Ring thing
November 6, 2007 5:21 AM   Subscribe

Nuvaring and the holidays... so I'll be out of town for Thanksgiving weekend, and that is the Sunday when I am supposed to put a new Nuvaring in...

I obviously won't be able to keep it refrigerated. My question is, can I leave the ring in an extra two days the previous week, and then put a fresh one in on the Tuesday after THanksgiving?
I am not worried about birth control efficacy, simply avoiding my nemesis, breakthrough bleeding. This happened to me in July when I just threw the nuvaring packet in my suitcase with no refrigeration.... everything was a mess by week 3.

I don't think it's practical to try to take it with me and keep it cold. People kind of don't like to see that in their fridge.
posted by chickaboo to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
You don't need to keep it refrigerated unless you're storing it for more than 4 months. Just keep it at about room temperature, but at least below 86°F (30°C) and avoid direct sunlight.

Do you normally leave the ring in for 3 weeks or 4? I've heard from many NPs that the hormones are effective for 4 weeks, so you would be fine using a ring for 23 days instead of 21.
posted by scission at 5:27 AM on November 6, 2007

From the Nuvaring site:

What should I do if I keep a contraceptive ring in for too long?

If NuvaRing® has been left in your vagina for up to one extra week (four weeks in total or less), remove it and insert a new contraceptive ring after a one-week ring-free break.

If NuvaRing® has been left in place for more than four weeks, you may not be adequately protected against pregnancy and you must check to be sure you are not pregnant. If you know or suspect that you're pregnant, do not use NuvaRing®.

If you are not pregnant, insert a new contraceptive ring. You must use an extra method of birth control, such as male condoms or spermicide, until the new NuvaRing® has been in place for seven days in a row.

posted by pieoverdone at 5:30 AM on November 6, 2007

I used to keep my NuvaRings completely unrefrigerated, and it never did a thing, so I think your previous incident might be a coincidence. But why don't you just put it in a paper bag labeled "medicine" and put the paper bag in someone's refrigerator if it bothers you?
posted by MsMolly at 6:13 AM on November 6, 2007

Nuvaring does not need to be refrigerated. Refrigeration maybe helps it keep longer on the scale of months and years, but once it's dispensed to you, to be used within a few weeks, refrigeration is not important.

Also it's surely fine to leave it in a couple extra days.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:19 AM on November 6, 2007

Well it's actually been twice that I've used it unrefrigerated and both times had the breakthrough bleeding, so I can't help but think the efficacy was impacted.

I will go ahead and leave it in a few extra days. Thanks for the help.
posted by chickaboo at 6:30 AM on November 6, 2007

Put a cold freezerpack (or frozen water bottle, or icy thermos, or travel coffee mug with those synthetic "ice cubes") with the Nuva, wrap the whole thing in a couple of plastic bags. Keep it in your luggage until you need to put it in. Don't let "refrigerated" bother you - you need to keep it "cold."
posted by nkknkk at 6:47 AM on November 6, 2007

FWIW, my pharmacy sends my Nuvaring 3-packs in the mail. Keeping them cold cannot be all that critical.
posted by slowfasthazel at 7:04 AM on November 6, 2007

I get mine in the mail too -- but it comes in a big styrofoam cold pack.
posted by chickaboo at 8:35 AM on November 6, 2007

I used to regularly leave them in for up to four weeks with no problems or breakthrough bleeding. You can also (maybe not in your current situation) "stack" the rings, putting them in back-to-back with no period week between, with no ill effects.

FWIW, my pharmacy used to send my three-packs in the mail, in tiny styrofoam coolers full of ice packs. They were the best beer holders I ever had.
posted by moonlet at 9:21 AM on November 6, 2007

Wow, mine just show up all room temperature in an envelope. I want a beer cooler!
posted by slowfasthazel at 10:03 AM on November 6, 2007

I never used to keep mine in the fridge, they still worked well. Maybe the ones you had sitting out had been out for a loooooong time (i.e. before they go to you)?
These days I'm on the four week replacement schedule, and man... that stuff is awesome.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:25 PM on November 6, 2007

I use nuvaring, have for a couple years.
You can leave the ring in for up to four weeks without any issues whatsoever. Some say five, but my doc says the hormone levels in the ring drop off after 4, so I wouldn't push it.
I also skip the ring free week most of the time, too. Have been for ages. No problems.

You can supposedly leave it unrefrigerated for up to three months. I don't think it's the "cold" thing so much as the "not hot" thing you need to worry about. So don't leave your suitcase by the heater or anything.
posted by Kellydamnit at 3:24 PM on November 6, 2007

When I used nuvaring, I specifically asked the pharmacy about the "keep refrigerated" stuff on the label. They told me not to worry unless I was keeping it in the cupboard for more than a few months. Of course, they also said to use common sense and not store it directly over the stove or a radiator, etc. where it would get too hot.
posted by belladonna at 3:53 PM on November 6, 2007

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