A diaphragm is an advanced and effective method of controlling pregnancy. Though it is not as famous as other contraceptive methods like pills, condoms etc. but the way it works in preventing sperm to get merged with the uterus’s egg, quite appreciative and that is why it is getting recognition rapidly. If you are looking for a safe contraceptive way then use diaphragms pregnancy preventing method.
By covering the cervix area it protects or guards against sperm attachment with egg which can cause fertilization. It is quite easy to use and safety is its most important feature. Also, you can enhance its protection capability by adding spermicide to it. The spermicide is a gel which kills the sperm as it is consist of chemicals which guards the sperm against moving so that they couldn’t attach to the egg.
What is Diaphragm?
The diaphragm is dome-shaped, swallow soft rubber cup for preventing pregnancy. This is also known as barrier contraception as it creates a barrier in merging sperm to the egg. It is inserted into the vagina whenever you plan to do intercourse. You can insert it into the vagina several hours before your intercourse but should be left there at least for 6 hours after the sexual attachment.
It needs to be inserted properly and has to fit in the cervix then only it will guard the cervix against sperm movement into it. When the diaphragm is applied with spermicide gel then it becomes much more efficient and gives more protection against unwanted pregnancy.
A properly inserted diaphragm not only works as a birth control method but also it protects the vagina from several kinds of infection or sexually transmitted diseases (STI) such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea and from Pelvic inflammatory diseases also.
How Diaphragm Does Help to Prevent Pregnancy?
The diaphragm is an effective birth control method. Its function is to give protection to cervix by covering it so that it won’t come in the contact of any sperm through intercourse. By following below-mentioned way or procedure it prevents pregnancy or fertilization.
- The diaphragms are soft and swallow cups which are needed to be inserted in the cervix. It covers the cervix upper area with its cup shape and hence hinders the movement of a sperm to it. Otherwise, during the intercourse time, a sperm can easily fertile an egg by merging it to egg secreted from the cervix in the lack of any direct protection. It can give 88% protection against unwanted pregnancy.
- The spermicide needs to be used along with the spermicide cream or gel every time when you inserted it into your vagina. Or even though you have not pulled out to the diaphragm after last intercourse then also add spermicide to its upper portion as it enhances its effectiveness twice.
- The spermicide helps to keep the diaphragm in the right place. This gel or cream is rich with some chemical which obstructs the movement of sperm into cervix causing problem in sperm mobility and hence it cannot be attached to the egg in the cervix.
- When you use your diaphragm by applying spermicide to it the level of protection rises to 94% which is quite sufficient. So whenever you plan for intercourse or reuse the diaphragm apply this gel kind chemical to it for improving the capability of your contraceptive cap.
How to Insert a Diaphragm?
For inserting a diaphragm you need to follow few simple steps.
- At first clean your both hands nicely and apply 2 cm of spermicide on the upper portion of the diaphragm.
- Squeeze the diaphragm properly with the help of index finger and thumb.
- Now put the diaphragm into the vagina in an upward motion. Make sure it is covering to the cervix.
- For ensuring that your cervix is covered by the diaphragm keep on checking always by inserting your finger inside the vaginal area. Your finger will get a feeling of the upper end of nose when it touches to the diaphragm.
- If you found that the cervix is not covered by diaphragm then pulls it out and reinserts it properly. Until and unless the cervix portion will not remain covered properly there will be no protection against pregnancy or fertilization.
How to Insert a Cap?
For inserting a cap you need to follow few simple steps.
- First clean your hands properly before inserting the cap. Now fill the one-third part of the cap with spermicide make sure the rim is not messed with spermicide otherwise it will hinder the cap to stay in its place.
- The cap consists of a groove between the rim and the dome, put little bit of spermicide inside this groove.
- Squeeze both sides of the cap at a time and keep it between your first two fingers and thumb.
- Now push the cap inside the vagina in an upward motion.
- The cap needs to fit properly the cervix. It will later stay in its place by suction.
- As per the types of spermicide, some extra amount of spermicide might require adding after the cap is inserted into the vagina.
For the practical purpose, doctor or nurse may provide you with a temporary diaphragm or cap. Once they will be assured that you can properly use your diaphragm or cap then they will provide you a fixed diaphragm or cap for using it as a contraceptive method. Till the time you are not an expert in using it, for time being use any other method of contraceptive like condom etc. for the protection purpose.
How to remove a Diaphragm or Cap?
For removing the diaphragm or cap from the cervix area first hook your finger into its rim or loop and pull it in downwards motion very gently. Don’t put much pressure on it while pulling it out. Make sure this removal process is done after 6 hours of your last sex time as it is important for ensuring protection.
You can leave this diaphragm or cap inside the vagina for more than 6 hours but not more than the 24 hours as it is not good for you to leave this contraceptive more than 24 hours after having sex.
How to Give Care to Diaphragm or Cap?
Your inserted diaphragm or cap needs proper care and attention otherwise it will not work properly and unhygienic diaphragm or cap can even cause infection. If you are also using it as your birth control method then follow below mentioned ways to give it proper care.
- Wash the diaphragm with warm water when you pull it out after use.
- Use mild and fragrance less soap for cleaning it thoroughly.
- After cleaning it thoroughly leave it for the drying purpose in a clean place and keep it in its container.
- Always keep the container of the diaphragm in a cool and dry place.
- Don’t boil the diaphragm ever as it can harm it.
- Never apply any kind of detergent, disinfectant, talcum powder and oil based items on it as these products can damage it.
- If you are using any lubricant then make sure it is water based or silicon based instead of oil based lubricant.
- Always check whether there is any scratch is not noticeable on the diaphragm or any other sign of damage before inserting it.
- From time to time you can visit your doctor or nurse for ensuring that the diaphragm you are using is in proper condition.
- Before replacing a new diaphragm take an advice from your doctor or nurse. You can use the same diaphragm for one year.
- As per your weight gain, you might need to require changing your old diaphragm.
- After delivery does not use a diaphragm or cap before the completion of six weeks.
Advantages of Diaphragm
- The diaphragm is a safe and reliable method of birth control.
- The diaphragm is only required to be used when you plan to have sex or intercourse after that you can remove it after 6 hours.
- You can insert the diaphragm anytime as per your convenience before having sex but minimum before 1 hour is the must.
- You can enhance the effectiveness of diaphragm by applying spermicide to it. If it is inserted for 3 hours or more than that before sex then add spermicide to it.
- It is one of the preferable birth control methods as its usage is not associated with any serious problem related to health or any major side effect.
- The usage of the diaphragm as a birth control method doesn’t affect your hormonal level.
- It gives freedom to its user regarding pregnancy. Whenever you will be willing to get pregnant as per your wish you can stop the use of the diaphragm.
- It is very much portable and handy. So even if you are going somewhere you can easily carry it in your purse or in the pocket.
- Women who feed their baby, even they can also use the diaphragm for preventing pregnancy as it is quite safe.
- The best benefit of using a diaphragm as the birth control method that even it covers the cervix area then also it will not make feel its presence during the intimacy time to both the partners.
- The diaphragm is less invasive with the comparison to IUD and doesn’t require a regular visit to the doctor.
- It starts working immediately.
- It is much safer than contraceptive pills especially for the women who have crossed their age 35. Also, women who have smoking habit can use it safely as it will not enhance the cardiovascular problem.
Disadvantages of Diaphragm
- Few women find it very difficult or lethargic to insert it into the vagina. So they prefer another contraceptive which is easy to use.
- The diaphragm is good as birth control method but regarding protection against sexually transmitted diseases, it is not much effective.
- It will only work if it is inserted properly. If the cervix remains uncovered then the risk pregnancy exists to a very high extent.
- It takes very long time to be master in its usage even the experienced women sometimes makes mistake during its use.
- Sometimes it interrupts sex.
- Bladder infection or Cystitis is the problem some women experiences because of the usage of the diaphragm as a birth control measure.
- As it needed to apply spermicide on the diaphragm for enhancing its effectiveness, but the usage of this gel or cream causes irritation to some women as well as their partners.
- An intense sexual attachment, penny size of the male partner and different position in the sex time may cause the diaphragm to move from its place causing risk of pregnancy.
- It reduces spontaneity.
- Doctor’s visit requires for fitting it.
Risk of Using Diaphragm as Birth Control Method
Along with many good features and advantages, the usage of a diaphragm for preventing pregnancy is associated with some risks also to health which are mentioned in below points. Though the risk is very rare to occur, still some women face it.
- Vaginal irritation is observed by some women after the use of the diaphragm.
- Urinary tract infection or UTI is noticed by some women because of the usage of a diaphragm in the cervix area. However, this problem or risk can be eliminated by urinating before inserting the diaphragm and after doing sex.
- Because of the reaction of spermicide or silicon sensitivity, irritation occurs on the penny of the male partner.
- Many time usage of spermicide on the same day causes severe irritation and problem as most of the spermicide contains nonoxynol-9.
- If the women who are using spermicide on diaphragm have HIV then chances of contracting HIV increases.
- If the diaphragm is left in the uterus for more than 24 hours then it can cause toxic shock syndrome.
- If after use of diaphragm you observe problems like burning while urinating, uncomfortable feeling while using it, genital irritation, unusual vaginal discharge, unusual spotting or bleeding, high fever, redness and swollen in vulva etc. then immediately consult with doctor regarding your problem as these health conditions might be occurring because of its usage.
One thing should be remembered by the users that any contraceptive will not work effectively unless it is used as per its instructions. The same rule is applicable to the diaphragms pregnancy preventing method. So in order to take its advantages as a safer birth control or preventing unwanted pregnancy use it properly as mentioned in its instructions manual.