Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Vaginal spermicides are a chemical method of birth control
used in the vagina. There are many forms of spermicides:
creams, gels, suppositories, and foams. Contraceptive
sponges and some condoms also contain spermicide.
Spermicides prevent pregnancy by killing sperm before they
reach the uterus.
Instructions for Using Spermicides
The instructions for using each type of spermicide are
different. Make sure that you follow the directions on the
package carefully. Call your doctor if you have any
questions. To help prevent pregnancy:
- Put the spermicide in your vagina before you have any
- Insert the applicator or suppository deep into the vagina
like you would a tampon. If you use a suppository, you
must wait 15 minutes before having sex. (Follow the package
- If the spermicide has been in the vagina more than a half
hour before ejaculation (release of sperm), put in more
spermicide. Spermicides work only if you put more on
BEFORE EACH ejaculation. This is very important.
- Douching may make the spermicide not work as well. If
you feel you need to douche, wait at least 6 to 8 hours
after you have had sex.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Spermicides
- Spermicides are only 80% reliable in preventing
pregnancy. When used with a condom, the reliability
increases to 95%.
- They are a cheap form of birth control.
- They are widely available to anyone. They can be
bought at your local drug or grocery store.
- If you can't remember to use vaginal spermicides
EVERY time you have sex, this is not a good form of
birth control for you. Even if you forget just one
time, you could get pregnant.
- You could have an allergic reaction (such as itching
or a rash). Stop using spermicides if you have a
reaction to them and tell your doctor.
- Spermicides do not protect against sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs). Use condoms for
protection against disease every time you have sex,
even if you are also using a spermicide.
Call Your Doctor During Office Hours If:
- You have any questions or concerns.