FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Sometimes people are too embarrassed, too busy, or just don’t know the right questions. The questions on this page should cover a lot of aspects of what you need to know though.

DIAPHRAGM

What happens if I accidentally swallow some spermicide?

Most spermicides have an unpleasant taste but will not usually harm you or make you feel ill, however it is advisable to avoid swallowing excessive amounts. If you are concerned about feeling ill following swallowing some spermicide, you should seek the advice of a healthcare provider.

How does a spermicide work?

Spermicides contain substances that kill sperm. Some products also form a thick foam or mucus which blocks the cervix and acts as a barrier against the sperm. They can come in the form of foam, foaming tablets, pessaries, creams, jellies and sponges. Spermicides are not effective enough when used alone, and should be used in combination with barrier methods such as the diaphragm or cap.

How is a diaphragm fitted?

A pelvic examination by either a physician or a skilled healthcare provider is required for fitting diaphragms. Fitting rings are produced by diaphragm manufacturers in various sizes and with different rim types. Sizes range from 50 to 105 mm. They are most commonly available in flat spring or coil spring rim types. Diaphragms between 60 -85 mm in diameter will provide the correct fit for most women. Initially the fitting ring size is estimated by clinical assessment of the vaginal length. Smaller or larger sizes are then inserted until the correct fit is achieved. It is important that each individual is fitted with the type of rim that she will ultimately use as the rim type can affect fit and ease of insertion. It should fit snugly into the upper half of the vagina. The user should practice insertion under supervision and placement should be inspected to ensure that the fitting ring is correctly positioned in the vagina. Fitting is best done when the bladder is not empty so that the user can test to ensure that urination is easily accomplished with the selected fitting ring in place. The diaphragm may require resizing following a full-term pregnancy, pelvic surgery, or abortion, or if there is a major change in weight.

Can a diaphragm get lost or stuck inside my body?

There is no reason for the diaphragm to get lost or stuck inside your body. A diaphragm will be specifically fitted by a healthcare provider to ensure it fits and can be used effectively by you. If you are having a diaphragm fitted, you should practice insertion, placement and removal with the healthcare provider. The diaphragm should also be checked every six months by a healthcare provider to make sure it still fits properly.

Do I remove the diaphragm immediately after sex?

A diaphragm should be removed no sooner than 6 hours after intercourse and can be left in place for up to 24 hours after intercourse. Additional spermicide is required with subsequent acts of intercourse. If more spermicide is required it should be placed in the vagina and the diaphragm should be left in place.

What happens if I want to have sex spontaneously?

The diaphragm can be inserted immediately before or up to 6 hours before intercourse. Some people do find that this might interfere with spontaneity.

Why should the diaphragm not be worn for longer than 24 hours without interruption?

Wearing the diaphragm for longer than 24 hours without interruption can promote bacterial growth inside the vagina. These bacteria can lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome. Toxic shock is a rare but serious infection.

Can the diaphragm also be used during menstruation?

The use of the diaphragm during menstruation is possible.

What should I do if I forget to remove the diaphragm after 24 hours have passed?

Remove the diaphragm and visit your doctor or healthcare provider for a medical examination.

Can I have repeated intercourse with the diaphragm?

Yes, your diaphragm will remain in position, but you will have to apply more spermicide every time you have intercourse.

Could my partner feel the diaphragm?

This is unlikely. However, some partners may feel the rim of the diaphragm.

What should I do if the diaphragm accidentally comes out during intercourse?

Re-insert the diaphragm again after applying some more spermicides. If the diaphragm comes out after your partner has ejaculated or if you do not feel safe, visit your doctor or healthcare provider to discuss whether you may need the emergency contraception to avoid an unintended pregnancy.

Will the diaphragm affect my menstrual cycle?

The diaphragm is a hormone free vaginal contraceptive that does not disrupt your menstrual cycle.

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