This week we’re looking at diaphragms and caps which are a contraceptive method designed to prevent women getting pregnant.
Diaphragms are soft thin domes that are made of latex or silicone. Caps are the same, but smaller and both come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit the individual.
The diaphragm and cap are placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix, preventing pregnancy. For it to be fully effective you must use spermicide with the diaphragm and cap.
Spermicide is a chemical which kills the sperm, so it is essential that you use it when using a diaphragm or cap in order to prevent pregnancy.
You only have to wear the diaphragm or cap when you’re having sex but you must leave it in for at least six hours after the last time you’ve had sex. If you remove it before that, it affects its effectiveness.
You can insert the diaphragm or cap three hours before sex but if you insert it before this then you have to remove it to add more spermicide before you have sex. For instructions on how to insert your diaphragm or cap click here.
If inserted correctly, the diaphragm and cap are between 92 and 95 per cent effective. This is less than some other forms of Contraception, but some women cannot use the contraceptive pill so choose to use the diaphragm or cap instead.
The diaphragm or cap is ideal for women who, for medical reasons, cannot take the contraceptive pill. They are also good for women who cannot remember to take a pill every day.
The diaphragm or cap is not recommended if you have a latex allergy, an allergy to any of the chemicals found in spermicide or if you’ve ever had toxic shock syndrome.
They are also not suitable if you have an unusually shaped or positioned cervix, or if you have weakened vagina muscles (from giving birth) as they may not be able to hold the diaphragm or cap in place.
The diaphragm and cap only provide limited protection from STIs so if you have many sexual partners it is not advised to use the diaphragm or cap, but use condoms instead.
If you have decided that the diaphragm or cap is the right Contraception for you then there are a variety of places you can get them from. You can get them from your local GP, contraception clinics or GUM clinic.
Make sure that you consult your doctor before deciding on any contraception as they can provide with information and advice about the best contraceptives for you.
Remember to get regular STI checks to prevent the risk and spread of infections. You can get these from your GP and GUM clinics.
For more information about diaphragms, caps or any other form of contraception, visit your local GP or go to nhs.uk.
Cara Mason @FemaleFirst_UK