Four Basic Types of Contraceptive Barrier Methods

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With all those contraceptive methods on the market it is sometimes hard to decide which one is the right one for you. To help you get some insight on contraceptive barrier methods, find facts and interesting information in this article.

Contraceptive barrier methods are used to prevent pregnancy and include such methods as condoms, sponges, dental dams, diaphragms and cervical caps. Very important to know for you before looking for any more information is that only condoms and dental dams are recommended in relation to HIV. Only these two methods in the barrier category are found to prevent transmission of the HIV virus.

In the condom category, there are male and female condoms. The male condom is the more widely used condom variety. It is almost like a glove that is placed over the erect penis. It prevents pregnancy by keeping the sperms inside the condom and preventing it from entering the female organs. Condoms can only be used once. Generally they are made from latex rubber, but a few other materials also exist on the market for several reasons such as allergies. The male condom is also sometimes called rubber, raincoat, wrapper and many other names. Some condoms are lubricated for a more comfortable experience while others have some patterns for increased pleasure. Should you want to lubricate a condom, make sure to use water or KY-Jelly. Other lubricants can weaken the material and cause breakage and therefore pregnancy.

The female condom is somewhat similar to the male condom. The closed end of the female condom gets inserted into the vagina while the outer end covers small parts of the outside. Female and male condoms should not be used together at the same time. Condoms for female and male are available without a prescription and can be found in many stores and drug stores.

Another barrier method is the diaphragm. Diaphragms are only available by prescription and must fit properly. Your physician will be sizing the diaphragm for a proper fit. A diaphragm is a round rubber disk. It gets placed over the cervix and in therefore stops sperm form entering into the uterus. Diaphragms need to be used together with another preventative measure such as spermicidal cream. A freshly inserted diaphragm is good for 6 hours, after that period of time, more spermicide needs to be added. A diaphragm should never remain for more than 24 hours in your vaginal area due to the risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome). Diaphragms can be effective for prevention if used properly but in general are not as effective as the oral contraceptives.

A dental dam gets placed over the labia and is in the shape of a rubber square. It basically blocks the sperm from entering the vaginal and therefore the uterus area. It has been shown to protect from HIV and STD but with less effectiveness than the condoms.

A cervical cap is another option for prevention and is in some properties similar to a diaphragm. It is a round rubber cup with a round rim. In generally it is made form soft rubber and has to be sized by a physician to fit properly. Just like the diaphragm, it is highly recommended to use it together with spermicide to have the full protection. Cervical caps can protect you for up to 48 hours and several times of intercourse within that time frame. As with the diaphragm, extended wearing is not recommended and can lead to TSS. Important to know for women is that cervical caps have a fairly high rate of failure and should only be used if you do not mind getting pregnant at some point in the future.

Last but not least is the sponge. The sponge is a device looking similar to sponge material, but made form polyurethane. It is doughnut shaped and contains spermicide in its material. Failure rates with sponges are high, too and therefore, not the best choice as only prevention method. The sponge gets inserted into the vagina and should stay there after intercourse for at least 6 hours. Removal of the sponge should be within 30 hours of insertion.

Posted by Andrew
on Oct 2 2010. Filed under Allergies, Women.
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