We all know the risks and benefits of using the birth control pill and patch method. But what about plain old spermicides?
Yes, people still do use them. Some women can not take the pill or patch. Some women may need some protection from getting pregnant for a short term basis (example would be after surgery to have time to heal). Then after this short term, maybe the woman plans on trying to conceive. If this is the case, she may not want all those extra hormones in her body. This would be one reason why a woman would turn to a spermicide.
First, how does the spermicide work? It destroys the cell membrane of the sperm. Some variations of spermicides may also destroy some viruses and bacteria. It is applied during each sexual intercourse act. Here in the United States most spermicides contain a substance called nonoxynol-9. (Nonoxynol-9 can help prevent some sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, but can cause irritation in some women). Spermicide is often used with other forms of birth control methods. Spermicides come in creams, jellies, vaginal films, foam, suppositories and tablets.
Here are some advantages of using spermicides:
1. Offers some protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
2. No hormonal additives
3. Women who are breast-feeding can use this
4. Requires no fitting.
5. Can enhance other forms of contraception (the lubrication principle)
6. Is considered a form of natural protection for those wanting to use natural birth
control methods (by some)
7. May prevent pregnancy
8. They are reversible and makes it easy to become pregnant when you are ready
Now here are some disadvantages of spermicides.
1. When used alone, has a high failure rate (should consider using with condoms)
2. Can be messy
3. Has to be replied each time you have intercourse
4. Can have a bad odor and or taste
5. Can be irritating and even cause irritation to the penis, vagina and vulva. Thus, some
women are too sensitive to use.
Spermicides are easy to use. They can be applied by either your finger or with an applicator that comes with it. They will continue to work for about an hour after application. Foams and gels offers immediate protection. If you choose to use them in the form of suppositories or vaginal contraceptive film, you should wait about 15 minutes before having sex, to give them time to be effected. You should also not wash away the spermicide, at least not for six hours after the act of intercourse.
You can buy spermicides with or without a prescription. They generally cost about $1.00 to $1.50 per application. They are also readily available at most stores and pharmacies (in the same aisle with the condoms).
The effectiveness rate is 71percent. Which means if 100 women were using spermicide alone (and with no other birth control methods) for a year, and about 29 of them would get pregnant. These would be women with a higher pregnancy chance, too (those under the age of 45 and women who weren’t breast feeding).
Also a side note to remember, a vaginal douche containing spermicide agents is not reliable birth control method. Douches are used after sex. This means they can not stop the sperm from entering the cervix and making the baby.
Should you use spermicide? Of course, it is your choice. You can use it alone or you can combine it with other methods of protection (which is the popular choice).
Just remember when it comes to choosing your birth control method is up to you. You should do what is best for your body, your situation and you should also get a little advice from your doctor. (It never hurts)