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Barrier Methods
Introduction Contents Post-Test References Go To Presenter Info


Section 1
Section 2

- Information
- Objectives
- Male Condom
- Properties
- Latex
- Plastic
- Correct Use
- Breakage
- Behaviors
- Cautions
- Protection
- Female
- Characteristics
- Use
- Spermicides
- Characteristics
- Correct Use
- Preferences
- Diaphragm
- Characteristics
- Considerations
- Correct Use
- Fitting
- Follow-up
> Sponge
- New Methods

Section 3


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Section 2 - Method Information

Vaginal Sponge

  • Vaginal SpongePrevents pregnancy by releasing spermicides, absorbing semen, and creating a barrier
  • No fitting needed; available without visit to provider
  • Effective for 24 hours; for multiple acts of intercourse
  • Less effective in parous women
  • Limited availability

Slide 35

Another type of female barrier method currently available is the vaginal sponge, which also contains a spermicide. The sponge prevents pregnancy by releasing spermicide, and by absorbing and acting as a barrier to semen, thus preventing sperm from entering the cervix. Sponges are inserted into the vagina in a manner similar to the diaphragm and cap. The sponge needs no fitting and can be obtained without a visit to a clinic.

The sponge is effective for 24 hours and can be used for multiple acts of intercourse during this time. It should remain in place at least six hours after the last act of intercourse. At the end of 24 hours, it should be removed and discarded. If left in place too long, a bad odor may develop. The sponge should not be reused. The sponge has been found to be less effective in parous women.

Availability of the sponge is limited in many places. Currently, there are two sponges on the market, one in Europe, called Pharmatex, that uses the spermicide benzalkonium chloride (BZK). The other sponge, called Protectaid, is manufactured in Canada. It is designed to cause less irritation to the vagina by incorporating three different spermicides in low concentrations.



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