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Health Information For Parents
Spermicides contain chemicals to stop sperm from getting to an egg. They come in several different forms: cream, gel, foam, film, and suppositories. Spermicides can be used alone but are more effective when used with another method of birth control, such as a condom or diaphragm.
Spermicides block the cervix (the opening to the uterus) and slow sperm down to make it harder for them to swim to an egg. In order to work, the spermicide must be placed deep in the vagina close to the cervix. Creams, gels, and foams are squirted into the vagina using an applicator. Other types of spermicides include vaginal contraceptive film (VCF), a thin sheet placed in the back of vagina by hand, and vaginal suppositories.
Spermicides must be placed in the vagina before sexual intercourse. The instructions will say how long before sex the spermicide should be used. Most must be placed in the vagina at least 10 to 15 minutes before sex so they have enough time to dissolve and spread.
Many forms of spermicides are effective for only 1 hour after they are inserted. More spermicide should be used if more than 1 hour passes before sex, or if a couple is going to have sex again. A girl shouldn’t douche for at least 6 hours after a couple has sex using spermicide as birth control.
Over the course of a year, about 28 out of 100 typical couples who use spermicide will have an accidental pregnancy.
Spermicides are not as effective on their own as many other types of birth control and work best when used with another form of birth control.
No. Spermicide does not protect against STDs. Couples having sex must always use condoms to protect against STDs.
Spermicides may irritate the vagina and surrounding skin. This irritation may make it easier to be infected with STDs like HIV. Those who use spermicide may be more likely to develop urinary tract infections.
Spermicide may be a good birth control option for couples who can plan in advance of having sex and who want extra protection when they use condoms or other barrier methods of contraception.
Spermicides are available without a prescription in drugstores and some supermarkets. (In some stores, they’re in the “Family Planning” aisle.) They’re often found near the condoms and feminine hygiene products.
Care should be taken when choosing a spermicide — the packages may look like those of some feminine hygiene products, such as douches or washes, which don’t provide any birth control protection.
Depending on the type of spermicide chosen (film is more expensive than gel), spermicide costs about $0.60 to $3 per use.
Someone who uses spermicide should call the doctor if she:
During the teen years, sexual feelings are awakened in new ways because of the hormonal and physical changes of puberty. It takes time for many kids to understand who they are and who they’re becoming. Part of that understanding includes a person’s sexual feelings and attractions.
Talking to your kids about sex can be a challenge. But discussing issues like birth control can help lower teens’ risk of unintended pregnancy or getting an STD.
Spermicides can be used alone but are more effective when used with another method of birth control, such as a condom or diaphragm.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common reasons that teens visit a doctor. Learn about the symptoms of UTIs, how they’re treated, and more in this article.
Parents should learn about the most common STDs, how they spread, and how they’re diagnosed and treated.
Answering kids’ questions about sex is a responsibility many parents dread. But by answering these questions honestly, parents can help foster healthy feelings about sex.
Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control.
The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here’s how to make her feel more comfortable about a well-woman visit.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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