Spermicide

Brands

There are many brands of spermicide in differing application forms. You can find them in the family planning aisle of most grocery, convenience and drug stores.

How It Works

Spermicide contains chemicals that stop sperm from moving. Spermicide comes in a various forms including film, gels, creams, foams and suppositories. It is inserted deep into the vagina before intercourse. There, it works by inhibiting sperms’ movement so they cannot join the egg.

How to Use

Each form of spermicide will have different application techniques. It is important to read all instructions included in the packaging before using the product.

Most spermicides will simply be inserted deep into the vagina using your fingers or the applicator. Lie down or squat, as you would to insert a tampon. After placing the spermicide, you must wait 10 minutes before engaging in sexual intercourse. The spermicide should remain effective for an hour after insertion, but be sure to check the information that comes with your specific spermicide.

Effectiveness

In cases when spermicide is the only birth control method utilized and it is used exactly as directed for every instance of sexual intercourse, it is 82% effective. Used alone, spermicide is not very effective. Use with a female or male condom to increase effectiveness or try the pull out method.

Cost

Most applicator kits of gel, foam, film and suppositories cost about eight dollars. Refills range from four to eight dollars. Large cans of foam contain about 20-40 applications.

Benefits

  • Spermicide is simple and fairly easy to use. Women like spermicide because it can be used while breastfeeding, does not affect their natural hormones and does not carry any of the side effects of hormonal birth control methods.
  • Spermicide is also easy to come by and does not require a prescription. It can also be inserted by the partner as a part of sex play.

Risks

  • If not used correctly, spermicide might not provide a good barrier over the cervix. This can lower the effectiveness of spermicide.
  • Some women complain that spermicides are messy or that they leak from the vagina. They can also cause irritation for the penis or vagina.
  • Spermicide must be used before every sexual encounter. Due to this factor, it has a lower rate of effectiveness for “typical use,” which is the measurement used for the average person who may not use the birth control method effectively or every time. If you choose spermicide as your birth control method, it is important to commit to using it every time you have sex. It is also a good idea to use it in conjunction with another birth control method, such as condoms.
  • Spermicide does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or against HIV (AIDS).

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Birth Control News

How effective is your birth control?

For sexually active women, he effectiveness of birth control depends on how perfectly they use it. For this reason, there are two kinds of effectiveness rates. One measurement is for perfect use, as the method is tested in the lab or used in real life with no mistakes.

The other is typical use, the average including people who don’t always use the method correctly or every time sexual intercourse takes place.

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