Have you used a diaphragm or cervical cap?
January 20, 2019 11:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for experiences with the FemCap, Caya or any other cervical caps and diaphragms, especially in conjunction with the ContraGel spermicide.

I'm a late-20s woman in a monogamous LTR with a man. All my experiences with hormonal birth control have been physically and emotionally terrible, and as a mentally ill person I frankly don't want to try it again. Currently I have the copper IUD, but am considering removing it due to the painful two-week periods it's given me. So I'm considering some good old-fashioned barrier methods, and the Caya and FemCap have both caught my eye.

What I can't find about either of these are too many personal experiences. Have you tried these methods and how well did they work for you? Are they easy to use? FWIW, I used a diva cup for many years so I'm not bothered by the process, as long as it doesn't require professional level coordination to get into place.

What I'm especially concerned about is the spermicide -- I know traditional nonoxynol-9 spermicides taste disgusting, which is a bummer for someone who enjoys oral before intercourse. Is it the same story for the ContraGel, which is nonoxynol-9 free? Alternatively, is there any information on how effective would it be to use a diaphragm or cap without spermicide? I am considering combining it with FAM and then using a condom in addition on fertile days.

Any advice or experiences appreciated. Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)

My younger child is a month older than he would have been if I had been using a more effective method of birth control. I was using a diaphragm between children (couldn’t tell you what brand, it’s a while back) and got pregnant unintentionally. Not a problem — we had actually decided to start trying for a second the month after the month where I got pregnant, so it worked out fine — but anecdotally, I don’t trust their effectiveness.
posted by LizardBreath at 3:12 AM on January 21, 2019

I know two people who got pregnant using cervical caps. Withdrawal is more effective even under "typical use;" if your partner is good at it, it's MUCH more effective.
posted by metasarah at 4:31 AM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

I became pregnant using a cap and spermicide twenty years ago. I'm sure it's great with perfect technique but I found it fiddly and difficult to place. I've used the copper IUD with no problem since. If you haven't had the IUD long things may settle.
posted by socksister at 8:10 AM on January 21, 2019

My parents used a diaphragm and spermicide effectively for fourteen years and my mom has recommended it to me as a non hormonal birth control option.

I had a previous bad experience with a copper IUD - I used it for three years and then discovered that I had become anemic because of the additional blood loss the IUD caused, so I had it removed. If it's not working for you, it's not working for you.
posted by tooloudinhere at 8:20 AM on January 21, 2019

A former partner of mine used a diaphragm (with spermicide) for two years and didn't get pregnant. The spermicide definitely is not something one wants to taste, so she would just wait to insert it until after the other festivities were concluded. It's pretty quick once you've practiced a bit, so it's not much more of an interruption than putting on a condom.
posted by number9dream at 8:24 AM on January 21, 2019

A diaphragm was my go-to method for many years and I never had an unplanned pregnancy. As others have said I sometimes put in the diaphragm after other activities conclude without killing the mood.

I used spermacidal films with my diaphragm, which were less messy and also made oral activities easier.

Getting properly fitted is important.
posted by brookeb at 9:14 AM on January 21, 2019

I used a diaphragm 20 years ago... found fitting it into place awkward, also you've got to time it properly (iirc an hour or two beforehand, not so spontaneous). Weight change (+/- 5 lbs, iirc) can affect the fit. Reacted to the spermicide. +1 to metasarah (18% failure rate for condoms, 22% for coitus interruptus [per CDC]) - obviously requires maximal trust in your partner.

If you're together for the long haul and don't want kids, or if you do and can invest in banking sperm, he could have a vasectomy (which may in some cases be reversible).
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:51 AM on January 21, 2019

I swore by the cervical cap for years when I was in mutually monogamous relationships, and the only reason I'm not using one right now is that my last mutually monogamous relationship was ten years ago.

Getting properly fitted is important. I heard that the cap works best if you have a sticky-outy cervix, and not everyone does. Fortunately I do, so it worked a treat for me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:52 PM on January 21, 2019

I used one for a short time in my 20's, but the spermicide caused irritation and was just generally messy and unpleasant, and I was often pairing it with condoms anyway, so I decided it made more sense just to use condoms religiously and keep emergency contraception on hand in case of a failure. It's probably better than nothing if you know you aren't going to be reliable with condom use, but I wouldn't rely on it unless you and your partner are willing to take the higher chance of an unplanned pregnancy.
posted by karayel at 1:50 PM on January 22, 2019

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