Barrier Methods of Contraception

Achieve contraception by physically preventing sperm access to ovum.

Male Condoms (Pearl index 3.6 i.e. not perfect)

  • Incorrect use is a common problem and the use of oil based and/or spermicidal lubrication causes problems too
  • They are a male method (but are visible to the female) and require motivation (not independent of intercourse)
  • However, they are cheap, effective, almost no contraindications, not reliant on the medical profession
  • They also provide the extra protection against STI/cancer of the cervix

The diaphragm, cervival cap and female condom

  • Both the diaphragm and cap require fitting prior to sexual intercourse
  • The use of spermicide is recommended to increase protection (this may require ‘topping up’ if more than 4 hours have passed since insertion)
  • They should be left in 6 hours after intercourse.
  • As a result, there are problems with loss of spontaneity, patient motivation, annoyance and poor vaginal tone etc
  • But they do provide an alternative to hormonal contraception if the individual does not wish to use hormonal methods.

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