What is spermicide used for?
Spermicide is a chemical that kills sperm. It is used to prevent pregnancy. It comes in different forms, such as foam, gel, cream, film, vaginal suppositories, and tablets. Spermicides work best when they are used with another form of birth control, such as a diaphragm or condom. You can buy a spermicide at a drugstore or grocery store without a prescription.
How does it work?
Spermicides are inserted into a woman’s vagina before sex. During sex, the chemicals destroy the sperm before any can reach the egg.
What else do I need to know about spermicide?
- Use the spermicide according to the package directions. If you are using a spermicide with a diaphragm, check the package to make sure you are buying a product made for this use. Also, if the spermicide has been in the vagina more than an hour before having sex, it may not work.
- Douching may make the spermicide not work as well. If you feel you need to douche, wait at least 6 to 8 hours after you have had sex. Remember that douching is not a way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
- Spermicides do not keep you from getting AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. Latex or polyurethane condoms are the only method of birth control that can protect against the HIV virus and AIDS.
- Many products have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the product. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the product may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.
If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.
Developed by David W. Kaplan, MD and Phyllis G. Cooper, RN, MN. Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-08-17
Last reviewed: 2010-12-28 This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. References
Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
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