What Is It?
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped bowl made of thin, flexible rubber that sits over the neck of the womb (cervix).
How Does It Work?
The diaphragm keeps sperm from entering the uterus by creating a barrier between the cervix and the vagina. For added protection, spermicidal cream or pessary should be used with the diaphragm.
The diaphragm can be inserted up to 2 hours before having sex. More spermicide must be used each time you have sex while wearing the diaphragm. After sex, the diaphragm must be left in for at least 6 hours, but no longer than 24 hours. The diaphragm can be removed by placing a finger into the vagina to pull it out.
Each time the diaphragm is removed; it must be washed, rinsed, and dried, then stored in its box. It should not be dusted with baby powder and should never be used with oil-based lubricants such as massage oil, vaseline, or baby oil. These substances can cause the rubber to become brittle and crack or perish. Other vaginal creams, such as some treatments for thrush, can also damage the rubber.
You will require an internal examination to assess what size of diaphragm will be suitable for you. A diaphragm should be replaced at least every 2 years. It should be examined regularly for holes or weak spots, and replaced as needed. You will need to be ‘resized’ for a diaphragm if you have lost or gained more than 7 pounds in weight or have had a pregnancy.
Where can I get a diaphragm or cap?
You can be fitted for a diaphragm or cap from sexual health services and some GP's.