NuvaRing vs Mirena

NuvaRing vs Mirena

NuvaRing vs Mirena

When considering methods of birth control, you will probably come across two very different options: Mirena, an intrauterine device, and NuvaRing, a vaginal ring.

The way these two different kinds of contraceptives function are very different, and the best fit for you depends not only on your preference but on your convenience as well.

One the one hand, the Mirena requires you to rely on your doctor to both implant and remove your birth control device, and is therefore less flexible than the NuvaRing. However, if you are looking for pregnancy prevention in the long-term, with a “hands-off” approach, you may end up preferring the Mirena.


MirenaMirena is a tiny device, shaped like a “T”, which is placed inside the uterus. Mirena prevents pregnancy in at least two key ways.

First, the hormones thicken the mucus in the cervix, which makes it impossible for sperm to enter the uterus. Because of this, the sperm are not able to reach an egg to fertilize it. Finally, it thins the line of the uterus, which makes it impossible for the egg to attach. Each of these singly may not be 100% effective, but, when combined, they can prevent pregnancy for up to five years.

Across the globe, the IUD is the most popular form of reversible birth control. It is estimated that 150 million people use it worldwide. Even within the United Sates, the popularity of the IUD is growing. In 2011, it made about approximately 10.4 percent of issued contraceptives, which is up 1.4 percent since 2002.

It is important to know that if using Mirena, if must be inserted manually by a medical provider. The total cost is usually about $800. However, the contraceptive effects of Mirena last as long as you want them to, with a maximum of five years.

Though the device is extremely effective at preventing pregnancy, on rare occasions some women experience dangerous, even life-threatening side effects from its use. These include perforation of the uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus.

Furthermore, the device can spontaneously detach from the uterus and embed itself into different parts of the body, such as the abdomen or uterine wall, which, unfortunately, requires difficult surgery to eliminate. Lawsuits have been filed against Bayer by women who have experienced some of these side-effects. They claim that they were not properly informed of the dangers Mirena could imply.

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NuvaRingNuvaRing is a contraceptive device that uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. It is made of transparent plastic, and is thin and flexible. To make it work, you must insert the ring into your vagina. Once there, it will remain in your system for three weeks. By the fourth week, you need to remove the ring, which will result in you having your period. Afterwards, you insert a fresh ring and resume the three week cycle again.

When used properly, the NuvaRing proves very effective: it boasts a 99 percent rate of success when used as directed. However, if you are late in inserting the ring, or somehow use it incorrectly, this success score decreases to only 91 percent.

NuvaRing vs Mirena: Side Effects

As with any medical procedure or form of birth control, both Mirena and NuvaRing can cause mild to severe side effects. If you are considering using either, please keep the following side effects in mind.

Mirena’s side effects include:

  • mild to moderate pain following the insertion
  • cramping and/or back pain once the it is embedded
  • unusually heavy periods or increased menstrual cramps
  • irregular periods for the first three to six months
  • some bleeding or spotting for up to six months after insertion

NuvaRing’s side effects include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • breakthrough bleeding between periods
  • breast tenderness and sensitivity
  • increased vaginal discharge
  • vaginal irritation
  • infection

Serious and rare side of effects of all forms of hormonal birth control, which includes NuvaRing, are:

  • a heart attack
  • a stroke
  • blood clots

NuvaRing versus Mirena: Final Summary




#1. Type

Hormone Method

Intrauterine Device (IUD) Method

#2. Effectiveness



#3. Usage Frequency

4 weeks

3-5 years

#4. Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Irritation
  • Nausea
  • Similar to oral contraceptives
  • Sore breasts
  • Spotting between periods
  • Swelling of the vagina
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Weight gain
  • Bleeding
  • Change in sex drive
  • Changes in cycle
  • Cramps
  • Cysts of the ovaries
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Tear/hole in uterus

#5. Cost

$15 – $80 per month

$500 – $1000

#6. STD Protection