Diaphragms were once a go-to method of contraception. Effective, discreet (unlike a condom!), comfortable, and side-effect free, chances are if you ask your mother or grandmother about birth control — this is what they used. It was a simple concept with outstanding results. Diaphragms cover the cervix and blocking sperm from entering the uterus, preventing pregnancy. However, as pharmaceutical birth control swept over the world diaphragms fell off the map.
The rubbery silicone cap and circular shape looked old fashioned and intimidating. The need for a trained medical professional to assess your size meant that doctors need to be motivated to promote them. As quick and easy contraception became the norm, many doctors simply stopped mentioning diaphragms as an option. As a result, the number one diaphragm supplier, Ortho Johnson, makers of the All-Flex diaphragm, completed ceased production in 2014.
However, we now see the post-modern woman taking back control of their birth control experience. Women don't want the side effects and health risks of hormonal birth control, and are crying out for an effective and natural birth control. The old fashion diaphragm is just the ticket. Although finding someone to fit you for a diaphragm, and finding a pharmacy that can fill a diaphragm prescription, can be daunting, today's health-conscious women are up for the task.
Is The Diaphragm Safe For Me (Contraindications)?
The diaphragm is totally safe for most people. But the diaphragm may not work for you if:
- You're not comfortable putting your fingers in your vagina
- You're sensitive or allergic to silicone or spermicide
- You gave birth in the last 6 weeks
- You have trouble putting in the diaphragm
- You've had toxic shock syndrome
- You or your partner have HIV/AIDS
- You've had an abortion in your second or third trimester of pregnancy within the last six weeks
Always speak to your Doctor, Gyno’ or Midwife when thinking about changing your contraceptive method.
Finding Your Diaphragm Size
The biggest issue with using a diaphragm is that there are 8 specific sizes, and you need to be fit by a trained health care professional to find out which size you need to purchase. Using the wrong size diaphragm decreases the effectiveness tremendously; simply guessing your size is very risky. Additionally, diaphragm sizes change after childbirth, when you gain or lose a significant amount of weight, or after some vaginal procedures. However, the precise fitting system does have its benefits. When you correctly use your specific size diaphragm, the effectiveness rate of diaphragms is a whopping 94%.
Doctors, Gyno’s, and Midwives can easily learn fit a diaphragm. Your healthcare provider will simply use a fitting kit to test which size diaphragm snuggly, yet comfortably, fits within your vaginal canal. At the fitting appointment, you will also learn how to insert and remove the diaphragm, and how to make sure your cervix is completely covered by the silicon dome.
Where to buy a diaphragm? After your fitting, you will walk out with a diaphragm prescription which includes your size. Diaphragms are available without a doctor's prescription in the EU, and can be ordered online here.
The Diffrence Between Omniflex and Arcing
Diaphragms are currently produced by Cooper Surgical, who own the Milex brand diaphragm. Milex offers two diaphragm options, each with different spring mechanisms. The Arcing style spring folds in the middle of one axis, and the OmniFlex style is flexible and folds in all directions.
The different spring mechanisms do not affect reliability, choosing between the two is a matter of personal preference. The OmniFlex style generally the more popular choice.
Milex Diaphragms Instructions For Use
How effective are diaphragms?
Here’s the deal on diaphragm effectiveness: If you use your diaphragm perfectly every single time you have sex, it’s 94% effective. But nobody’s perfect, so in real life diaphragms are about 87% effective — that means about 13 out of 100 people who use a diaphragm will get pregnant each year. That's because people don't always follow the directions correctly, or they don't use their diaphragm every single time they have sex.
How do I insert a diaphragm?
It may take some practice to get good at inserting your diaphragm. Your Doctor, Gyno’ or Midwife will show you how to put your diaphragm in, and you should also read the instructions that come with the packaging.
Practice in a relaxed environment so you feel confident in using it correctly even when your mind might be on the passion of the moment!
- 1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
- 2. Put spermicide in the cup, following the instructions on the package your diaphragm came in.
- 3. Get into a comfortable position, like when you’re putting in a tampon.
You can stand with one foot on a chair, sit on the edge of a chair, lie down, or squat — do whatever works for you.
- 4. Separate the lips of your vulva with one hand.
With the other hand, pinch the rim of the diaphragm together to fold it in half.
- 5. Push the diaphragm as far up and back into your vagina as it can go, dome pointing down.
Tuck the edge of the diaphragm behind your pubic bone. Make sure your cervix is covered.
When do I put my diaphragm in?
You can put your diaphragm in up to 2 hours before you have sex — any longer and the spermicide won’t work as well. If the action starts more than 2 hours after you insert your diaphragm, reapply the spermicide before you have sex. If you have sex again before taking it out, add more spermicide into your vagina without removing the diaphragm.
How long should I leave my diaphragm in?
Always leave your diaphragm in place for at least 6 hours after the last time you had sex — but don’t leave it in for more than 24 hours. If you have sex again, leave your diaphragm in but put a new dose of spermicide into your vagina.
How do I clean my diaphragm?
- After you take it out, wash it with soap and warm water.
- Let it air dry.
- Don't use powder on your diaphragm — it can lead to infections.
How do I take care of my diaphragm?
Here's how to keep your diaphragm in tip-top shape:
Store your diaphragm in a clean place, away from extreme heat and direct sunlight.
Take a good look at your diaphragm every now and then. Hold it up to the light and check it for holes, cracks, wrinkles, or weak spots. You can also fill the cup of your diaphragm with water to test for leaks.
If you spot something that looks off, talk to your doctor about getting a new one. In the meantime, use another type of birth control, like condoms, or wait to have sex.