The female condom is a barrier method of
birth control. It is a tube of soft plastic
(polyurethane) that has a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at
the closed end is inserted deep into the woman's vagina over the cervix, like a
diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside
the opening of the vagina.
The female condom can be inserted up to
8 hours before sexual intercourse. It contains lubricant on the inside. It should not be used with a male condom. The female
condom should be removed immediately after intercourse, while the woman is
still lying down. The outside ring is twisted to close off the condom and hold
the semen inside before the condom is removed. A new condom should be used with
each act of sexual intercourse.
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free women’s preventive services, including mammograms, birth control and well-woman visits. Learn more.
Female condom use does not
require a visit to a health professional or a prescription. Condoms are sold in
drugstores or family planning clinics.
Effectiveness in preventing pregnancy
perfectly, the method failure rate for the female condom is 5%, meaning that
with perfect use, 5 women out of a 100 will become pregnant in the first year
of use. With typical use, 21 women in 100 will become pregnant in the first
year of use.1 This is mostly caused by not using the
condom every time with intercourse or by not following the directions for use.
Effectiveness in preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
The female condom provides some protection of the genital
area around the opening to the
vagina during intercourse and may reduce the risk of
getting or transmitting diseases such as genital herpes or genital warts. Some
studies suggest that female condoms are as effective as male condoms in
Advantages of female condoms
Does not affect future fertility for either the woman or the