How to Use Cervical Caps

The cervical caps are made of rubber or plastic with dome shape similar to the diaphragms but smaller in size. It works just like the diaphragms and the only difference is it can be left in place for longer period of time up to 48 hours. The caps come in different sizes and it is also used along with spermicide that are applied into the dome which is than inserted into the vagina and fitted around the back of the cervix. Women may choose this method over diaphragms because it is smaller in size and can fit more tightly around the cervix.

How it Works

The cervical caps are available only by prescription and you have to make appointment to visit your health care practitioner. The practitioner will work with you to determine whether or not your health condition will interfere with the use of the caps and if you qualify the practitioner will provide you with prescription and instruction on inserting and removing the cap. The practitioner will also help you to find the best fit that maximizes the protection.

The cap is use in conjunction with spermicide cream which is filled up to about two-thirds and spread around the inside of the rim. The edge of the cap is squeezed with one hand and inserted into the vagina with the cream facing up. When the cap is inserted correctly it should pressed onto and covered the cervix.

cervical caps, diaphragms, spermicide, toxic shock syndrome, TSS

It can be inserted 6 hours before intercourse and should remain in the vagina for at least 6 hours after intercourse and douching should be avoided during this period. The cervical caps work by covering the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus and prevent fertilization from occurring. The spermicide served as an added protection to kill sperms that come into contact with the caps.

The caps should not be left in place for more than 48 hours and should be removed before that time to avoid toxic shock syndrome (TSS). The caps can be remove by inserting a finger into the vagina and pull it out by first pulling on the side of the rim to break the suction. Once removed, the cap should be properly maintained by washing with soap and warm water and allow to dry completely before putting away. The caps should not be use along with oil-based lubricants or medical cream used for vaginal infection as these can cause damage to the latex.


Women who cannot use diaphragms due to pelvic problems or loss of vaginal muscle tone can switch to this method. Even though it uses less spermicide but the cap cost more than the diaphragms so the overall cost is almost the same between the two methods. The use of cap allow for spontaneous sexual activity as it can be inserted 6 hours before intercourse and left in place 6 hours after intercourse.

The cap is convenient to carry around and using the cap does not alter the menstrual cycle or affect natural production of hormones and fertility. This method of contraception is effective immediately once put in place and the process can be reverse immediately if you decide to get pregnant.


Cervical caps may not be suitable for women with distorted cervix or during pregnancy. Maybe difficult to learn how to put in place or to remove after use and some women may feel uncomfortable wearing it. The cap must be worn during sexual intercourse and does not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. The cap cannot be use during menstruation and some people may be allergic to either spermicide or latex. If left in place for too long it may lead to infection or cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

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