The birth control sponge is placed in the vagina just before sexual intercourse. It is a sperm killer. It will squeeze the life out of any sperm that comes into contact with it. You should be wondering what is in this sponge that is responsible for killing sperms anyhow. What is in that sponge is a spermicide – nonoxynol-9. Hope that did not make you sound weird when you tried pronouncing it!
From my very brief introduction to this sponge, it will be reasonable to call it a contraceptive sponge.
Let me quickly describe how a birth control sponge looks like. It is a soft round piece of foam. The foam is a plastic with a depression. The depression makes it possible for it to be removed when after the ‘deal’ has been done. I know you are not expecting further explanations on this.
You can readily pick one from any great drugstore closest to you.
How does the birth control sponge work?
The birth control sponge can work in three different ways.
A sperm blocker
The sponge covers the entrance to the cervix. Since it does this, you can reason with me that no sperms can ‘get in there’ to fertilize an egg except if it is a leaky one.
All sperms as well as ejaculatory fluids will find themselves in that hollow depression in the sponge. It equally has the ability to absorb them and keep them away from where ‘they were supposed to go to’.
As a spermicide, all the sperms released by that guy into you are sure to be killed. None will survive this nonoxynol-9. He is more powerful than your guy! Let me just stop here and move on to something else that will interest you.
Photo Credit: Mayo Clinic
How do I use a birth control sponge?
If you intend using a contraceptive sponge, I want you to know that it is not as quick in usage when compared to other contraceptive means. You will need some pretty good time for you to be ready for its use after you have inserted it.
Hey! Before you get it inserted right into your vagina, you need to do some good and hygienic work;
Disinfect your hands! How? Wash them with soap and water.
Get the spermicide in the birth control sponge activated! How? Sprinkle clean water on it until it is wet but not to the point where water will start drips out of it. Then, bring it out and squeeze the water out.
And what is next? Get the squeezed sponge and fold it away from the loop in an upward way. Folding it this way will make it become long and narrow.
Do you see that long and narrow sponge? Get it straight into your vagina. Make sure it is way down into your vagina. By that I mean, insert it deeply such that the slightest pressure will not get it out of there,
After you have finished the above instruction successfully, get your hands off it. The sponge will by itself unfold in such a way that it will get your cervix, covered.
Now, do this to be sure the sponge has covered your cervix. Run your fingers around its edges. If it was well covered, then you’re good to go.
Let me give some more useful information on birth control sponges. If you are planning on having sex, say tomorrow night, you can place it in your vagina ahead of time. But it will not be bad either if you wait till it is about time to have sex. Also, you are only allowed to use it for as many times for sex while it is in you but you should not let it stay in there for more than a day.
How to remove a birth control sponge
It is good for you to be aware that after sex, you will have to leave it for some six hours before you get it out. To do this, disinfect your hands again by washing them with soap and water. After that, take the sponge by the loop pull it out slowly. So what will you with it afterward? Throw it away in the trash! It cannot be used again!
How effective is the birth control sponge?
Very effective especially if your partner does not ejaculate into you or encourage him to use a condom! Although the following reports have been documented;
It was very effective for 9% of women who have never given birth
It was really successful in 12% of women who have never given birth but use it as instructed.
20% of women who had given birth and use right got it right in preventing conception.
A population of 24% percent of women who did not receive effective results were those that did not use it right.
Pros and cons
Although most women find it quite convenient as a contraceptive means, it just might not give you a 100% result.
You do not need to wait for your doctor to prescribe it to you. You can just walk into any drugstore and buy some. Once it is in your possession, you can use it any time you are planning of engaging in sexual intercourse. What more? Not even your hormone level will be affected.
Its effectiveness is not 100% especially if you have already given birth.
Its safety limit during your menstrual period is quite low. It can predispose you to infections.
Read this well; it is not a guarantee that you are free from contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
You might experience some level of vaginal irritation from the spermicide. This can as well increase your chances of getting an STD.
You might find out that removing it from your body can be a little bit difficult if not even messy.
What are the risks associated with the use of a contraceptive sponge?
Since the sponge is made from plastics, it is possible for it to break in your vagina in your attempt to remove it. It can induce an allergic reaction or even an infection in your body.
If you like some women that react to anything sulfites, please do not even consider a birth control sponge. Sulfites can be found in specific foods and wines. You might as well not want to consider it if you have previously reacted to a spermicide.
There is a syndrome called TSS – toxic shock syndrome. Some women have been reported to have had this due to their use of birth control sponges. TSS will cause serious damage to your reproductive organs, bring a very low blood pressure that will eventually lead to a shock. It can even make you have chills.
You can reduce your susceptibility of having a TSS from a birth control sponge by doing either or both of the following;
- Ensure that you follow every instruction written on the package to the latter i.e. from its insertion to its removal. Never leave the sponge in for more than 30 hours
- Ensure that you do not even use one when you are menstruating or when you are bleeding through your vaginal perhaps due to an abortion.
Talk to your doctor
Before it crosses your mind that you want to use a birth control sponge, learn to always consult with your doctor for advice. You cannot be better known than them as you cannot completely rely on hearsays. Let your doctor know during your visit to his office if;
- You have given birth lately
- You have had an abortion
- You have a pelvic infection
From the information you disclose to him, he will let you know whether you should go ahead and use it or whether you should try other contraceptive methods. But whatever he decides on will be what will be suitable for you and have lesser side effects. And should you react to it or that which he recommends, he can help out and save you from whatever consequences that might be associated with it right on time.
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