Diaphragm for Birth Control - Topic Overview
Effectiveness in preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
not fully protect against
sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including
infection with the
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Also, the use of
spermicides with nonoxynol-9 may increase your risk of getting HIV/AIDS. So be
sure to use a condom for STI protection unless you know
that you and your partner are infection-free.
Advantages of the diaphragm
- It does not affect future fertility for either
the woman or the man.
- It is used only at the time of sexual
- It is safe to use while breast-feeding.
is less expensive than hormonal methods of birth control.
- It can be used by women who
have health problems that would make estrogen use dangerous, and by women who
Disadvantages of the diaphragm
Failure rates for
barrier methods are higher than for most other methods of birth control.
- The diaphragm should not be used by women who have ever had
toxic shock syndrome.
- Women who use
diaphragms may get more bladder infections (urinary tract infections, or UTIs). This is probably because the rim of the diaphragm
presses on the
urethra and may irritate it. A woman who gets frequent
UTIs may need a smaller diaphragm or may prefer not to use the
- Some people are embarrassed to use this method or feel
the method interrupts foreplay or intercourse.
- A couple must be
comfortable with using the diaphragm and be prepared to use it every time they
- A diaphragm can't be used if either person is allergic to
It is important to check your diaphragm for any cracks,
holes, or other damage that would reduce its effectiveness. Do not use any
petroleum-based vaginal creams, oils, or ointments, which can damage the
rubber. But water-based personal lubricants, such as Astroglide and K-Y Jelly,
are safe to use.