the NuvaRing was her first suggestion anyway.
I fell in love. Like a girl hoping to show off her new ring, I snuck the topic of birth control into everyday conversations, hoping to be asked “Well, what option would you recommend?”
I assured my friends that insertion was as straightforward as putting in a tampon. Simply pinch the flexible sides of the ring together (into a figure-8 shape), pop it into your vagina, and let your body naturally settle it against your vaginal wall. In its sturdy spot, the ring did not affect sexual activity, and went undetected for three weeks, when, with a hooking finger motion, the ring was easily removed. Fast, easy, mess-free.
I gloated about lighter periods and the relatively low cost of the ring, which was $14/month. I quoted statistics about the higher success rate and the lower amount of hormones. I reveled in feelings of complete control over my reproductive health and encouraged many of my friends to test the ring for themselves. Upon discovering another NuvaRing user, we always exclaimed excitement and exchanged acclaim.
For two years, I was NuvaRing’s biggest fan. However, after this honeymoon stage, I began to notice disadvantages and began to second-guess my beloved birth control. Stay tuned for my experience with the negative aspects of hormonal contraceptives… and feel free to comment on some of your own in the meantime!