Birth Control Options
What are they?
Spermicides come in several different forms, including creams, jellies, tablets, suppositories, foams and film. They contain a chemical called nonoxynol-9, which disables sperm on contact.
How do they work?
Spermicides are inserted into the vagina before sex, and contain ingredients that disable sperm. Once sperm are disabled, they are unable to fertilize a woman's egg. Spermicides are always used in combination with other forms of contraception (condom, cervical cap, diaphragm, etc.)
How effective are they in preventing pregnancy?
When used perfectly, spermicides are 82% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, with typical use they are only about 71% effective. The failure rate can be greatly reduced when spermicides are combined with a barrier method (condom, cervical cap, diaphragm, etc.)
What are the advantages?
- Helps to protect against pregnancy
- Does not contain hormones
- Can be used by women who are breastfeeding
- Can be used by women who smoke
- May provide added lubrication
- Widely available in stores without a prescription
What are the disadvantages?
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
- Some people may be allergic to spermicides
- Spermicides should not be used alone. They should always be used in combination with a barrier method of birth control.
- Requires proper insertion technique
- Must be inserted into the vagina in advance
- Can be messy