A diaphragm is a thin dome shaped rubber cup with a flexible edge that is inserted inside the vagina to cover the cervix and prevents sperm from reaching the uterus. They prevent pregnancy essentially by physically blocking the sperm from combining with an egg.
How to effectively use a diaphragm for birth control
It is very important to cover the diaphragm with spermicide prior to placing it in the vagina. The spermicide works in conjunction with the diaphragm itself to give you the greatest benefit for contraception. The spermicide effectively kills and immobilizes the sperm before it has a chance to reach the uterus. Without the use of spermicide, the effectiveness of the diaphragm is drastically reduced.
It is recommended that the diaphragm not be removed from the vagina until at least six hours after intercourse. It is also important to note that the diaphragm should not be left in for more than 24 hours at any one time. This is important because research has shown that doing so puts a person at risk of acquiring toxic shock syndrome (TSS) which is a severe bacterial infection that can also be acquired from tampons.
What are the benefits and advantages of the diaphragm?
There are several advantages to using a diaphragm for birth control. One that is often cited is that it is usually not felt or detected by either the male or female partner, whereas many males complain that a condom reduces sensation and sexual pleasure. There is also no unwanted interruption during sexual play, unlike condoms,because the diaphragm is inserted before foreplay.
A diaphragm also has no effect on a woman’s natural hormones, so there are no unwanted side effects to deal with. They are also easily carried in a purse or pocket. It is also immediately effective and reversible by simple insertion and removal.
What are the disadvantages of the diaphragm?
Some women may find them difficult to insert, but most find that after a brief learning curve is not difficult. Another disadvantage is that the rate of contraception for diaphragm is not as high as that of condoms. In general, the birth rate ranges from 5% to 20% per year for women who use diaphragms, depending on whether they use it for every sexual encounter and also their skill at inserting improperly. Whereas, condom use has a birth control rate in the high 90th percentile.
How much does a diaphragm cost and where to get it?
A diaphragm needs to be fitted by a doctor and a medical prescription is required to buy one . It is essential that the diaphragm fits properly and that the woman is adequately educated on how to do this on her own. This can only be ensured by having a medical professional assist, therefore a medical prescription is required to purchase a diaphragm. Once you have your prescription, the diaphragm itself costs anywhere from $15-$75.
How to care for a diaphragm
If you properly take care of your diaphragm it will last you up to two years. After removing it from the vagina, it is important to clean it with mild soap and water and then dry it for proper storage. Bacteria and germs can quickly coalesce on a diaphragm that is not adequately cleaned, therefore it is imperative that you do so.
Also, do not use any oil based lubricants on a diaphragm. It is made of silicone which can be broken down in damaged by a will based lubricants, in the same way that condoms can. Always use a water-based lubricant if one is needed. Do not put any powders on the diaphragm either, because this can lead to infection.
If you notice that the diaphragm becomes wrinkled or malformed in any way, seek a replacement. These imperfections can be a sign that the diaphragm is aging and weakening, and to maintain proper birth control is important to get a new one.