Condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be used to prevent pregnancy.
The female condom is a tube of soft plastic
(polyurethane) that has a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at
the closed end is inserted deep into the woman's vagina over the cervix, like a
diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside
the opening of the vagina.
The female condom is a barrier method of
Female condom use doesn't
require a prescription or a visit to a health professional. Condoms are sold in
drugstores and family planning clinics.
perfectly, the method failure rate for the female condom is 5%, meaning that
with perfect use, 5 women out of 100 will become pregnant in the first year
of use. With typical use, 21 women in 100 will become pregnant in the first
year of use.1 This is mostly caused by not using the
condom every time with intercourse or by not following the directions for use.
The female condom provides some protection of the genital
area around the opening to the
vagina during intercourse. And it may reduce the risk of
getting or transmitting diseases such as genital herpes or genital warts. Some
studies suggest that female condoms are as effective as male condoms in
The female condom can be inserted up to
8 hours before sexual intercourse. It contains lubricant on the inside. It shouldn't be used with a male condom.
condom should be removed immediately after intercourse, while the woman is
still lying down. The outside ring is twisted to close off the condom and hold
the semen inside before the condom is removed.
A new condom should be used with
each act of sexual intercourse.
If a condom tears,
emergency contraception is available as an extra
method of birth control.
Trussell J (2007). Choosing a contraceptive:
Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds.,
Contraceptive Technology, 19th ed., pp. 19–47. New
York: Ardent Media.
Minnis AM, Padian NS (2005). Effectiveness of female controlled barrier methods in preventing sexually transmitted infections and HIV: Current evidence and future research directions. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 81(3): 193–200.
May 3, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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