How Diaphragms and Cervical Caps Are Used
Diaphragms and cervical caps are inserted deep into the vagina before intercourse and positioned to cover the cervix. The right size must be prescribed for a proper fit. You will be shown how to put it in and take it out. Always use contraceptive cream or jelly when you insert your diaphragm or cervical cap. They must be in place every time you have sex. Leave in place for at least eight hours after the last sexual intercourse.
Women should not douche while a diaphragm or cervical cap is in place.
The diaphragm should be checked every year or two and after a weight loss or gain of 10 or more pounds to see if it is still the right size.
From time to time, the diaphragm or cervical cap should be checked for weak spots or pinholes by holding it up to a light.
Because the cap may become dislodged, women should check before and after intercourse to see if it is properly positioned.
Possible Problems While Using the Diaphragm or Cervical Cap
Most women experience no side effects. Some women are prone to develop frequent bladder infections with the diaphragm. Women with very short fingers may need to use an inserter for the diaphragm and may not be able to use the cap. An unpleasant odor may result when cervical caps are worn for more than two days or if an infection is present. Do not wear the cap or diaphragm during vaginal bleeding or if you have a vaginal or cervical infection. Mild irritation or allergic reactions to rubber, cream, or jelly occur occasionally. Diaphragms may become dislodged when a woman is on top during intercourse.
Tell your clinician if:
• you or your partner have any discomfort when it is in place
• you have problems keeping it in place
• you have irritation or itching in the genital area
• you have frequent bladder infections
• you have burning sensations while urinating
• you have an unusual discharge from the vagina
How to Get Diaphragms and Cervical Caps and What They Cost
Visit your local Planned Parenthood health center, a family planning clinic, your HMO, or a private doctor for a prescription. Diaphragms and cervical caps may be purchased at a drugstore or clinic. An examination costs from $50 to 25. Diaphragms average from 3 to $25. Cervical caps are similarly priced. Diaphragms and cervical caps may cost less at family planning clinics. Contraceptive jelly or cream costs from about $4 to 8 a kit. These costs are covered by Medicaid.