Spermicide is a type of birth control inserted deep into the vagina before sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. It contains chemicals that slow sperm down, making it impossible or difficult for it to reach an egg for fertilization. It also works by creating a barrier to the entrance of the cervix so sperm can’t reach the egg for fertilization. Without fertilization, pregnancy cannot occur.
Spermicides come in different forms including gels, creams, foams, tablets and suppositories. They can be used alone or combined with other forms of birth control like condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps. Just like other forms of birth control, except condom, spermicides do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Is it effective?
When used alone, it is the least effective form of birth control; it is however much more effective when used in combination with another type of birth control like the withdrawal method, condom, diaphragm or a cervical cap.
When used correctly and all the time during sexual intercourse, it is 82% effective, meaning about 18 out of 100 women would get pregnant in a year. If it’s not used perfectly, it’s about 72% effective, meaning about 28 out of a 100 women would get pregnant in a year
How is spermicide used?
There are different types of spermicides and each type comes with instructions on how to use it. Generally, to use a spermicide, a woman must insert it deep into her vagina prior to sexual intercourse and wait for about 10-15 minutes before having sex after the spermicide has been inserted.
Spermicides get less effective when it stays more than an hour or maybe less. So if the sexual intercourse lasts for more than an hour, more would need to be inserted into the vagina
What are the benefits and disadvantages of spermicides?
Spermicides are cheap, easy to use and convenient. They do not contain hormones and they do not interrupt sexual intercourse. They also do not affect sexual performance or inhibit sexual pleasure.
They are most effective when used with another type of birth control, meaning that if you do not wish to get pregnant, it is not safe to rely on spermicides only. Also, they do not protect against STIs.
As a matter of fact, when used several times in a day, they can increase your risk of STIs. This is because the chemicals present in them can irritate the vagina, making it easier for microorganisms to enter the body.
Some women and their partners react to the chemicals in spermicides and this can cause irritation or soreness in the vagina and penis. More severe reactions are rash around the vagina, unusual amount of vaginal discharge, foul- smelling vaginal discharge and burning when urinating.