Spermicides are chemical formulations manufactured to kill sperm and prevent pregnancy. The chemical ingredient in a spermicide is called nonoxynol-9. To prevent pregnancy, and as added precaution, spermicides are best used with condoms. By themselves spermicides are far from fool-proof as a form of contraceptive.
The spermicide should be inserted into the vagina before intercourse and should be left for 6 to 8 hours after sexual intercourse, for the spermicide to have time to kill sperm.
Spermicides come in different forms. The different types of spermicides which are popular are:
- Foam has to put into an applicator and inserted into the vagina before sex takes place.
- Vaginal jelly which comes in a squeezable tube. It can be used in conjunction with a condom, diaphragm or cervical cap.
- Vaginal contraceptive film is a small thin plastic square sheet that contains spermicide. It is to be inserted and put it place between 15 minutes and an hour before sex. Fold it and insert by hand. It melts in the vagina when it is ready with its protective action.
- Suppositories are small oval pellets. Insert one by hand before intercourse or use a special applicator which is inserted into the vagina and releases the pellet.
The chemical barrier formed by the spermicide kills the sperm cells or paralyses them preventing movement into the vagina. To ensure maximum safety, it should be used as an additional means of contraception.
Some women are allergic to spermicides which could lead to soreness in the vagina, rashes around the vagina or a smelly discharge. Urinary tract infections can also take place.
Spermicides offer no protection at all against HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
Can you bathe after using spermicide? It is inadvisable to bathe immediately after intercourse. As mentioned earlier, the spermicide should be left inside for between 6 to 8 hours to be effective. A shower, however, may be had taking due care to ensure the spermicide is not washed away.
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