Q: I’m a little wary of the new no-period birth control pills on the
market. Are they safe?
A: The FDA approved the first no-period pill (brand name Lybrel) in
2007. And, yes, this new pill is safe. It isn’t that different from other
low-dose birth control pills that use estrogen and progestin to stop ovulation.
Instead of taking four to seven days of placebo pills, however, women take
Lybrel continuously, with no breaks and no period. Seasonale, another
extended-use oral contraceptive,...
When using a jelly, foam, or cream, you can then
have sex right away.
A spermicide film or suppository is inserted
deep into the vagina using a finger and is placed close to the cervix. Film or
suppositories must be inserted at least 15 minutes before having sex to allow the spermicide to spread in the
One application of spermicide is necessary for each act of
A nonprescription method
Spermicide use does not
require a prescription or a visit to a health professional. Spermicide is sold
in drugstores, grocery stores, and family planning clinics.
and a condom used together provide a reasonable level of
birth control without a prescription. Using spermicide alone is not recommended
because it offers poor pregnancy prevention and does not protect against
sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In fact, the
nonoxynol-9 in most spermicides may increase the risk of getting HIV/AIDS from
an infected partner.
Effectiveness in preventing pregnancy
effective strength spermicide contains at least 100 mg
of nonoxynol-9 per dose. You are more likely to get pregnant if you use a
weaker spermicide. There is no difference in effectiveness between various
spermicide types, such as gel, film, or suppository.1
Typical use failure rate includes all
possible users, including people who are careless and those who use a method
perfectly every time. Perfect use failure rate includes
only people who use a method perfectly every time.
Spermicide used alone has a high failure rate
of 29% for typical users. This means that in 1 year, 29 out of 100 women who
use spermicide as their only method of birth control get pregnant. The perfect
use failure rate is still high at 18% (18 out of 100 women).2
Spermicide used with another barrier method
(condoms, diaphragm, or cervical cap) is more effective at preventing pregnancy
than spermicide alone. For example, spermicide with a diaphragm has an average
failure rate of 16%. This means that in a year, 16 out of 100 women who use a
diaphragm and spermicide together get pregnant. The perfect use failure rate is
much lower, at 6% (6 out of 100 women).2
Vaginal douching is not considered a birth control method
even if it is done with spermicides. Douching after intercourse does not
prevent sperm from reaching the fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes