How to Use the NuvaRing to Skip Your Period

Suppressing Menstruation in 4 Simple Steps

Extended or continuous combined oral contraceptives or other combined (estrogen and progestin) hormonal delivery prescriptions, like the birth control patch (Ortho Evra) or ring (NuvaRing) have been used to prevent the bleeding of menstruation.

Sometimes they are prescribed for preventing menstrual-related symptoms, like painful cramps or heavy bleeding. If these issues are giving you problems, it may be reasonable to speak with your healthcare provider about potentially skipping your period.

With the NuvaRing, there are four steps to skipping your period.

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Be aware that some people experience breakthrough bleeding. Unpredictable bleeding and spotting generally get better within one to three months but may take up to a year or even longer for some people. 

It is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you wish to skip your period by taking extended or continuous use of hormonal contraception.

Steps to Skip Your Period

First, you will need at least two months of NuvaRing, or six rings in total. It's also important to have access to a calendar or a menstrual-tracking application on your phone to record any bleeding.

Normally, NuvaRing is used for three weeks and then removed during week 4, which is the week of the menstrual cycle. When you are using it to skip your period, the schedule is a little different.

Here are the four steps you can use to skip your period using NuvaRing:

  1. Determine the month that you want to use NuvaRing to skip your period.
  2. Make sure that you are using your NuvaRing the month before the month that you want to skip your period.
  3. After you have inserted your NuvaRing and left it in place for three weeks, take it out on day 1 of week 4.
  4. Instead of leaving your NuvaRing out during week 4, insert a new NuvaRing immediately after you have taken your old one out. This will keep the hormone levels constant, which helps prevent normal withdrawal bleeding.

Keep in mind that you may still have some spotting.

As long as you continuously replace your NuvaRing, by inserting a new ring instead of leaving it out during week 4, you should not have a period.

Finally, when you want to have your period again, just take out your NuvaRing at the end of week 3 and do not insert a new NuvaRing during week 4. Your monthly period should return.


Here are some additional things to remember if you are planning on skipping your period using the NuvaRing

In order to skip your period with the NuvaRing, you will need to pick up your NuvaRing prescription at least a week early from the pharmacy. This is necessary because you will need to insert a new NuvaRing during week 4, which is a week earlier than normal.

Some insurance companies or pharmacies may not allow you to do this. Check with your insurance company and local pharmacy ahead of time.

Remember to keep track of where you are in your cycle on your calendar because you must insert your new NuvaRing right after you take your old NuvaRing out (after week 3). 

Is It Safe to Skip Your Period?

You may wonder if skipping your period is actually safe. Rest assured that studies have supported the benefit and safety of extended or continuous use of combined oral contraceptives.

According to a Cochrane Database Systematic Review study, women taking extended combined oral contraceptives can experience fever symptoms of headaches, genital irritation, tiredness, bloating, and menstrual pain.

One concern with not having a monthly period is the risk of overgrowth of the uterine lining, which could be a risk for uterine cancer. Extended-cycle oral contraceptives have not been found to lead to uterine tissue thickening.

However, some experts still question whether manipulating your period is really a sensible idea.

For example, the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research believes that cycle-stopping contraceptives "medicalize menstruation," and "normalize replacing a biological function with a pharmaceutical product to meet social expectations of menstrual concealment."

The Society also suggests that long-term safety data on stopping menstrual cycles is needed, and the effects on the breast should be studied, especially on teenagers. 

In the end, you have to decide what is right for you, and it's wise to discuss with your healthcare provider how to best approach your menstrual cycle, based on your symptoms and expectations. 

A Word From Verywell

Using the NuvaRing to skip your period does not make it any less effective as a birth control method. But remember, the NuvaRing does not offer you any protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Sometimes the breakthrough bleeding you experience when skipping your period is not from hormones but from something else, like a sexually transmitted infection. Be sure to get tested if you have risk factors.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Organon USA Inc. NuvaRing (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring) [packaging label]. 2005.

  3. Hillard PA. Menstrual suppression: Current perspectivesInt J Womens Health. 2014;6:631-37.

  4. Edelman A, Micks E, Gallo MF, Jensen JT, Grimes DA. Continuous or extended cycle vs. cyclic use of combined hormonal contraceptives for contraception. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2014. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd004695.pub3

  5. Anderson FD, Feldman R, Reape KZ. Endometrial effects of a 91-day extended-regimen oral contraceptive with low-dose estrogen in place of placebo. ​Contraception. 2008;77(2):91-96. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2007.11.006

  6. Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. The menstrual cycle: A feminist lifespan perspective.

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.