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Are spermicides the right method for me?

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Are spermicides the right method for me?

There are a number of factors you should consider to determine whether spermicides are the right contraceptive method for you. As with any contraception, you should first talk to your doctor or a counselor at your local clinic or hospital before using spermicides as a contraceptive method.


Spermicides may be an appropriate method for you

If any of the following is true:

  • You prefer a method you can discontinue yourself.
  • You need a backup method (for instance, in case you forget to take oral contraceptives).
  • You have a condition considered to be a medical precaution for the use of other contraceptive methods.
  • You are concerned about the side effects of other methods.
  • You have sexual intercourse only occasionally and do not need or want ongoing contraception.
  • You have just delivered a baby. (You may start using spermicides as soon as you resume sexual intercourse, whether or not you are breastfeeding.)
  • You have just had an abortion. (You may start using spermicides as soon as you resume sexual intercourse after the abortion.)

Spermicides may not be an appropriate method for you

If any of the following is true:

  • You are at risk of exposure to, or transmission of, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection. Spermicides may offer protection against some STIs, but they have not been proven to be protective against HIV infection.
  • Aside from abstinence, latex condoms offer the best protection against these infections.
  • You plan to use spermicides frequently or in large amounts. Under these conditions, spermicides may cause vaginal irritation. Vaginal irritation or sores may increase the risk of HIV infection.
  • You cannot always insert the spermicide before sexual intercourse.

Spermicides are not an appropriate method for you

If any of the following is true:

  • You desire very effective contraception.
  • You cannot obtain a regular supply of spermicides.
  • You dislike touching your genitals.
  • You are allergic to spermicides or have a partner who is allergic. (Signs of allergy include redness, itching, and pain of the vagina or penis during intercourse. The signs disappear after use of the spermicide is stopped.)
For more information about this method, see Spermicides: Answers to Your Questions.


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