A diaphragm is a flexible, dome-shaped cup with a bendable rim. It is constructed from soft silicone or latex. You bend the diaphragm in half and add it in the vagina. A diaphragm covers the cervix to help prevent pregnancy.
Diaphragms have been used as a birth control method because the 1830s. You need a prescription to have a diaphragm. They’re in fact considered to be the primary major contraceptive invention for women who wanted the ability to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy.
Over the years, there have been many improvements in the design and efficacy of diaphragms — they are still a favorite birth control choice for many women. In reality, with average use, they are 88% effective, and with perfect use, they are 94% successful.
How It Works
A diaphragm acts as a physical barrier. It blocks the introduction of the uterus. This way, sperm can’t reach and fertilize an egg.
Before you add your diaphragm, you need to coat it with a spermicidal cream or jelly — so, if any sperm manage to get over the rim of the diaphragm, then they will be murdered by the spermicide. The diaphragm is held in place by your vaginal muscles.
How to Use It
You’ll see that with a bit of exercise, a diaphragm is extremely simple to use. Your physician should show you how you can insert and take your own diaphragm. You ought to keep practicing in your home until you feel comfortable with using your diaphragm.
- You have to keep your diaphragm in place for half an hour after the last time you had intercourse.
- If you have sex again, make certain to add more spermicide deep on your vagina.
- If you have intercourse more than half an hour when you have inserted the diaphragm, then you also need to include more spermicide deep in your vagina.
- Don’t leave your diaphragm in place for more than 24 hours.
Diaphragms come in different sizes and layouts. This increases your chances of finding one that’s a good fit for you. Other than size, there are two Types of diaphragms:
- A flat ring choice: This type of diaphragm could be squeezed into a flat oval before being inserted. The flat ring type has a rim that is thinner. Additionally, it comes with an applicator — making insertion a little easier.
- An arcing or spiral spring alternative: This type of diaphragm creates a bent ring when squeezed. You can add an arcing or spiral spring diaphragm with your palms.
Why should you think about using a diaphragm? A diaphragm can offer you the following advantages:
- It is hormone-free — so it has no effect on your hormones.
- It is reversible, so your fertility instantly returns when you take it all out.
- A diaphragm cannot usually be felt by either partner.
- There are not many side effects (urinary tract infections and vaginal irritation are the most common side effects).
- Breastfeeding moms can use a diaphragm.
- It’s effective immediately.
- A diaphragm can be easily carried in your purse.
- It could diminish the probability of catching certain sexually transmitted diseases — even though you ought to still use another method of protection from STDs (such as condoms).
- Diaphragms may prevent some kinds of precancerous changes in the cervix (but more study is required to learn more about this).
- It can be added hours ahead of time, therefore it does not interrupt sexual activity.
Who Would Use It
Most women can use a diaphragm. But, a diaphragm may not be for you if your embarrassing touching your vagina or if you are allergic to latex or spermicide (some girls who have a moderate reaction to spermicide find that switching spermicide brands can help).
Additional conditions which could rule out diaphragm use include:
- Having given birth within the past six weeks.
- A history of frequent urinary tract infections.
- Present cervical surgery.
- A sagging uterus or vaginal obstructions.
- A current abortion (after the first trimester).
- A history of toxic shock syndrome.
- Poor vaginal muscle tone.
How to Get One
If you want to use a diaphragm, you want to get fitted for one by your doctor. Once this happens, your physician may provide you a prescription. Diaphragms can be bought at a pharmacy. The cost of a diaphragm fitting and the actual diaphragm will vary based upon your own insurance.
Keep in mind that you may Have to Be refitted for a new diaphragm for those who have:
- Abdominal or pelvic surgery.
- A full-term pregnancy.
- A miscarriage or abortion (after 14 weeks of pregnancy).
- A 20 percent change in fat — or if you have gained or lost over 10 pounds
You also need to be fitted for a new diaphragm if your current one is two or more years old.
There’s some evidence that diaphragm usage can protect you against some sexually transmitted diseases. Studies have shown that compared to women using no birth control, those who use a diaphragm consumed at a 65 percent lower prospect of getting gonorrhea and trichomoniasis. The frequency of chlamydia can be reduced in diaphragm users. This might be because the cervix is the site of infection for gonorrhea and chlamydia (and also the diaphragm covers the cervix) — and because spermicide may destroy the trichomoniasis parasite. Check to find out if the spermicide you use together with your diaphragm includes nonnoxynol-9. Damage may be caused by use of nonoxynol-9 to your tissues. This irritation may put you at a greater risk for having infection or an STD. It is ideal not to rely on your diaphragm to protect you against sexually transmitted infections.