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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Birth Control Experiences: Diaphragms/Caps

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Author Topic: Birth Control Experiences: Diaphragms/Caps
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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For those looking into the different methods of birth control to find what's right for them, here's one of several threads where users can report their experiences with a given method so that other users can get a more personal idea of what using a given method is like when they're looking into what might work best for them.

If you have used or do use the diaphragm or cervical cap, please report on it in the following format:

Pros: List what you have experienced as the pros or benefits -- the good parts -- of using this method.

Cons: List what you've experienced as the downsides or cons of using this method.

Ease of use: Talk about how easy -- or not -- it's been for you and/or your partner to use, access and afford this method, how it's worked out in your relationships, etc.

Effectiveness: Talk about how well this method has protected you from pregnancy, and if it ever has failed, note that, including any explanation of how or why, if you know or suspect how or why.

Feel free to also add any extra notes, hints or tips!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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I just started using a diaphragm (with spermicide, in conjunction with condoms) and would love to people's experience and advice. I have mixed feelings on it– we'll see if the pros outweight the cons. Personally, its cons seem better than those of hormonal birth control methods like the pill, although a diaphragm seems like it'll be a bit more labor-intensive.
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Heather
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I've used a diaphragm on and off since college, so for....well, about 15 years or more, so I can add some notes for you about my experiences, Lena.

Pros: I love that it's non-hormonal (thus, no loss of libido, no loss of lubrication, no depression or mood changes, no health risks, the works), that it can be put in in advance, and that it's not something my partner or I can feel. It's also seriously inexpensive, even with the spermicide. It's also easily portable, and can be used for more than one session of intercourse if I like. One other pro is that use during my period means that if I don't want to have to deal with mess on my sheets, I don't have to.

Cons: I have found that sizing is KEY with these. As it turned out, the time before last I got sized, the clinician wasn't experienced with sizing, and gave me a size too big, meaning that it wasn't creating the right kind of seal to be most effective, I COULD feel it when it was in and getting it out by myself was nigh unto impossible and not at all comfortable. Sometimes, too, I just don't feel like having it in for all the hours afterwards it needs to be in for (but again then, it's just as easy for me to use condoms instead). Now and then, I have found that the diaphragm can be the tipping point when it comes to bacterial or yeast infections, but if I keep my nurition and lifestyle stuff the case to not get there in the first place, then it's not an issue, so.

Ease of use:I like how opt-in it is: if I'm not in the mood to use it, then I can just as easily have a partner shift to condoms. Given I've had a lot of practice with these over the years, putting it in and getting it out (see above, though) is also a breeze for me. Affording it is no problem: it's a one-time cost for years, and replacing spermicide for it is very cheap. Getting it isn't a big for me either, since I already have annual GYN exmas anyway, so a fitting can be done as part of a pelvic no sweat.

Effectiveness: Like I said, the one time above I had a sizing problem, we had a possible chemical pregnancy over here (a fertilization, but not an implantation), which was nerve-wracking. But since the resizing and making a commitment to using it with condoms during fertile times, I feel fine about that. otherwise, no problem, over a lot of years.

I should note that when I'm not with a long-term partner, I always double up with condoms. While cervical barriers have been shown to possibly provide some extra STI protection, I've only ever taken it for extra, and condoms and other barriers have been a given. Plus, STI issues aside, I'd not want to deal with a pregnancy from a more casual partner, period, so backing up has always been important to me.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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Thanks, Heather! [Smile] Your description makes the diaphragm seem like a really good option for me. I'll go in and have it rechecked for fit--it seems ok: at 145/150lbs I had 60mm and now at 130/135 I have 65mm-- and to make sure I'm wearing it properly. I was prescribed it awhile back but hadn't used it, so it would be good to check.

What about silicon versus latex diaphragms? I was prescribed latex both times I went in, but they both expired within a year. Silicon is supposed to last longer-- does it have any other advantages?

What about inserting additional spermicide (a teaspoon full, right) if there are multiple ejaculations in one sitting (ha, no pun intended)? I've seen an applicator mentioned, which didn't come along with the diaphragm. Is this necessary or can it be done by hand?

Sometimes, too, I just don't feel like having it in for all the hours afterwards it needs to be in for (but again then, it's just as easy for me to use condoms instead).

The whole timing part seems biggest con (and potential BV/yeast infections, ugh!) If used as back up with condoms and the condom does not break, do you think I really need to leave it in place for 6-8 hours? It would surely be the "safer" thing to do, but is it really necessary?

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-Lauren-
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I'm considering trying either the diaphragm or Lea's shield. I'm leaning towards the diaphragm since it can be used to contain menses and lasts longer.

Question though: What is the consensus on homemade spermicide? I've heard of several midwives recommending it to their clients, and lots of women swear by it even though there is nothing but anectotal evidence vouching its effectiveness.

Spermicide just really gives my poor hooch more trouble than it can handle. I always, always, always attempt intercourse with a condom, so effectiveness isn't a massive deal.

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as34
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For all the reasons heather listed, I'm also seriously considering diaphragms and cervical caps.
I'm leaning towards cervical caps since they're smaller, seem easier to put in, use less spermicide, can be left in for longer, and maybe less likely to be felt by my partner(?)

Does anyone have experience with both methods to provide a comparison? And what about Leah's Shield? Are there any major reasons to choose one over the other?

Also, before this I was using nuvaring, which seemed great on paper but gave me constant yeast infections and killed my libido. Even though I'm pretty sure it was the hormones that set off the infections, I'm worried that part of it was just having a foreign object in my body. Will a cervical cap/diaphragm tend toward infection too? Even if its only inside me for hours rather than weeks? Also, will the spermicide (which I've heard can be an irritant) make infections more likely?

Thanks!!

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“My body is not my enemy and pleasure is my friend and my right”
-Rebecca Walker

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as34
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I hope this isn't too random, but I just wanted to add a weird anecdote:
I called my local Planned Parenthood to see how much a cervical cap would cost, and they did a double-take when I asked for it. I was transferred to a senior staff member who said, with an are-you-crazy tone, "We don't carry cervical caps... and haven't in years." When I asked if they knew of any other places that might sell cervical caps, she just said, "No."

Later I called the other planned parenthood in my area and got the exact same response.

When I talked to my university's obgyn she also said that she hadn't heard of anyone talking about cervical caps in a looong time. But at least she was supportive and agreed to search for a provider.

Are cervical caps *that* outdated? Is there a reason no one uses them anymore? Or is this where the "evil drug companies that push chemicals" conspiracy theories come in?

--------------------
“My body is not my enemy and pleasure is my friend and my right”
-Rebecca Walker

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Sigh.

So, here's the thing: cervical barriers, indeed, are NOT big moneymakers, because unlike other methods, just one of them lasts an awfully long time. As well, with the advent of other methods over the last 10-20 years (most of which are more effective, so that's not a minor deal), and more and more of them, less and less women are interested in cervical barrier methods.

However, you absolutely can still find them, and a good OB/GYN should still be able to fit you for one if you want one. Feminist women's health providers can tend to be more in touch with this, if you have any independent clinics near where you are.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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as34
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Thanks Heather! I really appreciate your responding so quickly!
I've been calling the local women's health centers and no one seems to carry cervical caps anymore.
However, I did find a website online that sells them from Canada.

Whether I end up using cervical caps or diaphragms, I still feel a little iffy about the spermicide.

I found a product online called "contragel" which markets itself as a natural spermicide without Nonoxynol-9. Does anyone have any experience with this product or know if its legit?

http://buycontragel.com/

Scarleteen is such a wonderful resource, I can't imagine navigating the crazy world of sexual health without it!

--------------------
“My body is not my enemy and pleasure is my friend and my right”
-Rebecca Walker

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm afraid I don't know about it, but looking at the page for it, the ingredients look sound to me. One thing, though, that I feel like I always want around contraception is to be sure any device or method I'm using has been studied well and properly for effectiveness. The page says this one has been tested, but I'm not finding a link to any of those tests, and that does trouble me.

Per other spermicides, have you had any issues using them before in terms of sensitivity/allergy?

One question: if you can get hold of a cervical barrier, were you planning to use it by itself or in conjunction with condoms? If you're planning on doing the latter, then the spermicide becomes a little less important. If you're planning on going without, it's pretty critical.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Lyly L
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quote:
Originally posted by as34:
Thanks Heather! I really appreciate your responding so quickly!
I've been calling the local women's health centers and no one seems to carry cervical caps anymore.
However, I did find a website online that sells them from Canada.

Whether I end up using cervical caps or diaphragms, I still feel a little iffy about the spermicide.

I found a product online called "contragel" which markets itself as a natural spermicide without Nonoxynol-9. Does anyone have any experience with this product or know if its legit?

http://buycontragel.com/

Scarleteen is such a wonderful resource, I can't imagine navigating the crazy world of sexual health without it!

Such a very amazing link!
Thanks you for the post.

--------------------
Watch Tangled Online Free

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