How to Use Contraceptive Sponge (Birth Control Sponge)

The contraceptive sponge is a soft round birth control sponge made of polyurethane foam containing spermicide which is inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy. Birth control sponge is less than 2 inches in diameter and consists of soft cotton loop for easy removal. Each contraceptive sponge can provide effective contraception up to 24 hours.

Birth control sponge initially came to the US market in 1983 and is marketed under the brand name Today Sponge. In 1994, Today Sponge was removed from the US market and in 2005, Today Sponge was re-introduced to the US market. In 2007, the company filed for bankruptcy and re-launched in 2009. Currently Today Sponge is the only form of birth control sponge available in the United States.

How it Works

Contraceptive sponge is available over the counter without prescription. Today Sponge is hormone free and it provides immediate protection right after insertion. The new sponge is inserted into the vagina and can be left in place for up to 24 hours. During insertion the side of the sponge is squeezed with one hand and inserted into the vaginal opening with the dimple facing up. When inserted correctly the dimple on the sponge should cover the cervix.

Birth control sponge works several ways to provide effective contraception. The sponge provides protection by covering the cervix which blocks sperm from entering into the uterus. The sponge also works by absorbing the sperm into the foam and the spermicide contained within the foam provide extra protection by killing sperms that come into contact with the sponge.

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The sponge can provide protection for up to 24 hours with multiple sexual intercourses without using additional spermicide. The sponge must be left in place for at least 6 hours after your last intercourse to provide effective protection. It can easily be removed by pulling on the cotton loop attached to the sponge.

Advantages

Contraceptive sponge is available over the counter and you don’t have to visit your health care practitioner to get a prescription. Birth control sponge is safe and easy to use compare to diaphragm or cervical cap because of one size that fits all. You can insert vaginal sponge ahead of time to allow for spontaneous sexual activity.

The sponge is hormone free so you will not be affected by hormone related side effects. If you decide to get pregnant you simply stop using vaginal sponge. The sponge is convenient to carry around and it cannot be felt by you or your partner during sexual activity. The sponge can be used during breastfeeding and it can also be used by women over the age of 35.

Disadvantages

Birth control sponge does not provide full protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Some women may experience difficulty inserting or removing vaginal sponge and it cannot be used during your menstrual cycle. Some people may be allergic to spermicide and the use of spermicide can be messy and interfere with sexual activity.

Spermicide may cause vaginal irritation and using the sponge may also increase the risk of vaginal infections. Vaginal sponge cannot be left in place for more than 30 hours as it can increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

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