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Female condoms

Condoms for women; Contraception - female condom; Family planning - female condom; Birth control - female condom

The female condom is a device used for birth control. Like a male condom, it creates a barrier to prevent the sperm from getting to the egg.

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The female condom

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The female condom protects against pregnancy. It also protects against infections spread during sexual contact, including HIV. However, it is not thought to work as well as male condoms in protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The female condom is made of a thin, strong plastic called polyurethane. A newer version, which costs less, is made of a substance called nitrile.

These condoms fit inside the vagina. The condom has a ring on each end.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

The female condom is about 75% to 82% effective with normal use. When used correctly all of the time, female condoms are 95% effective.

Female condoms can fail for the same reasons as male condoms, including:

CONVENIENCE

PROS

CONS

HOW TO USE A FEMALE CONDOM

DISPOSING OF FEMALE CONDOMS

You should always throw condoms in the trash. Do not flush a female condom down the toilet. It is likely to clog the plumbing.

IMPORTANT TIPS

References

Harper DM, Wilfling LE, Blanner CF. Contraception. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 26.

Rivlin K, Davis AR. Contraception and abortion. In: Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, Lobo RA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 13.

Winikoff B, Grossman D. Contraception. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 225.

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Review Date: 1/10/2022  

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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