Diaphragm: Side Effects, Risks & Effectiveness
A diaphragm is a soft rubber dome-shaped barrier that covers the cervix in order to prevent sperm from entering into the uterus. It is a barrier method of birth control.
How does it work?
It works by blocking most sperm from entering the uterus. Spermicide is added to the diaphragm to kill any sperm that may get around the protective barrier.
How effective is a diaphragm?
It has a failure rate of approximately 5% for correct and consistent use. Typical use has a failure rate of approximately 18 – 20%. This means that 18 to 20 people out of every 100 will become pregnant during the first year of use. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.
What are the side effects or health risks of diaphragms?
The most common side effect you could experience is vaginal irritation. Latex allergies, history of toxic shock syndrome, or irregularities of the vagina or cervix could create additional risks.
Is a diaphragm reversible?
Yes. It does not have any effects on either the male or female reproductive function. It is possible to get pregnant immediately when diaphragms are no longer used.
How much does a diaphragm cost?
There are three fees associated with the use:
- the office visit
- the diaphragm
- the spermicidal agent
Your office visits to obtain a prescription should range from $50 to $200, it costs between $15 and $50, and the spermicidal jellies, foams, or creams range from $7 to $18 per tube.
What about diaphragms and sexually transmitted diseases (STIs)?
The diaphragm does NOT provide protection from sexually transmitted infections.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Diaphragm:
Is it reusable? Yes. Make sure you clean it after every sexual encounter and store it in a dry container.
Does the diaphragm work without spermicide? It does provide some protection against pregnancy without using spermicidal agents, but this tends to show higher failure rates of 20% or more.
What are the pros and cons of the diaphragm?
- The Pros :
- It is reusable and relatively inexpensive
- It is small and easy to carry
- It rarely hinders the sexual experience
- The Cons :
- It requires consistent use for each sexual encounter
- Spermicidal agents may be messy
- A prescription is required
- It may contribute towards urinary tract infections
- It must be cleaned and stored
- It may need to be resized following a pregnancy, abortion, pelvic surgery, or weight loss or gain of 20 lbs. or more
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