Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages and Disadvantages

3 min read

From a number of methods of preventing pregnancy (contraception), the name spermicide may not be as popular as other methods, such as birth control injections, birth control pills, spirals, vasectomy, to the use of condoms. Are you one of those who are not familiar with spermicide? If yes, then what is a spermicide? How do spermicides work? How effective are spermicides in preventing pregnancy?

What Is Spermicide?

Spermicide is one of the various contraceptives for couples who want to delay pregnancy. Spermicide (spermicide) serves to kill sperm cells or inhibit the movement of sperm before it reaches the egg cell.

The benefits of spermicide to prevent pregnancy are due to the content of a chemical called nonoxynol-9, which is specially formulated to kill or inhibit sperm movement.

Spermicides are available in various forms, namely:

  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Tablet
  • Vaginal contraceptive film (VCF)
  • Suppository spermicide

How Spermicides Work

As already explained, the way spermicides work is to kill the sperm cell, or block the sperm’s path to the egg, in which the chemical nonoxynol-9 becomes the ‘main role’ of this process.

Spermicide is placed in the vagina, precisely near the neck of the uterus, some time before having sex. After that, this contraceptive starts to work when penetration has reached the stage of ejaculation.

However, the effectiveness of spermicide as a means of contraception should be balanced with the use of other contraceptives, such as condoms. The reason is that the use of spermicides supported by other contraceptives has an effectiveness of 95 percent, while the use of spermicides without supporting contraceptives has an effectiveness of 70-80 percent.

How to Use Spermicide

There are several ways to use spermicide. For spermicide types of cream, gel, and foam, how to use it is by applying or spraying it into the vagina using a special tool that is usually included in the spermicide product.

Meanwhile, for other types of spermicides such as VCF, how to use it is by placing it behind the vagina, while suppository spermicides can be directly inserted into the vagina without the help of special tools.

The time span between the use of spermicide and penetration of the penis into the vagina varies. Several types of spermicides such as creams, gels, and foams allow you to have sex immediately after use. Special spermicides such as VCF and tablets should be used 10-30 minutes before sexual intercourse.

For more details, pay attention to the instructions for use listed on the packaging of the spermicide product. Or, you can first consult with your doctor before using the spermicide contraceptive.

One more thing, in order to maximize the performance of spermicides, you are advised not to do douching, which is to clean the vagina using special vaginal cleaning soap, for approximately 6 (six) hours after having sex. Or, you don’t really need to do the douching.

Advantages of Spermicide

The presence of spermicide as an alternative means of contraception is not without reason. There are a number of advantages of this spermicide contraceptive product, namely:

1. Short Term

Many couples are worried about using long-term contraceptive methods, such as vasectomy, birth control injections, or spirals. The reason is, the use of these tools has side effects that are quite disturbing, for example:

  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Headache
  • Bleeding
  • Bruises on the testicles

This does not happen if you use spermicide, considering that this contraceptive is short-term because it only works when used.

2. Easy Maintenance

Using contraceptives such as spirals, you need to check with your doctor to make sure the device is working properly, or if you need a change. Pretty inconvenient, isn’t it? Not to mention the costs that must be incurred for each inspection.

While spermicide, you can install it independently, even with treatment. Provided, put this spermicide in a clean place and out of reach of children.

3. Cheaper

Just like condoms, spermicide is an effective birth control solution, but without the need to spend a lot of money. You can also get spermicide at the nearest pharmacies. Given that this spermicide contraceptive is sold freely, pay close attention to how it is used.

Weaknesses of Spermicide

However, that does not mean that spermicide is clean from the deficiency. In fact, this contraceptive has a number of drawbacks that you should pay attention to, namely:

1. Must be used with other contraceptives

As mentioned above, spermicide users are advised to continue to use other contraceptive devices—such as condoms—to maximize the effectiveness of the spermicide. The reason is, the use of spermicides without being supported by contraceptives such as condoms still allows women to get pregnant.

About 28 out of 100 women who use spermicide for the first time without a partner wearing a condom, reportedly remain pregnant.

2. Risk of Infection

Another drawback of spermicides that you need to be aware of is that this tool does not necessarily prevent you from getting sexually transmitted infections (STDs), including infections that lead to HIV/AIDS.

Not only that, but the risk of vaginal irritation also increases with the use of spermicide too often.

3. Less Efficient Ways to Use

If you and your partner are ‘unbearable’ to immediately make love, then spermicide is not the right choice. The reason is, you have to wait a while after using spermicide to be able to penetrate. However, this only applies to VCF spermicides and tablets.

Well, that’s information about what spermicide is, from how it works to the advantages and disadvantages of this contraceptive. The selection of methods of preventing pregnancy (birth control) must of course be adjusted to the needs and conditions of you and your partner. Do not hesitate to consult with your doctor to determine the right method of contraception. Hope it is useful!

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