Side Effects of the Birth Control Ring
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Side Effects of the Birth Control Ring

If a baby is not in your immediate future, you may be considering your birth control options. One of these options is the vaginal birth control ring, patented under the brand name, NuvaRing. NuvaRing is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina where it releases progestin and estrogen into the blood stream through the vaginal wall. Like any other hormonal birth control method, there are a number of potential side effects caused by using the birth control ring. Here is what you need to know about them.

Most Common Side Effects

The side effects most often reported by patients using the birth control ring are vaginal infections, vaginal irritation, vaginal secretions, headache, weight gain and nausea. Most of these side effects are mild and typically subside after the first month of use.

Other Mild Side Effects

There are a number of other mild side effects that users may experience. These side effects are vomiting, appetite changes, abdominal cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, breast enlargement, spotting, menstrual cycle changes, fluid retention, dark splotches on the skin, rashes, weight gain or loss, mild depression, nervousness, dizziness, hair loss, and irritation during contact lens use. These side effects are usually only temporary.

Serious Side Effects

There are a few serious side effects associated with the birth control ring and with combination hormonal birth control methods in general. These rare side effects are blood clots, stroke, heart attack, increased high blood sugar, diabetes complications, increased breast cancer risk, increased cervical cancer risk, gallbladder disease, liver tumors and pancreatitis.

Symptoms of Serious Complications

Patients using the birth control ring should be aware of the symptoms of serious side effects. These symptoms include chest pain, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, calf pain, severe headache, vision or speech disturbances, numbness, yellow tint to skin or eyes, abdominal pain or swelling, sudden high fever, rash, persistent spotting or irregular bleeding, breast lump, painful urination, fluid retention in fingers or ankles and severe depression. Patients experiencing these symptoms should contact their doctor immediately.

Patients at Increased Risk

There are several factors that may put a person at increased risk of side effects while using the birth control ring. Patients should make sure their doctor knows about any of the following conditions or situations: cigarette smoker, history of heart attack or stroke, history of blood clots, high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer or reproductive cancers past or present, upcoming major surgery, history of jaundice, and liver disease.

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