Spermicide

Spermicides are chemicals that kill or block sperm from entering the cervix and uterus. Spermicides come in the form of creams, jellies, suppositories, foam, film, or tablets. The film, tablets, and suppositories should be inserted 10 to 30 minutes before sexual intercourse so they can dissolve. They are inserted into the vagina with an applicator before having sexual intercourse. This must be repeated every time you have sexual intercourse. Spermicides can keep working for 6 to 8 hours after they are inserted.

ADVANTAGES

  • They are inexpensive.

  • They do not affect female hormones.

  • They are not associated with birth defects, if pregnancy occurs.

  • They can be used while breastfeeding.

  • They can be used with a condom, diaphragm, or cervical cap.

DISADVANTAGES

  • The pregnancy rate is higher than other barrier methods of contraception.

  • They are messy and may leak from the vagina.

  • They may cause irritation of the vagina or penis.

  • They must be inserted each time you have sexual intercourse.

  • The film, tablets, and suppositories should be inserted 10 to 30 minutes before sexual intercourse so they can dissolve.

  • They do not protect against STDs or HIV.

  • They may make you prone to bladder or vaginal infections.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Spermicides are less effective if they are not used properly. Here are some important considerations:

  • Do not douche for at least 6 to 8 hours after using spermicide. Douching, even with water, can rinse the spermicide out of the vagina before it has killed all the sperm.

  • Follow the package instructions carefully.

  • Be sure that the spermicide is inserted deep into the vagina.

  • Use another application of the spermicide for each episode of intercourse.

  • Wait the recommended amount of time between application of the spermicide and intercourse.

  • If you want to use a spermicide with another birth control device, make sure it is safe to do so.

  • Keep the spermicide container away from heat, cold, direct light, and moisture. Do not store it in the refrigerator, bathroom, or other damp places.

  • Do not use expired spermicide. Throw it away if it is expired.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have painful urination.

  • You have a vaginal irritation, discharge, or itching.

  • You miss your menstrual period and think you may be pregnant.

  • You have spotting or bleeding after sexual intercourse.