How to Use Diaphragms

The diaphragms are made of soft latex with dome shape that consists of thin flexible spring around the rim. Spermicide creams are applied into the dome and around the rim which is than inserted into the vagina and if done correctly the rim should fit around the back of the cervix.

The diameter of the rim vary between two to four inches to fit each individual correctly because in some women the cervix are located closer to the vaginal opening and others are located further back from the opening. The rims are made up of three different kinds of springs and these may include the coil spring, the flat spring, or the arcing spring. This provide more options and some people have different preference as to which one fits better.

How it Works

The diaphragms are available by prescription and you will need to make appointment to visit your health care practitioner. During pelvic exam the practitioner will work with you to determine if you have any health condition that may interfere using this method of contraception. If all is well the practitioner will provide you with prescription and instruction on how to correctly insert and remove the diaphragms. The practitioner will also help you to find the best fit that maximizes the protection.

A tea spoon of spermicide cream is applied into the dome and spread around the inside of the rim. The side of the rim is squeezed with one hand and inserted into the vaginal opening with the cream facing up. During the insertion you can be standing or squatting and when done correctly the dome should cover the cervix.

This method of contraception works 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 diaphragms.

diaphragms, cervical caps, spermicide, contraception, TSS

The diaphragms can be inserted two hours before intercourse but shorter time span provides better protection. If more than two hours have gone by after insertion and you have not engaged in sexual intercourse, additional spermicide need to be inserted each time you have sexual intercourse. Even though it can be inserted just before intercourse but some women prefer to insert ahead of time for privacy and spontaneous sexual activity.

It should remain in place for at least 6 hours after intercourse to ensure all sperms are killed by the spermicide and douching should be avoided during this period. If intercourse occurs again the diaphragms should be left in place and additional spermicide need to be inserted by using an applicator tube.

It should not be left in place for more than 24 hours and should be removed before that time period. There have been reports of several cases of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) resulted from the use of diaphragms that was left in place for long period of time. It is always a good practice to remove after proper time has elapsed following intercourse and this can be done by inserting a finger into the vagina in squatting position and pulls it out by first pulling on the side of the rim to break the suction.

Once removed it should be properly maintained by washing with soap and warm water and allow to dry completely before putting away. It should not be use along with oil-based lubricants or medical cream used for vaginal infection as these can cause damage to the latex.


It is larger easier to use and less expensive than using cervical caps. It allows for spontaneous sexual activity as it can be inserted 2 hours before intercourse and left in place 6 hours after intercourse. It is easy to carry around and it 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. The use of spermicide reduces the risk of vaginal infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, STDs such as gonorrhea and AIDS.


It may not be suitable for women with pelvic problems or loss of vaginal muscle tone and if this is the case you can switch to cervical caps which are smaller in size and may fit more tightly around the cervix. Some women may feel uncomfortable wearing it as it must be worn during sexual intercourse and does not provide full protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

The use of spermcide cream can be messy and interfere with sexual activity. Some people may be allergic to latex and they can switch to plastic or they may be allergic to particular spermicide and they can switch to different brand.

It cannot be left in place for too long as this can increase the risk of bladder infections, urinary tract infections, and toxic shock syndrome (TSS). There are several changes in health conditions that can result in the diaphragms not fit correctly and these may include weight gain, pregnancy, and abortion.

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