Barrier Contraceptives - Prevent Pregnancy and STD

There are currently over a dozen different contraceptive methods, many of them with good success rates in pregnancy prevention. Some contraceptives serve not only as a method of birth control, but also as a way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, such as condoms.

Among many options, deciding which method is best for each individual can be difficult, since there are many issues to consider, including costs, plans for future pregnancies, side effects, contraindications, etc.

Male and female condoms
Male and female condoms

Male condom

The male condom, popularly known as a condom, is one of the most popular methods of contraception, as it provides concurrent protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The condom, if used correctly, has a high rate of protection against pregnancy, on the order of 98% success. However, in real life, people often make mistakes in the way they use condoms.

Among the most common misconceptions are wrong condom placement, condom use with expired expiration date or misplaced storage, use of the same condom in more than one intercourse, or initiation of sexual intercourse without a condom, and only placing it next to the condom. moment of ejaculation. If used unobtrusively, the success rate as birth control of the condom drops from 98% to only 82%. The more sloppy the use, the less effective it is.

The same reasoning applies to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. If used correctly, condoms are highly effective in preventing STDs transmitted by contact with secretions of the male urethra, such as gonorrhea, HIV, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis B. An estimated 85% reduction in transmission risk is use a condom.

In relation to STDs that are not necessarily transmitted by secretions of the urethra and may present contagious wounds in areas not covered by the condom, such as pubic region and groin, the efficacy of the condom is lower, reaching only 50% in some cases. Examples include: genital herpes, syphilis, soft cancer, and HPV.

A condom is not a surefire method, but it is currently the best combination when thinking about reducing pregnancy and STD risks at the same time. Even though it is not 100% effective, especially against some STDs, the use of condoms often significantly reduces the risk of transmission and transmission. It is much safer to use a condom than to wear nothing.

Female condom

The female condom, as its name says, is the female version of the condom. The female condom is also a barrier method, serving as protection against STDs and pregnancy. The female condom is currently made of nitrile rubber (formerly polyurethane) and covers the entire mucosa and the entrance of the vagina.

If used correctly, the female condom is 95% effective against pregnancy. However, as with the male condom, due to errors in using it, the actual effectiveness of female condoms drops to only 79%.

As the female condom is a relatively new and not very widespread method, there are still no reliable studies on its actual efficacy against sexually transmitted diseases. We know that female condoms are impervious to viruses and bacteria, such as syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV, but large studies with statistical results are not yet available, although preliminary studies point to a safety similar to that of male condoms.

The female condom is disposable. For each new relationship, a new condom should be used.

The female condom is not intended for use in anal sex.

We will talk more about the female condom in a specific article, which will be written shortly.


The diaphragm is a female contraceptive barrier device, but it has only contraceptive action, not acting on the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

The diaphragm consists of a flexible dome with one concave side and one convex side. The most current diaphragms are made of silicone, but there are also diaphragms made of latex.

Before the sexual act, the concave side of the dome should be partially filled with a spermicidal cream or gel. The diaphragm is then inserted into the vagina and positioned to fit over the cervix. The diaphragm should only be removed 6 or 8 hours after the end of sexual intercourse.

There are diaphragms of various sizes and each woman has a size that fits best your vagina / cervix. If the woman slims or becomes too fat, the size of her diaphragm will probably have to be changed.

If used correctly, the contraceptive efficacy of the diaphragm is 94%. In real life, however, given errors in how to use it, the overall effectiveness of the diaphragm is only 84%.

The amount of women using diaphragm has fallen over the years. This decrease is probably due to the greater contraceptive effectiveness of oral contraceptives and greater ease of use of condoms. The diaphragm is harder to place than female condom and does not protect against STDs, so many women who opt for barrier methods now prefer the female condom. Another disadvantage of the diaphragm is a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections, especially cystitis.

The diaphragm is non-disposable and should be properly washed and retained after use. Poor conservation can create cracks and holes, compromising the effectiveness of the method.

Contraceptive sponge

The contraceptive sponge is a type of birth control similar to the diaphragm, which prevents pregnancy, but does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. The contraceptive sponge is a soft, disk-shaped device made of polyurethane foam and with a strap for easy removal. The sponge contains spermicides and must be wetted before being inserted into the vagina, where it will cover the cervix, preventing the passage of sperm.

If used correctly, the contraceptive efficacy of the sponge is 91%. In actual life, the overall efficacy of the sponge is 84% in women who have never had a vaginal delivery and only 68% in those who have had one or more vaginal deliveries.

Another advantage of the sponge is that it can be used without exchange in more than one intercourse, as long as it occurs within a 24-hour interval. The sponge should only be removed 6 hours after the last ratio. Do not use the same sponge for more than 30 hours in a row.

The use of sponge increases the chances of urinary infections and vaginal candidiasis. If it is forgotten for more than 30 hours, the sponge can cause a serious infection, called toxic shock syndrome, which can lead to death.

Due to the increased risk of side effects, the sponge is currently the least barrier method prescribed by gynecologists.

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