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Diaphragms as a Contraceptive: What’s It Like to Use One?

July 22, 2022
Miranda Obryan

Two out of three women aged 15 to 49 use some form of birth control. But not every type of birth control is compatible with every woman’s body. Luckily, there are a lot of contraceptive options out there to pick from. You’ve probably heard of the pill…the shot… the ring... those are all common hormonal contraceptives.

When it comes to non-hormonal birth control, what comes to mind? Most people think of condoms, or maybe even surgical sterilization. But if you’re looking for an alternative that provides you with more control over your own body and your fertility, you may be considering a lesser-known contraceptive option: the diaphragm.

But what is a diaphragm even? If you want to know more–we’re covering some basics here, along with what it's like to use a diaphragm.

What is a Diaphragm?

A diaphragm is a rubbery-feeling, bendable device that women can insert into their vagina before sex. It acts as a physical barrier that prevents sperm from passing through the cervix.

A single prescription can last several years since you can wash and re-use the same diaphragm over and over again. The Caya diaphragm, for example, can be used for up to two years. This makes diaphragms an affordable and convenient contraceptive option.

How Do You Use a Diaphragm?

A diaphragm gives a woman complete control over her contraceptive. It’s only used as needed and you choose when to use it. When you decide to have sex, you insert the diaphragm beforehand, up to 2 hours prior to sex. That means there are no awkward pauses or having to remember to take medication every day.

When you insert the diaphragm, you will follow these basic steps:

  1. Apply spermicide to the diaphragm, including the rim
  2. Fold the diaphragm so that it is more easily inserted
  3. Choose a comfortable position and insert the diaphragm, allowing it to unfold into position

Depending on the user instructions, you can usually leave the diaphragm in place for up to 24 hours. If you have sex, wait at least 6 hours to remove it in order for the spermicide to deactivate all sperm.

What Does a Diaphragm Feel Like?

The first few times that you use a diaphragm, the insertion and removal process may feel a bit uncomfortable. It may take several tries to get it into the correct position. As you become more familiar with the most comfortable techniques for your body during insertion, you will find that it becomes simple and easy–similar to how a woman “gets used to” inserting a tampon.

When a diaphragm is properly fitted and in place, you should not be able to feel it. Again, the experience is very similar to how a tampon seems to escape our minds once inserted. Having sex with a diaphragm feels the same as sex without a diaphragm.

Why Would a Woman Use a Diaphragm?

The best thing about a diaphragm is that it doesn’t alter your body’s hormones and has very few side effects, if any at all. A diaphragm can put a woman back in control over her own body when it comes to contraceptives, fertility, and family planning.

Are you interested in trying a diaphragm? My Virtual Physician is here to support you and give you the tools you need. Schedule your online appointment now to discuss your contraceptive options with your gynecologist to get your prescription today.

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