What are they? A diaphragm or cap is a dome of rubber which is fitted by the woman over her cervix before sex. It acts as a barrier to stop sperm getting through to the uterus. It should be used with a spermicidal cream, jelly or pessaries that contain a chemical that kills sperm. A doctor or nurse will need to fit a diaphragm initially to check what size you need and to teach you how to use it. Like condoms, you only use it when you are sexually active. It may protect against cancer of the cervix. The diaphragm must stay in place for six hours after sex. More spermicide must be inserted if you have sex again within six hours.
Advantages: only needs to be used when the couple has sex
Considerations: offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. Spermicides may cause irritation or an allergic reaction.
Available from? GPs, family planning clinics, Marie Stopes International centres.
How effective? 92%-96% if used correctly.
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