Brown Spotting Nuvaring : Does this Mean You’re Pregnant?

After hearing all the good reviews about vaginal rings, you finally start using a NuvaRing. It’s user-friendly and finally, you can enjoy your sex life without the worry of getting pregnant.

But, what if you start spotting while using the NuvaRing! 

Does brown spotting NuvaRing actually mean you’re pregnant?

Well, absolutely not! Spotting is not an indicator of pregnancy. In fact, it is very common during the first few months. The reasons for spotting can be because you’re newly using Nuvaring, you’re using it to skip periods, or if any other medicines are interfering with it. But certainly, there are precautions that can be followed to avoid spotting.

Must be a relief to hear that! So, without further ado let’s dive deeper.  

NuvaRing: Basics of Using It

In order to understand why you’re getting brown spotting, you must know how the NuvaRing works. Let’s start with the definition.

brown-spotting-nuvaring

NuvaRing is a small, soft, plastic ring that provides birth control for many women around the world. It is hassle free and provides upto 91% guaranteed protection from pregnancy. 

How to Use?

Firstly, wash your hand with clean water and soap. It’s necessary to have clean hands to prevent any kind of infection. 

Then use your fingers to gently squeeze the plastic ring and insert the tip into your vagina. Slightly push it into the vagina until it feels comfortable. 

Try to walk around a little to see if you can feel the ring:

-If you don’t, it’s placed perfectly. 

-If you do, then try to move it around with your fingers until it feels comfortable.

Timeline

One ring is used for every month or for 21 days to be more precise. Once put into the vagina, normally, the ring is kept in for 21 days. Then you are allowed to take it out for 1 week. This ring-free week is when the menstrual bleeding occurs. 

Exactly 7 days after taking out the ring, you must put in a new one. In case your curious mind is wondering what will happen if you take NuvaRing out early, you can give this a quick read!

It’s very important to keep the days in mind, so that if you take the ring out on a Sunday morning, you must insert a new one on the next Sunday morning.

In case you wish to skip periods using the ring, you should not take it out after 21 days. Keep it in for 30 days, then replace it with a new ring.  

How it Works?

NuvaRing is a birth control that deal with hormones. This means it releases hormones into the body that can help to prevent pregnancy. These hormones are estrogen and progestin.

They help to prevent pregnancy by:

Preventing Ovulation 

 Ovulation is the process by which a female gamete or egg is released from the ovaries. This egg can get fertilized in the presence of sperms. Since ovulation is stopped by the hormones released by NuvaRing, fertilization can not occur, thus omitting any chances of pregnancy.

ovulation-symptoms

Making the Mucus Layer of the Cervix Thicker 

A thicker mucus layer of the cervix will prevent sperms from swimming up to the uterus. It may cause the sperms to stick to this mucus layer.

Not Preparing the Endometrium 

Endometrium or lining of the uterus is thickened with blood every month in order to receive a fertilized egg and grow a baby. But NuvaRing thins out the lining, making it inadequate for a fertilized egg.

Well then, if all that is clear, you might ask where the spotting is coming from. 

Not to worry ladies, cause I’ve got that answered in the next section.

Reasons for Brown Spotting Nuvaring

There are multiple reasons that may cause brown spotting nuvaring. I’ve listed the most common ones below :

Newly Using NuvaRing 

When a new birth control is started, your body takes some time to get adjusted to the new hormone levels. This is the topmost reason for causing brown spotting.  

Your body may take 2-3 months to adjust to the hormones released by NuvaRing. So, after starting a new birth control brown spotting might be seen in the first few months. 

This spotting is very natural and occurs in most women who start a new birth control. Thus, there’s nothing to be worried about at all.

Using NuvaRing to Skip Periods

Usually, if birth control is used to skip menstrual bleedings, this might cause brown spotting. This, too, is most common during the first few months of skipping periods but may occasionally occur later on too.

Forgetting to Replace Ring on Time

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s very important to maintain the day and time of removing the ring and inserting a new one. If you forget to exchange it on time, or delay in doing so, this might cause brown spotting nuvaring too.

Drug Interactions

Some medicines might interact with the hormones from NuvaRing. This can cause the ring to work less effectively or may also lead to brown spotting.

Medicines that interact with NuvaRing hormones include : Tamoxifen, Tranexamic Acid, Aromatase inhibitors, Ospemifene etc.

Drugs that reduce the effect of NuvaRing include : rifamycins, St. John’s wort, griseofulvin, HIV drugs etc. 

Thus, inform your physician regarding the medicines you use before starting NuvaRing. Otherwise, this can be the culprit behind your breakthrough bleeding or brown spotting.

Important note: If the discharge becomes more frequent, has a strong odor or is accompanied by unusual vaginal pain, consult your doctor regarding the matter as it might be indicative of underlying infections.

Now then, you know all the reasons for which you might be getting brown spotting nuvaring.

The chances of this spotting being due to pregnancy is very very little. But, if you’re still concerned, try taking an in-home-pregnancy test to wash away your worries.

Even if it’s not harmful or anything to be worried about, I know what nuisance spotting might be. It’s almost like getting a period with NuvaRing still in! So, let’s discuss some ways by which you can avoid the spotting.

Ways to Avoid Brown Spotting 

Is ‘how to stop brown discharge’ the question lingering in your mind all day? If so then it’s time for you to take a breath, because I’ve listed below the precautions and suggestions that should help you to stop spotting:

Don’t Delay or Miss Your Schedule

One of the reasons for spotting on NuvaRing is if you delay the time to exchange the ring or if you miss it completely. So, consider tracking the dates. 

This is made easy with all the tracking apps specifically designed for birth control reminders. Just go to your play store or app store and download the app that suits you best. See? It’s that simple to never miss a schedule again!

Avoid Medications that Interfere with NuvaRing

Consult your physician to determine whether any of your regular medicines crossing path with the actions of NuvaRing. If so, then find safer replacements to those medicines. That should stop the brown spotting.

Switch to Another Hormonal Birth Control

Even after maintaining your schedule properly, if spotting still continues, you may choose to change to some other hormonal birth control.

Hormonal birth controls that provide higher doses of estrogen may help to prevent spotting on nuvaring before period. Other hormonal birth controls include pills, the implant, birth control injection (the shot), or hormonal IUD.

Switch to a Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Well, all of the hormonal birth controls have lots of side effects, one of them being spotting. So, if the spotting is giving you so much trouble, you can try the non-hormonal birth controls too. 

Now, these are a little less safe than the hormonal ones, but they’re worth a try. These include condoms and diaphragms.

non-hormonal-birth-control

Condoms, as you should already know, are latex balloon-like tubes worn over the penis during sexual intercourse. They prevent the sperms from entering the uterus, thus preventing fertilization and any chances of pregnancy. 

When compared to other birth controls, condoms are considered to be 85% effective.

Diaphragms are dome-shaped cups that are placed inside the vagina. They are usually coated with spermicide. They prevent sperms from entering the cervix and destroy sperms.

Diaphragms are considered to be 88% effective.

Non-hormonal IUDs (copper IUD) are also present which provide birth control for 10 years, once fitted into the uterus. Unfortunately, they also cause spotting and a few other side effects. Some women even complain about getting late periods after placing Copper IUD.!

So, these are some simple things you can try to stop brown spotting nuvaring. 

If spotting continues even after trying these, it’s best to consult with your doctor about it. Always remember it’s very important to be open to your doctor and discuss everything in detail before taking in a new birth control.

FAQs

What if I forget to exchange the ring and keep it for 5 weeks?

Answer: If the same ring has been in for more than 4 weeks, take it out as soon as you remember and put in a new one. Use additional contraception (eg. condoms) for 7 days. If you’ve had sex in the past few days, you may need emmergency contraception

Do I need extra contraception if I keep the ring in for 4 weeks?

Answer: No, it is alright to keep it in for 4 weeks. But not longer. Take the ring out after 4 weeks and take the ring-free week if you want. If not, then insert a new ring right away. No extra contraception is needed.

What to do if the ring came out on its own?

Answer: NuvaRing may come out on its own during or after sex. So, always check if you can feel the ring. If it’s been out for less than 48 hours, you’re still protected so you don’t need extra contraception. Just insert a new ring in or the same ring in (rinsed with water if it has been in for less than 3 weeks) as soon as you realize.

What if the NuvaRing is out for more than 48 hours in the first week of use?

Answer: Insert a new ring in as soon as you remember and follow the old schedule. Along with this, use additional contraception for the next 7 days. You may need emergency contraception if you’ve had sex in the last few days.

What to do if NuvaRing is out for more than 48 hours in the 2nd or 3rd week of usage?

Answer: Firstly, put in a new ring as soon as you realize. Then follow the old schedule for the removal date. Use extra contraception for the following 7 days. No need for emergency contraception.

Does NuvaRing have any other side effects besides spotting?

Answer: Yes, it’s side effects include nausea, headache, mood swings, breast tenderness.

Can NuvaRing be used by everyone?

Answer: NuvaRing may not be suitable for you if you have/had a blood clot, high blood pressure, diabetes (with complications), breast cancer (in the past 5 years), or migraine.

Take Away

Well ladies, now you know brown spotting nuvaring does not mean you’re pregnant.

It’s just a natural side effect of Nuvaring or due to some schedule issues or drug interactions. Nothing to be worked up about at all!

With some simple precautions and alternatives, spotting can easily be avoided. So, I hope the suggestions in this article help solve your problem, and allow you to focus on the brighter things in life!

Sumaiya Hasan

Sumaiya Hasan

Hello readers! I'm Sumaiya, an enthusiastic microbiology student from North South University. I love to read & learn about anything new, especially if they're related to health. I believe people should be better educated about their health, and I'm proud to be able to contribute to their knowledge earning process.

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