Available by prescription only and sized by a health professional to achieve
a proper fit, the diaphragm is a dome-shaped rubber disk with a flexible rim
that works in two ways to prevent pregnancy. It covers the cervix to block sperm
entry, and the spermicide cream or jelly applied to the inside of the diaphragm
before insertion or outside after insertion kills sperm. The diaphragm protects
for six hours after it is inserted. For intercourse after the six-hour period,
or for repeated intercourse within this period, fresh spermicide should be placed
in the vagina with the diaphragm still in place. The diaphragm should
be left in place for at least six hours after the last intercourse and women
should not douche, rinse the vagina, or bathe during this time. The diaphragm
should not be left in for longer than a total of 24 hours because of the risk
of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but potentially fatal infection.
Diaphragms are designed to be used repeatedly and do not need to be replaced
so long as a woman's size hasn't changed and the rubber is intact. They
have few side effects, are relatively comfortable, and more than 90% effective
in preventing pregnancy when used properly.
Cervical caps and diaphragms are not recommended for use during your menstrual
period because of an increased risk (albeit slight) of toxic shock syndrome
(TSS). Doctors generally advise condoms and spermicide for contraception and
STD protection during menstrual periods.
Click here for more information on birth control.
Created: 10/31/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.