Diaphragm / Cap
How effective is it?92-96% effective
4-8 women in 100 will get pregnant a year.
How does it work?The diaphragm / cap is a flexible dome made of rubber or silicone, which is covered with spermicide gel and put into the vagina to cover the cervix (the entrance to the womb). It prevents sperm from entering the womb and meeting an egg. Sex should occur within three hours of insertion and it must be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse.
Possible Side Effects
- Putting it in can be messy.
- It can interfere with / interrupt sex.
- Cystitis can be a problem.
- if removed early consider emergency contraception
- very rarely associated with toxic shock syndrome so should be avoided during periods and by women who have experience toxic shock syndrome previously
Advantages / Benefits
- it can be put in before sex (more spermicide gel needs to be added if the diaphragm is put in more than three hours before intercourse)
- variety of types
- Doctor needs to check suitability with an examination and assess for correct size except for the one-size silicone diaphragm called Caya
- less suitable when pregnancy would be a disaster
- not suitable for those who dislike the idea
- may be suitable for spacing families
- may be suitable for those unable to tolerate hormone methods and intrauterine devices
- are unsuitable for women who are less than 6 weeks postnatal
Who can provide it?Sexual Health Services or GP.
Caya (the silicone diaphragm) can be bought online
CommentsDiaphragm / cap size must be checked every 6-12 months or if there is weight gain or loss more than 3Kg (7lb).
Diaphragm /cap must be checked after miscarriage, abortion or birth.
If you have a high risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection, for example if you or your partner has more than one partner, it may be advisable not to use a diaphragm or cap. Research shows that spermicide which contains Nonoxinol 9 does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. It may even increase the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.