Birth Control Spermicides
Birth Control Spermicides Introduction
Spermicides are chemical barriers to conception. They are a reversible method of birth control, meaning that when a woman quits using them, full fertility returns. Vaginal spermicides are available in forms such as foam, cream, jelly, film, suppository, or tablet. Spermicides are not as effective as many other forms of birth control when used alone. They are often used with barrier methods of birth control and are much more effective when used in this context.
How Spermicides Work
Spermicides contain a chemical that kills sperm or makes them inactive so they cannot enter a woman’s cervix. Nonoxynol-9 is the active chemical in most spermicide products in the United States. The concentration of the chemical depends on the product.
Several brands and types of spermicides are available over the counter. They can be obtained at drugstores, some supermarkets, and family planning clinics. Planned Parenthood lists the cost of applicator kits for foam and gel at about $8, and refills at about $4-8. Film and suppositories are priced similarly. In some states, the cost is covered by Medicaid when provided by clinics or authorized by a private doctor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2014
Omnia M Samra, MD
Suzanne R Trupin, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Lee P Shulman, MD
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Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Birth Control Spermicides:
Birth Control Spermicide - Patient Experience
Have you used spermicide as a method of birth control? Was it effective? Please describe your experience.
Birth Control Spermicides - Benefits and Drawbacks
What benefits or drawbacks did you experience when using spermicide as a method of birth control?