Spermicide: How Safe, Precautions and Side effects



What is Spermicide?

Spermicide is a chemical product that comes in the form of a jelly, foam, or cream and is a barrier method of birth control. Most spermicides contain nonoxynol-9, a chemical that kills sperm. Spermicides can be used alone but are more effective when used with another method of birth control, such as a condom or diaphragm.

How Does Spermicide work?

Spermicides immobilize and kill the sperm before they are able to swim into the uterus. To be effective, the spermicide must be placed deep in the vagina, close to the cervix. Creams, gels, and foams are squirted into the vagina using an applicator. Other types of spermicides include vaginal contraceptive film (VCF), a thin sheet placed in the back of vagina by hand, and vaginal suppositories.

Spermicides must be placed in the vagina before sexual intercourse. The instructions will say how long before sex the spermicide should be used. Some offer protection right away. But most must be placed in the vagina at least 15 minutes before sex so they have enough time to dissolve and spread.

All forms of spermicides are only effective for 1 hour after they are inserted. If more than 1 hour goes by before having sex, or if you have sex again, another application of spermicide is needed. When using spermicides, girls should not douche for at least 6 hours after having sex.

How Safe is Spermicide?

Most women can use spermicide safely. Some people are allergic to spermicides or get skin irritations from them. If a spermicide irritates your vagina or your partner’s penis, you might try changing brands.

Spermicide Side effects

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method and everyone’s different.

The Positive

  • Easy to use and convenient to get a hold of
  •  Can be inserted as foreplay (sexy!)
  •  Doesn’t affect your hormones
  •  No prescription necessary
  •  Can be used while breastfeeding

The Negative

  • Can be kinda messy and/or leak out of your vagina
  • Might irritate your vagina or your partner’s penis
  • Some people are allergic to spermicide
  • You may not like the taste
  • All spermicides sold in the U.S. contain Nonoxynol-9, which can cause irritation (especially if you use it more than once a day). That can lead to an increased risk of HIV and STI transmission
  • Hard to remember to use if you’re drunk

Spermicide Precautions

Do not use this medicine if you or your sex partner have HIV or AIDS. This medicine can irritate the vagina and rectum, which may increase the risk of getting HIV or AIDS. Discuss this with your doctor if you have any questions.

This medicine will not protect you from getting HIV or AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If this is a concern for you, discuss this with your doctor.

If you have a rash or burning, itching, or other irritation of the genitals, discontinue use of the spermicide and contact your doctor.

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