WHAT IS A DIAPHRAGM BIRTH CONTROL?
Commonly regarded as a “female condom”, a diaphragm birth control is a little cupola shaped device that can be used to affect birth control.
The diaphragm birth control method can be dated back to hundreds of years ago, precisely the 1830s, as women sought to control the rate of unwanted pregnancy. The percentage of the usage of this method depleted with time due to innovations of other birth control alternatives like contraceptives.
Though, in recent times, specific modifications have been made by the addition of a priable rim alongside a spermicide for added protection which kills any sperm that comes in contact with it. This is to enhance the diaphragm birth control method.
TYPES OF DIAPHRAGM
The diaphragm differs in diameter ranging from 0.05 meters to 0.105 meters making the springs located in the rims vary in size
There are various types of the diaphragm and they are explained below:
- Arcing Spring Diaphragm
The arcing spring is a type of diaphragm that takes the shape of an arc when inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix and fits the size of the vagina walls. This type of diaphragm birth control device is advantageous as the diaphragm works perfectly for any diameter of the vagina when the edges become compressed. It can be said to be the most ductile of all the other diaphragms in existence though fingers can be used.
- Coil Spring Diaphragm
This type of diaphragm is common to the arcing spring as they both take the shape of a curve when compressed. The coil spring takes the shape of an oval though possessing incongruities in the strength of the material. Unlike the arcing spring, the coil spring is restrained to women with a normal or tight vagina. This is used as an alternative to arcing spring as it enhances intense pleasure about the diameter of the vagina. The coil spring is mainly inserted with the aid of a device known as the introducer.
- Flat Spring Diaphragm
The flat spring diaphragm birth control device is limited to women with tight vagina walls. It has a little disparity of thickness with the coil spring as the flat spring is thinner than the coil spring. An introducer can also be used in the stead of the hands as some women are not comfortable with the usage of fingers in the vagina area.
- Wide Seal Rim Diaphragm
This type of diaphragm is unique as it is an alternative to latex due to its silicone attributes in cases where some women are sensitive to the latex. It can be given as either arched or coiled shape having a diameter of 0.075 meters.
ADVANTAGES OF THE DIAPHRAGM BIRTH CONTROL METHOD
Like other birth control methods, the diaphragm birth control consists of series of advantages, and they are listed below;
- The diaphragm birth control method is cost-effective.
- Reduction of the probability of contacting an inflammatory disease around the pelvic region.
- It does not affect the hormonal balance of women.
- It becomes effective rapidly and can be reversed easily.
- It can be inserted few hours before any intercourse.
- Mothers in the early stages of breastfeeding can still utilize it.
DISADVANTAGES OF THE DIAPHRAGM BIRTH CONTROL METHOD
- The diaphragm can deform in the vagina due to the size of the penis it comes in contact with.
- Inserting the diaphragm into the vagina proves difficult.
- The diaphragm birth method requires a prescription from a specialist.
- It has little or no effect on the protection of either partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
- It can not be used for persons with allergic reactions to silicone or spermicide.
DIAPHRAGM BIRTH CONTROL EFFECTIVENESS
Normally, a birth control system has two forms of effectiveness namely the “method” and “actual” effectiveness in which the former is lower than the latter.
The “method” effectiveness, in this case, is said to be the number of partners utilizing this method to abstain from unwanted pregnancy and the “actual” effectiveness is the number of partners that prioritize the method as a form of birth control leading to no pregnancy. In this case, most couples do not get it right due to inaccurate prescriptions or wrong usage of the device.
According to contraceptive technology, the success rate of the diaphragm birth control method is estimated to be 94% per year. Though the effectiveness of this method is dependent on the fitting, the placement, the usage of spermicide, and the duration of placement just before sex.
DISQUALIFIED CANDIDATES FOR THE USAGE OF THE DIAPHRAGM BIRTH CONTROL METHOD
- Women that are sensitive to the spermicide, silicone, or late.
- Women having abnormalities with their vagina.
- Women with a recent history of childbirth dating to 6 weeks.
- Women with poor vagina fitting.
- Women with urinary tract infections (UTIs).
RISK INVOLVED/SIDE EFFECTS
The diaphragm birth control method like any other method involves few side effects and rare cases of serious problems.
The following effects tend to occur when using this method:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)/Irritation Of Vagina.
This kind of infection may arise from the usage of the diaphragm birth control method. Though, easy solutions have been proffered to prevent the infection. Urinating just before and after sexual intercourse is advisable for reducing the chances of contracting the infection.
Also, the application of the method is limited to women with no sensitivity to silicone or spermicide as it can result in irritation of the vagina. The spermicide consists of a compound known as ‘non oxynol-9’ which is a normal irritant when utilized numerously within 24 hours.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
The toxic shock syndrome tends to occur when the diaphragm remains in the vagina for more than 24 hours. According to statistics, it only affects about 2.4% of every 100,000 users. The syndrome might result in symptoms like burning sensation when urinating, bleeding, irritation of the vagina, fever, and irregular discharge of fluid from the vagina.
PROCESS INVOLVED IN THE APPLICATION OF THE DIAPHRAGM BIRTH CONTROL METHOD
The process involved in the utilization of the diaphragm birth control method consists of the following:
For enhanced effectiveness, the spermicide must be used to aid the diaphragm device. This is applied by rubbing the spermicide everywhere around the diaphragm to terminate any sperm cell it comes in contact with.
Oil-based cream is detrimental to the diaphragm is used as it can create a hole in the diaphragm though, ‘Option Gynol II’ is the best spermicide for diaphragms.
How To Use
In most cases, some women prefer inserting the device themselves following the prescriptions related to them by specialists and doctors. Inserting a diaphragm takes skill and professionalism.
The legs of the woman need to be spread widely and knees bent properly. After applying the spermicide, the diaphragm is folded into two halves and inserted into the vagina locating the tailbone. Afterward, the fingers are used to further push the diaphragm deeply into the vagina.
It is mandatory to confirm the placement of the diaphragm by slotting a finger deeply to check if the cervix can be felt through the diaphragm. If the cervix is felt without feeling the diaphragm, then it is properly placed but if not, the diaphragm is to be removed and reinserted till it attains placement of the introducer can be used.
When To Take It Out
Referencing the previous explanation on side effects, leaving the diaphragm for more than 24 hours tends to result in toxic shock syndrome. Therefore, it is advisable to remove the diaphragm six hours after sex except for plans for further intercourse are eminent, then, more spermicide must be added into the vagina.
How To Take It Out
After six hours, the hands must be washed properly to this effect and the woman must be placed in a comfortable position like laying down, squatting, or standing with one leg up.
Afterward, the index finger is inserted into the vagina to hook the rim of the diaphragm before the diaphragm is carefully pulled out of the vagina.
A diaphragm needs to be properly taken off after removal to avoid bacteria from infesting the diaphragm in the case where it is to be reutilized.
The following measures are taken:
- Rinsing and airing,
- Checking for holes,
- Storing them in a cool dry area.
The diaphragm can last for 2-10 years when properly taken care of.
The diaphragm birth control method has the advantage of being pocket friendly. The cost of a diaphragm ranges from $90 to $150 without insurance but it is cheaper or sometimes free through your carrier. A diaphragm varies in size so some firms tend to add fitting fees in the cost.
- Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t use a diaphragm or spermicide?
If you are sensitive to a spermicide, if you have an abnormally in your vagina region, if you have poor vagina fitting or have a urinary tract infection, you should not use the diaphragm.
- How effective are diaphragms at preventing pregnancy?
According to the statistics gotten from the contraceptive technology institute, the application of the diaphragm to prevent pregnancy has proven successful with a rate of 94% per year.
- How do I know if my diaphragm is placed correctly?
Inserting the finger into the vagina is used to confirm the placement. If the cervix is felt without having to feel the diaphragm, it means it has been placed correctly.
- What spermicides do you recommend using with diaphragms?
Option Gynol II is recommended as the best spermicide to use as other spermicides can create a hole in the diaphragm that can lead to unwanted pregnancy and also vaginal irritation.
- What should I use to protect myself against STIs?
For utmost protection, a condom should be used by your partner as a diaphragm does not give full protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
- What are my options if I end up getting irritation or UTIs from the device?
It is advisable to visit a doctor or a specialist immediately you start experiencing symptoms.