What is spermicide?
Spermicide is a form of birth control, made out of suppositories, foams, cremes, or film, that is inserted into the vagina prior to sexual intercourse. Spermicide forms a chemical barrier between the vagina and the cervix that either kills the sperm or makes them inactive and thus unable to pass through the cervix to the egg.
Spermicide is available without a prescription and there are no known risks to general health. No hormones are involved with spermicides.
How effective is spermicide?
Spermicides do not offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases and they are often less effective than other methods of contraception. Combining a spermicide with other contraceptives like a condom will improve effectiveness. If used correctly, spermicide is 80% effective.
Are there side effects?
Side effects usually last for only one hour and may include vaginal irritation. Some women are allergic to spermicides and therefore it can interrupt sex.
How do you use spermicide?
Most spermicide products need to be inserted into the vagina ten minutes before intercourse, but some products must be inserted within 30 minutes of ejaculation. Inserts may need to be placed one hour before intercourse. You will need to insert spermicide each time you have sex and be sure to follow all package directions.
Learn more about other birth control methods in our Birth Control Guide!