Womens Health

Diaphragms: An Effective Choice

A Good Thing

Women looking for effective birth control methods and who prefer not to use the pill are almost an oddity today, since the use of the pill and other hormone-based birth control methods have become almost par for the course. If a woman stops to think about her options, though, it's easy to see why she might wish to opt out on a birth control method that messes with the hormonal balance of her body. There are other methods out there that used as directed wreak no lasting results on a woman's body, and that can be a good thing.

Proven Method

One such method that has long proven its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy is the diaphragm in combination with a spermicide. The two in tandem provide a physical as well as a chemical barrier to sperm. The diaphragm is a reusable and flexible rubber cup in the shape of a dome; the perfect contour to provide cover to the cervix.

A well-fitting diaphragms slips into place with ease, covers the cervix, and is held in place by the vaginal muscles. A good measure of spermicide, squeezed into the center of the cup and rubbed around its rim, adds a further measure of protection.

When used in combination with spermicide, diaphragms are 84% effective. This translates to an annual rate of 16 out of 100 women getting pregnant while using this method. Here are some of the ways a woman can increase the effectiveness of this method:

Get refitted-If you have a baby, lose or gain a significant amount of weight, or a year has elapsed since you were last fitted for a diaphragm, have your doctor refit you. This is a case where size really does matter. A cup that's too small isn't going to provide a barrier to sperm, since it won't provide adequate cover for your cervix.

Don't stint on the cream-If you're running low on cream, don't assume that this time you can use a bit less, since you still have the physical barrier of the diaphragm cup. Use a full teaspoon of the cream and rub a generous amount of the stuff around the rim of the diaphragm.

Check the diaphragm for pin-sized holes-Hold the diaphragm up to a light before each use. The light should help you see holes or tears that may otherwise not be apparent to the naked eye. Ditch the cup if holes appear and use another method until you can get a new diaphragm.

Watch the expiration date-Don't use the diaphragm even one day longer than its expiration date. Mark the date on your calendar and also make a note a few weeks in advance of this date, so you can start the process of getting refitted and obtaining a prescription for a new cup. Rubber deteriorates with time, and an old diaphragm equals a new baby.

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