There is a new kind of birth control on the market, and it’s called Annovera. Annovera is a silicone ring, containing two female hormones, an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) a progestin (segesterone acetate). Like other rings on the market, it’s meant to be inserted into the vagina, and kept in place for 21 days. Then removed for 7 days, during which the woman gets her “withdrawal bleed”. When used properly, it is just as effective at preventing pregnancy (97.3% effective, according to the drug maker). It can be used during intercourse, but if preferred, can be removed for up to 2 hours and then replaced. It can also be used with tampons. However, it is important to keep in mind that ANY method of hormonal contraception that suppresses ovulation can also decrease your sex drive. Annovera is also no different, in this regard.
What’s new about this ring, you ask? What makes it different than the NuvaRing? Well, the major difference is that this ring is meant to be used for an entire year! That means it is good for 13 cycles, which is 13 periods. Other rings on the market can only be used for 1 month or 1 cycle, and are then discarded. Annovera just needs to be cleaned with mild soap and water, patted dry and then reinserted after 7 days of withdrawal. It also comes with a compact storage case, so you can take it with you wherever you go, and keep it safe from pets and small children.
What makes this ring interesting, you ask? Well, in a post COVID world, when women are reluctant to leave their home to go to the pharmacy – a method of birth control that does not require a monthly renewal becomes appealing. There have also been some concerning reports about supply chain issues impacting the availability of certain forms of prescription birth control and over-the-counter options, such as condoms. While this is less likely to be an immediate issue in the U.S., shortages could impact everyone at some point – and that makes it wise to have a reliable method at your fingertips. Another benefit is cost. If the price of birth control were to go up over the next year – either due to supply chain issues, or loss of insurance coverage then securing a fixed and flat up-front expense for your contraceptive now makes total sense. And from a global health perspective, Annovera could potentially have a huge impact in developing nations, where women have to drive or walk many miles to receive any kind of healthcare.
These are scary times we are living in, and women’s health may suffer as result. The United nations recently projected 7 million unplanned pregnancies globally if the shutdown were to extend to 6 months. Annovera provides a well-timed solution to the problem of access in women’s healthcare. Have a conversation with your provider today, to see if this form of birth control is right for you.