Diaphragms used for birth control are unique because they offer an inexpensive, low-maintenance, and long-lasting solution that you can’t get from other types of contraceptives. If you’ve been using a diaphragm for a while now, you may be wondering how long it should last and when you should replace it. Let’s talk about the lifespan of a diaphragm.
The longevity of your diaphragm’s usability varies depending on which type of diaphragm you are using. Traditional-style diaphragms available today—such as the silicone Milex Omniflex or Arcing styles—have a useful life of up to two years. Other latex diaphragms have boasted up to a 10-year lifespan. The new one-size-fits-most Caya diaphragm has a lifecycle of up to two years. Always read the instructions that come with your diaphragm to confirm how long your device is designed to last.
Just because your diaphragm’s box says that it can last up to ten years, doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have to replace it before then. Here are some reasons that you should consider replacing your diaphragm before the expiration date:
With childbirth, everything changes. Your body, cervix, and vaginal canal will change from your birthing experience. Avoid using a diaphragm for six weeks after childbirth because it takes that long for your cervix to return to its normal size. And your new normal may be different from your size before you got pregnant. That’s why you should consult with your doctor about getting a new diaphragm after giving birth, particularly if it’s not the one-size-fits-all style (Caya).
Whether you’ve gained or lost weight since you were initially prescribed your diaphragm, a drastic change in weight might affect the fit. While it may be on the traditional package insert to get re-fitted when your weight fluctuates more than ten pounds, it may not be true for everyone. At least one study has shown that there is no correlation between weight and diaphragm size change. It never hurts to consult your doctor after a major change in body weight to verify that the diaphragm is still working properly.
Pelvic surgery is sometimes done to correct the following conditions and can affect the fit of your diaphragm:
Be sure to discuss your birth control options with your surgeon to set up a contraceptive plan that works for you and that will be compatible with your body.
Trust your gut. If you feel like your diaphragm is no longer fitting tightly and securely as it did when you first received it, then it’s probably time to replace it. Signs of this include being able to feel the diaphragm after insertion, pain during intercourse, and the diaphragm moving or coming out when you walk, sit, lay down, or have sex. Talk to your doctor if you want to replace your diaphragm or check its fit.
Changes to your body are not the only reasons that you may want to replace your diaphragm before its expiration date. Check your diaphragm every time you use it for signs of wear. This includes:
At the first sign of the above, discontinue using your diaphragm and consult with your doctor about getting a new one ordered. In the meantime, be sure to use another contraceptive method.
If you’ve just realized that it’s time to replace your diaphragm, you may be wondering if you should switch from a traditional diaphragm, which requires in-person fittings, to the Caya Diaphragm. Caya is a one-size-fits-most diaphragm that doesn’t require a fitting and works for most women.
Here are a few reasons that some women prefer Caya over traditional diaphragms:
If you’re ready to upgrade to the no-fitting-required diaphragm, we can facilitate that. My Virtual Physician has partnered with Caya to provide this hassle-free birth control option to our patients who desire it.