Contraceptive diaphragm.

Diaphragm

A latex or silicone cap (used in combination with a spermicide) that covers the cervix and prevents sperm from getting past.

Benefits

  • 94% effective with perfect use (failure rate, 6%)*
  • 80% effective with typical use (failure rate, 20%)*
  • Helps prevent some sexually transmitted infections, and cervical dysplasia
  • Can be inserted up to 6 hours before intercourse

RISKS

  • May increase risk of persistent or recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Requires knowledge and practice of proper insertion technique, and customized fitting to stay in place
  • May cause reaction in users with latex allergy
Condom

Condom

Did you know? The condom is several thousand years old.

As far back as 3000 B.C., condoms were being made from materials such as fish bladders, linen sheaths, and animal intestines. Condoms made from vulcanized rubber came into use in the 1830s.4

Male

A sheath that is rolled over the penis to prevent semen from entering the vagina.

Benefits

  • 97% effective with perfect use*
  • 86% effective with typical use*
  • Helps prevent sexually transmitted infections and cervical dysplasia
  • May help prevent premature ejaculation

RISKS

  • May cause decreased sensitivity and loss of erection
  • Requires instruction for both partners and knowledge of use
  • May break or slip
  • May cause reaction/irritation in users with latex allergy
  • Not always available when needed

Did you know? The female condom was introduced in the early 1990s.

The design was improved upon and reintroduced to the market in 2009.4

Female

A polyurethane sheath inserted into the vagina before sex that prevents sperm from entering the vagina.

Benefits

  • 95% effective with perfect use (failure rate, 5%)*
  • 80% effective with typical use (failure rate, 20%)*
  • Helps prevent sexually transmitted infections

RISKS

  • Requires knowledge and practice of proper insertion technique
  • Makes noise during intercourse
  • Inner ring may cause discomfort during intercourse
  • Slippage can occur
Spermicide cream and gel.

Spermicides

A chemical called nonoxynol-9 in cream, gel, foam, film, or suppository form used in conjunction with other methods of contraception, such as a condoms or diaphragm. Inserting spermicide in front of the cervix destroys sperm on contact.

Benefits

  • 94% effective with perfect use (failure rate, 6%)*
  • 74% effective with typical use (failure rate, 26%)*
  • May provide lubrication when used with other barrier methods

RISKS

  • Some users may be allergic to spermicides
  • May increase risk of urinary tract infection
  • Substantially high failure rates when used alone instead of in combination with other barrier methods (e.g., condom, diaphragm)

*The relative effectiveness of a birth control method is defined in two ways: actual effectiveness and theoretical effectiveness. Actual effectiveness refers to the "typical use" of a method, meaning how effective the method is during actual use (including inconsistent and incorrect use). Theoretical effectiveness refers to the "perfect use" of a method, which is defined by when the method is used correctly and consistently as directed.