What is a diaphragm?
The diaphragm is a soft rubber dome shaped barrier that covers the cervix in order to prevent sperm from
entering into the uterus. It is a barrier method of birth control.
How does the diaphragm work?
The diaphragm works by blocking most sperm from entering the uterus. Spermicide is added to the diaphragm to
kill any sperm that may get around the protective barrier.
How effective is a diaphragm?
The diaphragm has a failure rate of approximately 5% for correct and consistent use. Typical use, which is
the average way diaphragms are used, has a failure rate of approximately 18 - 20%. This means that 18 to 20
people out of every 100 will become pregnant during the first year of use. You should take a pregnancy test if
you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.
What are the side effects or health risks of diaphragms?
The most common side effect you could experience from using a diaphragm is vaginal irritation. Latex
allergies, history of toxic shock syndrome, or irregularities of the vagina or cervix could create additional
Is a diaphragm reversible?
Yes. A diaphragm does not have any effects on either the male or female reproductive function. It is
possible to get pregnant immediately when diaphragms are no longer used.
How much does a diaphragm cost?
There are three fees associated with the use of a diaphragm: 1) the office visit, 2) the diaphragm, and 3)
the spermicidal agent. Your office visits to obtain a prescription for a diaphragm should range from $50 to
$200, the diaphragm costs between $15 and $50, and the spermicidal jellies, foams, or creams range from $7 to
$18 per tube.
What about diaphragms and sexually transmitted diseases (STD's)?
The diaphragm does NOT provide protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Diaphragm:
Is the diaphragm reusable? The diaphragm is reusable. Make sure you clean it after every
sexual encounter and store it in a dry container.
Does the diaphragm work without spermicide? The diaphragm does provide some protection
against pregnancy without using spermicidal agents, but this tends to show higher failure rates of 20% or
What are the pros and cons of the diaphragm?
The Pros of Diaphragms include:
- It is reusable and relatively inexpensive
- It is small and easy to carry
- It rarely hinders the sexual experience
The Cons of Diaphragms include:
- It requires consistent use for each sexual encounter
- Spermicidal agents may be messy
- A prescription is required
- It may contribute towards urinary tract infections
- It must be cleaned and stored
- It may need to be resized following a pregnancy, abortion, pelvic surgery, or weight loss or
gain of 20 lbs or more