• What Is A Diaphragm?
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Birth Control Methods
|What Is A Diaphragm?
It is popular reusable method of birth control that is used to prevent pregnancy. Made of silicone rubber, a diaphragm is shaped like a shallow cup and is inserted by the woman into the vagina to cover the cervix before sexual intercourse. A spermicide jelly is spread around the rim of the diaphragm before it is inserted. After intercourse the device is left in place for 6 hours and then removed, washed and stored until next use.
Although the diaphragm will act as a barrier, preventing sperm from entering womb through the cervix - it is not particularly effective as a mechanical barrier alone - sperm can still enter around the edges. Rather it keeps spermicide in place over the cervix so that sperm are killed before they can travel any further. It should be mentioned that unlike condoms or female condoms, diaphragms do not reduce your risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The failure rate, if used correctly, is about 6 percent but in reality the failure rate is nearer 18 percent. To reduce the risk:
Diaphragms require a doctor's prescription. The device needs to be fitted to make sure it is large enough to allow expansion of the vagina when it becomes engorged (excited) during sexual intercourse but not so large that it is uncomfortable when the vagina returns to normal size. It should also be checked annually by your doctor, and will need to be refitted after childbirth, abortion or weight loss or weight gain of 10 pounds or over.
If you are careful with your diaphragm it can last up to 2 years. After intercourse it should be left in place for 6 hours (some brands recommend 8 hours) but never longer than 24 hours. If you have sex again within the 6 hours, additional spermicide should be inserted with an applicator. A diaphragm should not be inserted more than 2 hours before intercourse because the spermicide is only effective for up to 8 hours. Given all these requirements, it is no wonder the failure rate is 18 percent!
It may not be suitable if you:
1. Wash your hands.
1. It should be left inside for 6 to 8 hours after intercourse, follow the instructions on your chosen brand.
Your doctor needs to prescribe and fit your diaphragm. An examination and fitting can cost anywhere between $50 and $200. The diaphragm costs between $15 and $75 and spermicide creams or jellies cost between
$8 and $17 for a kit.
Pros: Benefits Of Diaphragms
When To See Your Doctor
Check with your doctor if you experience any of the following:
Devices like diaphragms have been used by women for hundreds of years. In the 1700s women used to place half a squeezed lemon into the vagina to cover the cervix. Presumably the acidity of the lemon helped to kill sperm. The modern diaphragm was invented in the 19th century and was widely used in the first part of the 20th century. It was briefly knocked off the top-seller list in the 1960s with the advent of the Pill and IUD devices, but it has been regaining in popularity again - primarily because its disadvantages are considered less serious (particularly by women in monogamous relationships) than hormone birth control options.
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For more advice on sexual health, see the following:
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