Find out if a diaphragm is the right choice for you

The septum is a flexible dome-shaped cup with bendable edges. It is made of soft silicone or latex. You bend the diaphragm in half and insert it into the vagina. A diaphragm covers the cervix to help prevent pregnancy.


Diaphragms have been used as a method of birth control since the 1830s. You need a prescription to get a diaphragm. They were actually considered the first major contraceptive innovation for people who wanted to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies.

There have been many improvements in the design and effectiveness of diaphragms over the years – so they remain a popular contraceptive option for many. In fact, they are 88 percent effective under typical usage, and 94 percent effective under perfect usage.

how does this work

The diaphragm acts as a physical barrier. It blocks the opening of the uterus. This way, the sperm cannot reach and fertilize the egg.

Before inserting the septum, you need to put spermicide cream or jelly on it – so if any sperm manage to get over the edge of the septum, they will be killed by the spermicide. The diaphragm is held in place by vaginal muscles.

how to use it

You will find that the diaphragm is easy to use with a little practice. Your healthcare provider should show you how to insert and remove the diaphragm. You should continue to practice at home until you feel comfortable using the diaphragm.


  • You must keep the diaphragm in place for six hours after you last had sex.
  • If you have sex again, make sure to insert more spermicide deep in your vagina.
  • If you have sex more than six hours after inserting your diaphragm, you’ll also need to add more spermicide deep in your vagina.
  • Do not leave the septum in place for more than 24 hours.
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Types of

Diaphragms come in different sizes and designs. This increases your chances of finding the right product for you. In addition to size, there are two types of diaphragms:

  • Flat Ring Option: This type of diaphragm can be extruded into a flat oval shape prior to insertion. Flat ring type rims are thinner. It also comes with an applicator to make insertion easier.
  • Arc or Coil Spring Options: This type of diaphragm forms a curved circle when squeezed. You can insert an arc or coil spring diaphragm with your finger.


Why consider using a diaphragm? Diaphragms can offer you the following advantages:

  • It is hormone-free, so it has no effect on your natural hormones.
  • It’s reversible, so when you remove it, your fertility is restored immediately.
  • The diaphragm is usually not felt by either party.
  • Side effects are rare (urinary tract infections and vaginal irritation are the most common).
  • People who are breastfeeding can use a diaphragm.
  • It takes effect immediately.
  • The diaphragm can easily be carried in your purse, bag, backpack or messenger bag.
  • It may reduce the risk of contracting certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, you should still use another method of preventing STIs (such as topical condoms, also known as “male” condoms).
  • A diaphragm can prevent certain types of precancerous changes in the cervix (but more research is needed to learn more).
  • It can be inserted hours in advance, so it won’t interrupt sexual activity.
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who can use it

A diaphragm can be used by most people. However, if you’re uncomfortable touching your vagina, or if you’re allergic to latex or spermicides (some people who have mild reactions to spermicides find changing brands of spermicide helpful), the diaphragm may not be for you.

Other conditions that may preclude the use of a diaphragm include:

  • gave birth within the past six weeks.
  • Have a history of frequent urinary tract infections.
  • Recent cervical surgery.
  • A prolapsed uterus or vaginal blockage.
  • A recent abortion (after the first trimester).
  • History of toxic shock syndrome.
  • Poor vaginal muscle tone.

how to get one

If you want to use a diaphragm, you will need to have it fitted by your healthcare provider. Once this happens, your doctor can give you a prescription. Diaphragms can be purchased at pharmacies. The cost of diaphragm fittings and the actual diaphragm will vary based on your insurance.

STD Protection

There is some evidence that using a diaphragm can protect you from some sexually transmitted infections. Studies have shown that people who use a diaphragm are 65% less likely to develop gonorrhea and trichomoniasis than those who do not use birth control. The frequency of chlamydia infection was also reduced in diaphragm users. This may be because the cervix is ​​the site of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections (the diaphragm covers the cervix), and spermicides may destroy the trichomoniasis parasite.

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Check if the spermicide used for the diaphragm contains nonoxynol-9. Frequent use of nonoxynol-9 may damage your vaginal tissue. This irritation may put you at a higher risk of contracting an STD or infection. It’s best not to rely on a diaphragm to protect you from STIs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does the diaphragm prevent pregnancy?

    The diaphragm is a bowl-shaped barrier contraceptive device that sits above the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. The diaphragm is made of thin, flexible silicone. They should be inserted two hours before sexual activity and placed at least six hours after sex.

  • How to get a diaphragm?

    Diaphragms are sold in pharmacies with a prescription from a gynecologist or women’s health clinic. Diaphragms come in different sizes. Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to determine the right size for you. Spermicide for use with a diaphragm is available over the counter.

    Depending on your insurance coverage, diaphragms can range from $0 to $250.

  • How effective is the diaphragm as a contraceptive measure?

    Studies have shown that diaphragms are 88% to 94% effective at preventing pregnancy when used with spermicides. Proper fit and placement and continued use ensure better pregnancy protection.