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Other Birth Control Options

What Is a Diaphragm?

A diaphragm is a round piece of flexible rubber with a rigid rim. Before intercourse, the diaphragm is placed in the vagina against the cervix. The diaphragm prevents semen from entering the womb. Spermicide should always be used with a diaphragm.

How Effective Is a Diaphragm?

With the use of a spermicide, the diaphragm is 82%-94% effective.

How Do I Use a Diaphragm?

Spermicide should be put in and around the rim of the diaphragm no more than 2 hours before intercourse. The diaphragm is then inserted into the vagina. More spermicide should be inserted into the vagina each time you have sex. Do not remove the diaphragm for at least six hours after intercourse but no more than 24 hours.

Where Do I Get a Diaphragm?

You can get a diaphragm from your doctor. Your doctor will give you a pelvic exam first so that you receive a proper fitting diaphragm. This fit should be checked by your doctor every year and the diaphragm should be replaced every 2 years.

Does a Diaphragm Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

No. Using a diaphragm and spermicide may not protect against some STDs, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). The male latex condom provides the best protection from most STDs.

What Is the Sponge?

The sponge is a small, donut-shaped device that is coated with spermicide. It is inserted in the vagina.

How Effective Is the Sponge?

With proper and consistent use, the sponge is 89%-91% effective.

How Does the Sponge Work?

The sponge is moistened with water and inserted into the vagina. It is made of polyurethane foam that feels like natural vaginal tissue.

The sponge protects against pregnancy in three ways:

  • It releases a spermicide to kill sperm cells.
  • It is constructed to trap and absorb semen before the sperm have a chance to enter the cervix.
  • It acts as a barrier between the sperm and the cervix.

The sponge provides a continuous presence of spermicide throughout a 24-hour period, allowing for multiple acts of intercourse within that timeframe without the need for additional spermicide.

What Is the Cervical Cap?

The cervical cap (FemCap) is a thimble-shaped cup made out of durable silicone material that fits snugly over the cervix.

How Is the Cervical Cap Used?

The cervical cap is used the same way as a diaphragm. The woman coats the cap with spermicide and inserts the cap into her vagina and up to her cervix before sex. Unlike the diaphragm and older versions of the cervical cap, the spermicide is put on the side of the cap facing away from the cervix. This lessens the potential irritation to the cervix. The cap blocks the cervix and the spermicide paralyzes the sperm. If sex is repeated it is not necessary to reapply the spermicide but you should check the placement of the cap. (Do not remove the cap each time you have sex.)

Do not remove the cervical cap for at least six hours after intercourse. The cap can be kept in place for up to 48 hours.

WebMD Medical Reference

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