Data indicates that NuvaRing, one of the world’s most popular forms of non-pill birth control, increases the risk of cardiovascular complications, such as blood clots.
NuvaRing, approved for use by the FDA in 2001, is a flexible plastic birth control product that is placed near the cervix, which releases hormones over a 21-day period. It works by suppressing ovulation and by thickening cervical mucus to prevent fertilization.
The FDA has publicized many studies suggesting a “significantly” higher risk of VTE, in women using oral contraceptives. However a recent study published in the BMJ Journal was one of the first to evaluate the risk in women using a hormonal implant. The FDA has a report (PDF) highlighting the risks and findings over several studies.
It is worth noting, that most hormone-based birth control contraceptives carry a risk of blood clots. Claims are disputed by drug makers and scientists that NuvaRing poses a greater risk then other birth control contraceptives.
NuvaRing contains a lower hormone dose than most oral contraceptives, however, the problem is, that while birth control pills lose up to half their hormones in the digestive tract, the ring’s dose is absorbed directly into the blood.
The problem than becomes that because the device may cause a change in the person’s blood clotting system, it could allow the blood to clot more easily. If a blood clot forms in the leg, it can travel to the lungs and cause a sudden blockage.
Blood Clot Injuries Explained
A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage in one or more arteries in the lungs. PE is commonly caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from another part of the body, in most cases the legs.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, again, usually the legs. DVT can cause leg pain, but often times the onset doesn’t have any symptoms.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a disease that includes both DVT and PE.
The above clot conditions can and often do lead to heart attack and stroke when a small blood clot becomes lodged within a blood vessel leading to either the heart or brain.
Signs of Blood Clot Injuries
The telltale signs of a blood clot, that should not be ignored, include cramp-like leg pain and red, swollen or warm skin. Shortness of breath, chest pain and heart palpitations can signal a pulmonary embolism, meaning piece of the clot broke off and has traveled to the lungs. If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms, you should immediately go to the emergency room.
Prevention of Blood Clot Injuries
To avoid blood clot injuries, wear loose-fitting clothes or stockings.
From time to time, raise your legs six inches above your heart.
Change positions regularly, especially during a long trip on a plane or in a vehicle.
Consume less salt when possible but do consume more water.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of ways to prevent a blood clot from occurring but they are the most common ways to help prevent one from occurring. That being said, if you use NuvaRing and you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above you should seek medical attention immediately.