What is a Diaphragm?
Unlike hormone birth control pills or IUDS that must be inserted into the cervix, the diaphragm is a latex; dome-shaped device with a flexible rim. It is made of silicone. Just insert this device into the vagina. Once inserted, the diaphragm covers the cervix completely, thus preventing pregnancy.
The diaphragm is inserted before engaging in intercourse. It prevents pregnancy by keeping sperms from coming into contact with the egg. In order to be more efficient, the diaphragm must be used with spermicide gel, cream, or jelly.
The diaphragm works in two ways.
- It blocks the opening to the uterus
- The spermicide stops sperms from moving
How do you use Diaphragms?
First you need a prescription to use a diaphragm. Your doctor or specialist will need to identify what size fits you best. Consult with your doctor to discuss if the diaphragm is the best birth control method for you.
Here is how to use the diaphragm:
- The diaphragm must be covered with the spermicide and then placed in the vagina to cover the cervix.
- It acts by blocking the cervix as well as preventing the sperms from entering the uterus. The spermicide immobilizes and kills the sperm, making it unable to fertilize an egg.
- The diaphragm should be left in place for 24 hours, but remember to insert more spermicide every two hours, or every time sexual intercourse is repeated.
- The diaphragm must be left in place for 6 hours after sexual intercourse before removing it.
How effective is a Diaphragm?
The effectiveness of the diaphragm depends precisely on how correctly it is used. According to research, for those women who use it, the failure rate is six percent and 12 percent for those who don’t use it as directed.
The interesting part is; the effectiveness of the diaphragm can be increased by checking its placement before intercourse and ensuring you use spermicide with the device. Similarly, it also helps out if your partner pulls out before ejaculating.
You may need a diaphragm if you; have a baby, miscarriage or when you have gained or lost 20 percent or more in terms of body weight.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Using a diaphragm is considered safe, simple, and convenient.
Advantages of Diaphragm
- Can be used while breastfeeding
- The device cannot be felt by your partner
- They are portable; can be easily carried in your purse or pocket
- It has no effect on the natural hormones of a woman
- Does not lead to interruption during sex play
- It is effective and reversible
Disadvantages of Diaphragm
The diaphragm may have its share of advantages, but the following disadvantages should be considered:
- This method does not guarantee 100 percent protection against SYDs.
- The device must be removed within 24 hours, or it could cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
- Women using diaphragm must remember to apply spermicide to the device before use. This means that you will require plenty of spermicide and the cream reapplied after every two hours of sexual intercourse.
- Some women find the unit a bit difficult to insert.
- This device may be pushed out place in case of heavy thrusting or certain sexual positions.
Side Effects of a Diaphragm
While using all forms of birth control, there are side effects to consider. The following are side effects associated with diaphragm use:
- Women using this device may experience frequent urinary tract infections. To prevent this, urinate before and after diaphragm use. If symptoms persist, seek advice from a physician.
- Women may experience some vaginal irritation. Switching spermicide may help remove the problem.
Is it safe?
Most women can use this device safely. But some conditions may make it difficult or impossible for some women to use the diaphragm.
This device may not work properly for you if you;
- are uncomfortable touching your vulva or vagina
- have given birth in the last six weeks
- are sensitive to spermicide or silicone
- have frequent infections of your urinary tracts
- have various physical problems with your vagina or uterus
- have difficulty inserting the diaphragm
- have poor muscle tone in your vagina
- recently had an abortion