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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

 
FAQ

Birth Control Options

 

Female Condom

What is it?

The female condom is a soft, disposable, polyurethane sheath that is placed inside the vagina before sex. It is the only female-controlled barrier method that helps prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.



How does it work?

  • It is placed inside a woman's vagina before sex
  • The condom lines the vagina completely, preventing direct contact between the penis and the vagina and the exchange of body fluids
  • Sperm are trapped in the condom which is removed and thrown away after sex
  • A new condom must be used every time you have sex
  • A female condom should never be used with a male condom



How effective is it?

The female condom is 79 - 95% effective. Effectiveness increases with use of a spermicide.



What are the Advantages?

  • It is the only contraceptive controlled by women that protects against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy
  • Latex free and hypo-allergenic (reduces risk of allergy)
  • Reduces friction and irritation of vaginal lining (helpful for women post-partum, breast-feeding or at menopause, when dryness can be a problem)
  • Polyurethane is stronger than latex
  • Can be used for anal sex
  • Any type of lubricant can be used
  • Can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex
  • Widely available in stores without a prescription
  • Does not cause any hormonal changes




What are the disadvantages?

  • The outer ring hangs about 2.5cm outside the vagina, which some people may find unappealing
  • During sex there may be a "rustling" noise caused by friction. (Adding lubricant to inside of condom may minimize this problem)
  • May be difficult to insert correctly. (Practice inserting the condom ahead of time)
  • It is possible for the penis to enter the vagina "beside" the condom
  • Condom may slip out or break (See Emergency Contraception)
  • More expensive than male condoms ($3 - $5 each) and may not be available in all stores
  • Flexible inner ring may cause discomfort for some



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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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